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April – May 2012
Volume: 7 Issue: 1 Rs.20
News magazine of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
Will Maheshwar Dam oustees get justice? Scrap Land Acquisition Act and SEZ Act Protect land; fight for community rights: Jan Sansad ‘1000 steps’ walk against Malnutrition Taliban land was once famous for non-violent struggles Hyderabad Riots- Report of the Fact Finding Team The Global March to Jerusalem Why Dalits have slammed Mayawati’s Sarvjan Rule? Anti-big dam protest gains strength in Assam RTI Act: Use and misuse
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April – May 2012
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Will Maheshwar Dam oustees get justice? ……………………….. 4 2. Scrap Land Acquisition Act and SEZ Act……………………………. 6 3. Protect land; fight for community rights: Jan Sansad……… 8 4. ‘1000 steps’ walk against Malnutrition………………………………10 5. Taliban land was once famous for non-violent struggles….13 6. Hyderabad Riots- Report of the Fact Finding Team………….15 7. The Global March to Jerusalem…………………………………………20 8. Why Dalits have slammed Mayawati’s Sarvjan Rule?........22 9. Anti-big dam protest gains strength in Assam……………………25 10. Obituary: Kailash Mandloi and Janaki Jhadu……………………26 11. RTI Act: Use and misuse……………………………………………………27 12. Reports of more events……………………………………………………30 13. Forthcoming events………………………………………………………….31
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April – May 2012
Will Maheshwar Dam oustees get justice?
The Maheshwar hydel power project being built on river Narmada is a privatized project which was handed over to the S.Kumars group of companies. Around 70,000 people of 61 villages are affected by the submergence of the dam. In the last 16 years, the project promoters have resolutely refused to rehabilitate the displaced families, so that more than 85% oustees remain to be resettled till date and 100% of the oustees remain to be rehabilitated. Yet the Maheshwar dam is 90% complete and the promoters are seeking to fill the dam. In spite of this, the project promoters and Government of Madhya Pradesh has asked the Ministry of Environment and Forest to allow partial filling of reservoir till 154 meters. The factual situation in this respect is as follows: 1. Last year on 27.8.2011, when the project authorities illegally closed the gates of dam and illegally filled the reservoir till 154 meters, many houses and lands in the affected villages were submerged. This was in complete violation of Environmental Clearance dated 1.5.2001 and Order of Environment Ministry dated 6.5.2011. 2. There is no assessment of the back water impact at EL 154 meters and any permission to fill the reservoir up to 154 meters is likely to lead to the death of hundreds of people. 3. As per Central Electricity Authority no electricity generation is possible at 154 meters. As per the Union Ministry of Power, the tariff of the electricity generated by this
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www.napm-india.org April – May 2012
project is assessed at Rs 10 per unit, which is so costly that it cannot be purchased by anybody. Thus, there is no public interest to justify the submergence of 61 villages of this country for electricity that no one can purchase, only in order to provide undue benefit to one single company. It appears that the only motive behind asking for this submergence is to drive away the oustees without rehabilitation and resettlement, thus blatantly infringing their constitutional and human rights. The people affected by the Maheshwar dam need your urgent support in their struggle.
Around 70,000 people of 61 villages are affected by the submergence of the dam. In the last 16 years, the project promoters have resolutely refused to rehabilitate the displaced families, so that more than 85% oustees remain to be resettled till date and 100% of the oustees remain to be rehabilitated. Yet the Maheshwar dam is 90% complete and the promoters are seeking to fill the dam.
