Repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act
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I am writing to express solidarity to the ten-year-long fast of Ms. Irom Sharmila Chanu, the Iron Lady of Manipur and her cause.
I am informed that Sharmila has started the fast on 5 November 2000, protesting against the violence committed by state and non-state actors in Manipur. I am aware that the protest also demands an immediate end of impunity in the state, for which the withdrawal of the martial law, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), from Manipur is a prerequisite.
I am worried about the sufferings of the ordinary people of Manipur at the hands of the underground militant organisations as well as the state agencies.
I am aware that the AFSPA is enforced in Manipur to support government actions in the state in countering secessionist activities and underground militant acts. Yet, it is now certain that the AFSPA has not helped in countering militancy in Manipur, but in fact has enraged it.
I am informed that the climate of impunity is one of the reasons why conflict continues in Manipur.
The AFSPA, as far I understand is an addition to the overall impunity framework that has contributed to the deterioration of the state of rule of law in Manipur. My opinion is also shared by national bodies including Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee; the Second Administrative Reforms Commission; and the Prime Minister's Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures in Jammu and Kashmir. I am informed that these eminent bodies have recommended the government to withdraw AFSPA from operation since they are of the informed opinion that a law like the AFSPA will only facilitate violence and not prevent it.
I am convinced that under the current circumstances in Manipur the withdrawal of AFSPA will not in itself solve the Manipur crisis.
Yet, it could be a bold and open step by the government to show that it is determined to find solution to an armed conflict that has haunted an entire generation in the state. The withdrawal of AFSPA from Manipur will be recognition to the sufferings of the state's people and an expression of respect and acknowledgment of their rights.
Additionally, withdrawing AFSPA from Manipur will be a catalyst to end the climate of impunity in the state. Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.
Your’s sincerely ,
By MuraleeDharan Raghavan
India’s former prime minister late Indira Gandhi, once said: “Corruption is everywhere. It is global”. Yes. Her, words came true at least in the case of
Is our society on a growth path or is it sliding? The question agitates the mind. Also, if it is growing could the growth be sustained? True, liberal economic rules have ensured breaking away from past morbidity. But the nation has yet to recover its health and if symptoms persist may slide once again.
The Supreme Court had recently commented that the fair price shops were totally bogged down in corruption. The district administration makes its allotment. For a long period, the petty leaders of the ruling party have a say in running of these shops. Then they pass on these shops to private people on rent who start exploiting the gullible PDS card-holders. Their co-operative stores too have become akin to the Housing Co-op societies where the land sharks prevailed over the affairs of the societies and they looted the common man at will. In the name of co-operation, the ration shops too have met the same fate.
The foodgrains are being sold by adulterating them. Sugar and kerosene are being given away to the hotels and petrol pumps. Both the Centre and the States are accusing one another with the Centre saying that the states fail to lift the allotted quota of foodgrains and their distribution system is far from satisfactory. At the same time the states charge the centre with not making full supply of the PDS commodities.
The Madhya Pradesh government has taken a decision to set up the ration shops through Co-operative committees. The government has plans to open 8000 PDS shops in the rural areas. Today the number of these shops stands at 15,000. Due to lack of proper roads, transport facility and no inspections, irregularities in the PDS shops becomes a regular feature. Foodgrains meant for PDS shops get sold in the market. Now, the government plans to run a pilot project for Antodaya card holders in tribal areas. Also, there would be review of prices to lift the Co-operative committees from the red. After this exercise, the ration shops would open everyday. Every shop would have a salesman and no permission would be given to start any other venture from the ration shop premises.
Take the case of
The Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit dreams of making Delhi a world-class city was “finally coming true” as the city has witnessed rapid development in the last decade. “When I became the chief minister in 1998, I had one dream-to make
Yes. They are utterly converting the metropolis into
The ‘ommission’ stem has become common. For example, if you go to a government office to get a genuine job done, the official doesn’t have ‘time’ to hear your petition. However, entrust the to a man (dalal) who is well conversant with the official ‘formalities’ – agent or broker, you will get it done within hours.
The common man in the city (read
The nation has not got any compensation from many scams fodder, Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parek scams, UTI scam, judges Provident Fund scandal, Koda scam, IPL cricket scandal, amassing of wealth by UP politicians and many others and now the Commonwealth Games’ scam.
The country needs to frame its financial rules and introduce auditing even before the money is spent. On monetary matters scrutiny by the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) is more a matter of academic interest. Nobody knows if someone has been punished, any monies been recovered from him?
The nation urgently needs a stringent pre-audit of expenses so that the corrupt cannot thrive. Else, the nation instead of progressing should expect a repeat of the Greek - even Mohammad bin Tughlaq built a
By jay janson
CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, the New York Times and the Washington Post have never called the millions killed by U.S. military in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, along with the thousands in the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the hundreds in Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Grenada, Somalia and Yemen, mass-murder. The monolithic, Pentagon-fed, conglomerate owned
However, war was never declared during any of these death bringing activities. They were called "police actions," 'peace keeping’ or ‘protective' military interventions. In every case, initially, Congress carefully avoided calling any of these invasions a war.
Shooting people dead in their very own country, more often than not, in their very own residences is simply mass-murder, whether justified as anti-communism, anti-terrorism or the protection of capital investments. One doesn't have to be Einstein himself to see this clearly.
But, in jurisprudence, when a parent is arraigned in court for having intentionally caused the starvation death of a child, the charge is murder. If a homicidal crime is judged to have been caused by unpremeditated neglect, the charge will be reduced from murder to manslaughter. In the case of
UN statistics over decades have shown no improvement in reducing this horrendous and painful death toll, and often, even recently, a worsening of the amount of its citizens dying for having been denied food has been documented. Yet year after year this mass death goes on being legislated.
The half-billion Indians who are nourished, and the millions that are over-nourished go about their lives and occupations in full knowledge and awareness of this mass death, though distracted by India's commercial media's entertainments, advertising to consume, dramatization of religious conflict and promoted fear of neighboring nations.
UN statistics show death by starvation or from malnutrition caused diseases for two million of
That same New York Times that regularly nicknames India 'the world's largest democracy' got around to feature a horrific side of India's particular type of formal democracy with pathetic photo of a mother sitting next to her starving child on the front page of its August 8, 2010 edition.
"JHABUA, India -- Inside the drab district hospital, where dogs patter down the corridors, sniffing for food, Ratan Bhuria's children are curled together in the malnutrition ward, hovering at the edge of starvation. His daughter, Nani, is 4 and weighs 20 pounds. His son, Jogdiya, is 2 and weighs only eight.
Jogdiya, 2, lay with an intravenous drip in the Jhabua District Government Hospital as his father, Ratan Bhuria, looked after him and his 4-year-old sister. [More Photos]
Landless and illiterate, drowned by debt, Mr. Bhuria and his ailing children have staggered into the hospital ward after falling through
The best part of the article is where the talk turns to making money from feeding the starving as an incentive. (Financial gain being a preferred motive if not common provision within capitalist economics,)
"The question is whether there is a role for the market in the delivery of social programs," said Bharat Ramaswami, a rural economist at the Indian Statistical Institute. "This is a big issue: Can you harness the market?"
There follows shocking and massive incriminating evidence of simple cruel murder of the poor, victims of the controlling private investment banking and its police enforcement inherent in a government of, by and for conscienceless free enterprise:
"India vanquished food shortages during the 1960s with the Green Revolution, which introduced high-yield grains and fertilizers and expanded irrigation, and the country has had one of the world's fastest-growing economies during the past decade. But its poverty and hunger indexes remain dismal, with roughly 42 percent of all Indian children under the age of 5 being underweight."
The New York Times and all U.S. media, while didactically supporting parliamentary democracy in capitalist economies while excusing the amoral byproducts of business priorities and exploitation of class division, have always jumped to designate as mass murder any loss of life caused in revolutions against the world ruling imperial system, caused precisely by desperation to feed hungry children.
For example, the killing during the bloody civil war in
Many of the various efforts of the Mao Zetong led revolution to prevent the starvation of millions under the foreign banking backed government of Chiang Kai-shek are still characterized in capitalist media as mass murder. In other words, starvation is only murder if it happens under communist and anti-imperialist rule. The earlier horrendous starvation that precipitated revolution is never referred to as mass murder.
U.S. media can have it anyway they want it, but millions dying of starvation, as they have been for so many years, under the formal (or pseudo) democracy of huge
Should Indian Leaders Who Spend Billions on Submarines While Others Starve Go Unpunished?