We request you to send e-mail and fax letters to Mrs. Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Chairman, United Progressive Alliance and Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister, Government of Madhya Pradesh. Draft
letters are given below. Kindly circulate this appeal to as many people as possible. We hope to receive your support as always,
Chittaroopa Palit, Alok Agarwal, Radheshyam Patidar, Kadvijiji, Dinesh Kewat, Sanjay Nigam
The Maheshwar Dam: a Brief Introduction
The Maheshwar Dam is part of the Narmada Valley Development Project that entails the construction of 30 large and 135 mediumsized dams in the Narmada Valley. Maheshwar is one of the planned large dams and is slated to provide 400 Megawatts in energy. The project has been planned since 1978 and was originally under the auspices of the Narmada Valley Development Authority. In 1989 the responsibility for Maheshwar was conferred on the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board (MPEB). Subsequently in 1993, the concession for the Maheshwar Project was awarded to the S. Kumars, a textile magnate. In 1994, the project received a conditional environmental clearance from the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Maheshwar is the first privately financed hydroelectric dam in India and is expected to displace around 35,000 people. As with Sardar Sarovar, the details of resettlement and compensation are nowhere near a satisfactory state of affairs. The NBA has been leading the movement against the Maheshwar dam. On December 13th, 2000, Ogden Corporation joined the procession of companies that were forced to withdraw from the Maheshwar project. In 1998 and then 1999, first, the US power utility Pacgen and then the German power utilities Bayernwerk and VEW Energie withdrew from the Maheshwar Project. Subsequently, in June, 2000, a team of international experts commissioned by the Development Ministry of the German government visited the valley and came out with a report that sharply indicted the Project. In the wake of the report, Siemens was compelled to withdraw its application for an export guarantee from the German government, and a proposed loan of Rs.5700 million from a German bank fell through.
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April – May 2012
Scrap Land Acquisition Act and SEZ Act
During the recently concluded “National People’s Parliament” (Jan Sansad) that took place in Rajendra Bhawan, New Delhi, there was a clear consensus to push for scrapping of Land Acquisition Act and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act. Attended by more than 350 people from 20 states across India, the Jan Sansad debated two key issues during the day: 1) Agrarian Crisis & Food Security, 2) Assertion of People’s Politics, Democratic Governance and Electoral reforms. In the context of ever-increasing numbers of farmer’s suicides and diversion of agricultural land for corporate interests, the Jan Saansads demanded that, laws and policies such as the Special Economic Zone
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In the context of ever-increasing numbers of farmer’s suicides and diversion of agricultural land for corporate interests, the Jan Saansads demanded that, laws and policies such as the Special Economic Zone and Land Acquisition Act, which aid the acquisition of fertile agricultural land for nonagricultural purposes, be scrapped with immediate effect
April – May 2012
and Land Acquisition Act, which aid the acquisition of fertile agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, be scrapped with immediate effect. Various factors including reduced subsidies, increased use of pesticides and fertilisers, replacing indigenous varieties with genetically modified seeds and BT Cotton, and reduced access to resources such as water and power are making it financially unviable for farmers to continue cultivation. “The NSSO’s survey shows that in 2005-2006 40% of the farmers were willing to stop cultivation if provided with any other source of livelihood. What does it tell about a government that hires an American consulting firm to prepare the vision document for agriculture in India by 2020?” asked Lingaraj Pradhan from Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Odisha. This model of development, where agriculture is at the bottom of the pyramid and the service sector is at the top, needs to be challenged and reversed. Dr. Sunilam from Kisan Sangharsh Morcha, Madhya Pradesh who strongly advocated against diversion of agricultural land, said the following, “The European model of viewing agriculture as a profit making business does not work in our country. Neither is it feasible to feed our population on imported grains.” It is inexcusable that even while taking land away from local farmers, the government is proposing that our farmers cultivate on land in Ethiopia. “The Indian Government is leasing lakhs of acres of land for as low as Rs.40 per acre per year in Ethiopia” said Chennaiah from the Agricultural Workers Union (APVVU), Andhra Pradesh. The session on People’s Politics and Electoral Reforms discussed issues in electoral processes and alternatives. Public intellectual and analyst Yogendra Yadav reiterated that there has to be sufficient debate in the Parliament and outside before any bill is passed. Acts such as the
the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have no room in a democracy. Representing the Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI), MC Raj pointed out the flaws in the electoral democratic process in India and asked for comprehensive reforms – and not just temporary improvements by the Election Commission. The political representation process has gotten so weak that only the rich and elite could even contest elections to the parliament and assemblies. The Jan Sansad also demanded a process where Gram Sabhas consent, through referendum, would be sought before passing of legislations. The Jan Sansad observed silence for the sudden demise of Matanhy Saldana, Chairperson of National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), who passed away recently. Mr Saldana had recently won the Assembly elections in and was appointed the Minister of Environment & Forests and Tourism, Goa.