"While 2 million children die of malnutrition and starvation, India builds and buys submarines at the cost of this pathetic death and the stunted development of over 40% of its children who along with their parents suffer hunger. Lets help bring public awareness to bear on this homicidal horror of misplaced values by
In New York, when Prime Manmohan Singh was to address the UN General Assembly, a petition was circulated by the The Riverside Church Global Justice and Peace Ministry and the All Souls Unitarian Church Peace Task Force:
SAVE MILLIONS OF CHILDREN DYING OF STARVATION & ALNUTRITION while
$BILLIONS for NUCLEAR SUBMARINES are being spent
Indian Prime Minister Mammohan Singh launched a 3 billion dollar nuclear submarine. A sub that can carry Russian built missiles equipped to deliver
As Indian Growth Soars, Child Hunger Persists by
"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 month 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.
BBC News, 7/26/09
With its attention getting front page article
Starvation on a planet where obesity is a growing problem is grotesque commentary on the indifferent heartlessness of otherwise decent people in the desperate, and sometimes savage, commodified and commercialized society most of us have accepted as necessary. But when staring at the photo of one dying child among millions, few of us escape seeing something of ourselves or our own children in that expiring life pictured in the newspaper.
Prevention of torture: A weak law won’t do
The Lok Sabha passed the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010, on May 6, 2010 and is now pending before the Rajya Sabha. It has long been overdue as torture is recognised as a heinous practice that needs to be criminalised.
To this end, the United Nations adopted the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) that was opened for signature, ratification and accession by the General Assembly in 1984 and came into force in 1987.
Deaths in judicial custody hovered around over a thousand per year during the same period. It is a fact that punishment for custody death is more an exception rather than the rule. If an attempt to punish a perpetrator is made at all, it takes decades. By then, either he is past active life or is dead. Judicial custody deaths are not even considered worth prosecuting as only one-sided story emerges from the four walls of the jail, protecting the perpetrators of the crime and thereby encouraging the culture of impunity.
Otherwise, what is the explanation for increasing police and judicial deaths in the country year after year? For example in 1994-95, there were 111 police custody deaths and 51 judicial custody deaths. This number reached 188 and 1789 respectively for each in 2007-08.
It is apparent that to deal with such a widespread menace, we need a very strong law in accordance with the international standards set by the United Nations. However, the government has chosen to come up with a weak and inherently flawed Bill that at best could be described as a law in name only. It will make no difference at the ground level in curtailing torture as widely practiced by the internal security forces.
The Bill in question is a one-and-a-half page piece with five sections dealing with a clause each on definition, punishment and limitation for cognisance of offences. Though the statement of its intent reads “whereas India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture; and whereas it is considered necessary to ratify the said convention and to provide for more effective implementation …”, the Bill completely omits the important provisions enumerated in the UN Convention such as ensuring that an order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification for torture, ensuring that torture is an extraditable offence, establishing universal jurisdiction to try cases of torture, providing mechanisms to promptly investigate any allegation of torture, providing an enforceable right to compensation to the victims of torture and banning the use of evidence produced by torture in the courts, etc.
Torture as defined in the Bill is narrow and vague. It reads, “whoever, being a public servant or being abetted by a public servant or with the consent or acquiescence of a public servant, intentionally does any act which causes — (i) grievous hurt to any person; or (ii) danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of any person is said to inflict torture.”
The definition does not make any reference to other cruel, inhuman or degrading, treatment or punishment. Nor are intimidation and coercion included in the Bill. The gamut of mental torture though mentioned, is left completely unaddressed.
While dealing with torture cases, UNCAT clearly states that there should not be any exceptions — not even war or a threat of war; internal political instability or any other public emergency may be invoked as a justification for torture. Yet, the Bill puts a ceiling of six months beyond which no court can take cognisance of any offence under this Act. This violates the existing law under the Criminal Procedure Code that does not put such a limitation in the case of grievous hurt caused to a person by any other citizen, thereby giving preferential treatment to public officials.
The situation is made worse with Section 197 of Cr PC that requires prior sanction from the government to prosecute public servants accused of torture and other human rights violations. Apparently, the Bill in the present form will not be an effective weapon to fight the curse of torture as it is practiced by state agencies. The Bill needs to be completely redrafted taking inputs of civil society groups, lawyers, academicians and above all, the concerned ordinary citizens who bear the brunt of torture without an effective remedy. This is the least that is expected from a democratic government.
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