Lok Shakti Abhiyan, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement Dr. Sunilam from Kisan Sangharsh Morcha, Madhya Pradesh who strongly advocated against diversion of agricultural land, said the following, “The European model of viewing agriculture as a profit making business does not work in our country. Neither is it feasible to feed our population on imported grains.” It is inexcusable that even while taking land away from local farmers, the government is proposing that our farmers cultivate on land in Ethiopia
April – May 2012
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Protect land; fight for community rights: Jan Sansad
The three-day Rashtriya Jan Sansad (National People’s Parliament) was set in motion in New Delhi with 350 People’s Parliamentarians from 20 states across the country. The peoples’ parliament commenced with a reading of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution and an appeal to the citizens of India to come together to restore the true spirit of the constitution and the parliament. The thematic issues that were covered during the day included 1) Community Rights over Land, Water, Forest, Minerals and Right to Development Planning & 2) Growing Inequity: unprotected/unorganised sector workers and labour issues along with price issues.
The Saansads belong to diverse communities and geographical locations, thereby bringing to the Jan Sansad issues faced by different underprivileged, minority and discriminated communities. The issue of rampant acquisition of land and other natural resources emerged as one of the most crucial problems faced by natural resources based communities. Hansraj Rana from Bhumi Bachao – Kissan Mazdoor Talmal Committee, Haryana said that the development agenda is focussed exclusively around industrial production, despite it catering mostly to real estate business. But this government does not understand that if they promote agriculture and primary industries, they would not only reduce the cost of development but also reduce environmental destruction. He
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stated that battle lines were clearly drawn between people who wanted to defend their land and a government who wanted to give land to the big companies. Protecting the land is a responsibility of the peasants, not just a right, he said. Shantabai Kale from Mumbai spoke for the Rights of Slum dwellers. The slum dwellers occupy marshy lands and over the years they make the land liveable and then the same people are removed. In 2004, their slums were demolished rendering them homeless, till today they live on pavements. Kishori Das from Patna also talked about slums and the fraud around rehabilitation. He talked about governemnt wasting huge sums of money to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPRs) but at the end the slums dwellers are not getting any benefit. Jan Saansads coming from various states spoke on the community rights over natural resources, land, water, forests and also regarding the ‘growth’ agenda of the present Indian Parliament. It was pointed out that despite 65 years of independence, India had only a colonial law to displace citizens and nothing to provide rehabilitation or justice to affected people. S.C.Behar, former bureaucrat, from Chhattisgarh said that we need to have a
Law on “Natural resources utilisation as per consensus of peoples Act”. Adv. Sanjay Parikh said that we should use the Directive Principles of State policies. Public intellectual and writer C.R.Neelakandan, referring to the struggles of Koodankulam and many others in the South, pointed at the systemic flaws involved in the development policy decision making process – as to who decides, what technology and who pays the price for the so called development model’. Justice (Rtd) Tewatia, said that things are not happening in the interest of the people. Everything is happening in collusion of politicians, bureaucracy, and corporates. The second presidium had Nandlal Master, (Lok Samiti Varanasi), Kiran Shaheen, Swami Agnivesh, Gabriele Dietrich Pennurumai Iyyakam, Tamil Nadu) and Kamla Yadav (Narmada Bachao Andolan). The Panel consisted of Ranjeet, (Jan Jagran Abhiyan, Bihar), Santhosh Thorat, Tiwari, Leelavati, Jaishankar, Dr Sandeep Pandey and Prof Madhu Prasad. The day also witnessed songs by Salsabel students (Kerala) and Asmita, a Delhi theatre group.
Lok Shakti Abhiyan, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement
Jan Saansads coming from various states spoke on the community rights over natural resources, land, water, forests and also regarding the ‘growth’ agenda of the present Indian Parliament
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www.napm-india.org April – May 2012
‘1000 steps’ walk against Malnutrition
What an idea Sir ji ?
The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has recognized the harsh reality of malnutrition in India by saying “India’s “unacceptably high” levels of child malnutrition are a “national shame”. Our State women and child welfare minister Varsha Gaikwad in the assembly’s winter session last year in Nagpur admitted on the floor of the house that only 68 children were dying daily in Maharashtra , and our State Health Minister, Suresh Shetty walks “ 1000” steps against Malnutrition (source:
On March 24, Mr Suresh Shetty with his vast z- security , Page 3 celebrities and Bollywood stars , came together in their best dresses, possibly coming together after a hearty breakfast , at the posh area of South Mumbai, Nariman Point’s NCPA complex , to participate in the 1000 Steps walk sponsored by Nestle and Times to India, to underline the importance of nutrition for mothers and their children, right from conception to the first two years of life. One will not find a soul on a Saturday mornings, except building guards. The people who reached
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were the Elite living around Nariman Point, Colaba, Marine Drive for a 1000 Steps Walk. But who were they walking for? Were those people there? How absurd can you be, holding a march against malnutrition at Nariman point?
A walk sponsored by Nestle, what am I missing here? Sponsoring what
Cerelac and Lacotgen for the participants? Our Health Minister did not know that on March 19th, Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate, after 17 years has charged Nestle India for violating the law (Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act) in advertisements and labelling of its infant food products. Does our Health Minister know that it’s important to enforce this law to protect mothers and children from the commercial influence. The Infant Milk Substitutes Act was brought in to regulate production, supply and distribution of infant milk substitutes, feeding bottles and infant foods to protect and promote breastfeeding and ensure the proper use of these food products.
diverted to Govandi, as same day same time there was a huge public meeting on the issue of Malnurtition co organsied by Anna Adhikar Abhiyan, Anna Adhikar Abhiyan, Maharashtra, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Jan Arogya Abhiyan, there. Govandi where more than 75% of its population lives in slums and the Human Development Index (HDI) is the lowest in the city, at a mere 0.2. Healthcare is inadequate; the population per hospital is nearly 66,881. It has the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) in the city — nearly 66.47 deaths per thousand births, where Mumbai’s average is 40 per 1000 births. Forty-five-thousand children die of malnutrition every year in the state, according to ‘A report on nutritional crisis in Maharashtra’ by the Pune-based organisation Sathi-Cehat. One-third of adults are underweight, and 15% severely underweight. The report points out that chronic hunger is not confined to rural areas, as is popularly believed; urban populations in coastal regions, including the city of Mumbai, have the highest prevalence of calorie deficiency (43%) in the state. Calculations made using the perconsumer-unit-calories norm of 2,400 in rural areas and 2,100 in urban areas reveals that the incidence of calories-based poverty is 54% in rural areas and 39.5% in urban areas The Maharashtra government had planned to bring down the number of malnourished children in the state by providing them with packaged food. The idea might have been noble but the government, it seems, forgot to run quality checks. As a result, the food supplied is substandard and the
April – May 2012
Nestle through their products – Lactogen and Cerelac – had violated several sections of the Act by not printing the notice ‘mother’s milk is best for your baby’ in Hindi and also by not printing the warning that ‘Infant milk substitute or infant On March 19th, Delhi food is not the sole Metropolitan Magistrate, source of nourishment for an infant’ on the after 17 years has charged containers of Nestle India for violating the Lactogen. The warning was not printed in the size prescribed and all the mandatory information was not present in advertisements . The march if at all , should have been
law (Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act) in advertisements and labelling of its infant food products
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number of children dying of malnutrition has gone up substantially. The State government statistics peg the number of children (0-6 years age group) who died of malnutrition between January and August 2011 as 18,486. The figure for the same period in 2010 was 12,792. So, this means 5,694 more babies died last year. Investment Rs 300 crore were spent in Maharashtra for Take homes Ration (THS) scheme and the Returns-40% of children in Mumbai with low birth-weight. Take Home Ration (THR) scheme has been a failure. Health workers mostly pay out of their pockets to clear unused THR. The food packets supplied as THR (Take Home Ration) are devoid of any nutrition and taste. Children and parents are reluctant to take these raw food items home, as they are made of low-grade ingredients, which get spoilt in a short period of time. Last month these packets were thrown by people in garbage after finding fungi and termites in them. THR scheme is way short in calories, also children between six months and three years can barely accept the food: sheera,
upma, sattu and sukhdi (meant for adolescent girls). Of the four, sheera is the most important as it is recommended for and given to severely malnourished children at least thrice daily. In one of the series on malnutrition it was reported by DNA ” A nutritional analysis test on the food provided by Anacon Laboratories Pvt Ltd, Nagpur, showed 3g of protein and 42 calories less (sample size was 100g) than the amount mentioned on the packets. Upma and sukhdi had 75 and 70 calories less.” So, instead of walking “1000 steps”, Mr Suresh Shetty you should provide home cooked food to children between age of 0 6 in Angawadis, Disband the THR Scheme and Implement the ICDS scheme for children, in true letter and spirit. and I hope next time , MP Priya Dutt and Bollywood stars like Amole Gupte , Konkona Sen Sharma and Tara Sharma , when accept any invitation on a cause I hope they reach out to the People affected, rather than a mere tokenism , So how does this idea sound Sir ji ?
Kamayani Bali Mahabal
Take Home Ration (THR) scheme has been a failure. Health workers mostly pay out of their pockets to clear unused THR. The food packets supplied as THR (Take Home Ration) are devoid of any nutrition and taste. Children and parents are reluctant to take these raw food items home, as they are made of lowgrade ingredients, which get spoilt in a short period of time. Last month these packets were thrown by people in garbage after finding fungi and termites in them.
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www.napm-india.org April – May 2012
Taliban land was once famous for
Today, the spread of violence in the Pakhtun dominated area of Pakistan with the growing strength of the Taliban in these areas is a matter of great concern. At the same time it is important to recall that under the inspiring leadership of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (also called Badshah Khan - the King of Khans - and Frontier Gandhi) a highly inspiring and completely non-violent freedom movement had prospered in the same region during 19201947, peaking around 1930-1935 with the involvement of nearly a hundred thousand soldiers of peace. During those days Badshah Khan had successfully raised an 'army' of peaceful 'soldiers' called 'Khudai Khidmatgars' (or servants of God). Every Khudai Khidmatgar had to take this oath - "I am a Khudai Khidmatgar; and as God needs no service, but serving his creation is serving him, I promise to serve humanity in the name of God. I promise to refrain from violence and from taking revenge. I promise to forgive those who oppress me or treat me with cruelty. I promise to refrain from taking part in feuds and quarrels and from creating enmity. I promise to treat every Pathan as my brother and friend. I promise to refrain from antisocial customs and practices. I promise to live a simple life, to practice virtue and to refrain from evil.
I promise to practice good manners and good behavior and not to lead a life of idleness. I promise to devote at least two hours a day to social work." Describing the importance of this oath for the people of this region, Badshah Khan's biographer Eknath Easwaran, writes, "For a pathan, an oath is not a small matter. He does not enter into a vow easily because once given, a pathan's word cannot be broken. Even his enemy can count on him to keep his word at the risk of his own life. Non-violence was the heart of the oath and of the organisation. It was directed not only against the violence of British rule,
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but against the pervasive violence of Pathan life." During 1930-31 came the real test of endurance of their commitment to nonviolence as the colonial police and army rapidly escalated their brutal repression to check the spread of the freedom movement. Several such incidents were repeated, but the brave Pathans continued to pass the test of endurance and their commitment to peace and non-violence. The result was that within a few months, their support increased dramatically. The Khudai Khidmatgars had started with a strength of about one thousand only, but by the end of September there were nearly eighty thousand volunteers. Another equally inspiring and dramatic development was that the Hindu soldiers of Garhwal Rifles refused to fire on peaceful Pashtun freedom-fighters, even when they knew that they'll get the most severe punishment. In fact these brave soldiers led by Chandra Singh Garhwali told their officers that they could blow them up from their cannons if they wanted, but they would not fire on freedom fighters. The peaceful resistance spread widely despite the fact that Badshah Khan and other leaders were arrested. His two sons and elder brother were also arrested. Another inspiring aspect of the movement very relevant to the present days of the
Taliban is that Pathan women were encouraged to participate actively in the freedom movement and many of them came forward to play an important role. Badshah Khan opposed the purdah system (veil) and emphasised the equality of women. Keeping in view the great importance of Khudai Khidmatgars in the entire history of non-violent struggles against injustice as well as service of humanity, it is highly welcome news that this organisation has been recently revived in India. Faisal Khan, National Convenor of Khudai Khidmatgars in India and social activist with NAPM said that efforts were being made for quite some time, but the formal inaugural meeting took place near the martyrdom site of Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi on 20 January, 2011. Following this the membership drive proved to be very successful even in more remote states like Assam and Manipur. At the follow-up meeting held at the same place on 20 January 2012, several uniformed Khudai Khidmatgars were also present who have special responsibilities for serving in areas which suffer from communal strife and natural disasters. Leading Gandhians expressed their hopes and good wishes for the steady progress of Khudai Khidmatgars in India.
The writer is currently a Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi
Hindu soldiers of Garhwal Rifles refused to fire on peaceful Pashtun freedom-fighters, even when they knew that they'll get the most severe punishment. In fact these brave soldiers led by Chandra Singh Garhwali told their officers that they could blow them up from their cannons if they wanted, but they would not fire on freedom fighters.
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www.napm-india.org April – May 2012
Hyderabad Riots- Report of the Fact Finding Team
Civil Society Organisations of Hyderabad constituted a Fact Finding Team at a meeting held on 12th April to enquire into the riots and disturbances in Hyderabad between 8th to 12th April 2012. The Team Comprised of Mr. Jeevan Kumar (HRF), Syed Bilal (HRF), Ms. Audhesh Rani, Mr. M.A. Hakeem, (ICAN), Mr. B. Ramakrishnam Raju (NAPM), Ms. Noor Jahan (COVA) and Dr. Mazher Hussain (COVA). The Fact Finding Team received local facilitation from Mr. Azeem Khan (Advocate), Mr. Vijay Kumar (AITUC), Mr. Yadgiri Reddy , Mr. Samad and Mr. Waheed Ansari. The Team made field visits on 16 and 17 April 2012 and met the following: worship that were desecrated between 8th and 12th of April and had met the priests and community leaders of these areas.
Members of the Hindu and Muslim communities in Madannapet, Kurmaguda and Saidabad Mr. Sahadev Yadav, Local Corporator Mr. Iqbal Siddiqui- ACP Malakpet Mr. Amit Garg IPS, Additional Commissioner, Law & Order, Hyderabad City Police Mr Madan Mohan Rao District Revenue Officer, Hyderabad.6. Earlier, on 14th April a team of Interfaith Forum had visited all the 7 places of
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Civil Society Organisations of Hyderabad constituted a Fact Finding Team at a meeting held on 12th April to enquire into the riots and disturbances in Hyderabad between 8th to 12th April 2012
At about 6.30 am on 8th April the priests of Sri Abhaya Anjaneya Swami Devalayam located in a by lane in Kurmaguda noticed green colour (associated with Islam and Muslims) sprayed on the walls of the temple and burnt leg pieces of a cow placed on the grill. The priests informed Mr.Sahadev Yadav, the local Corporator from the BJP party who in turn informed the police who reached the spot by about 7 am.
By 7.30 am a crowd of locals started gathering around the temple and by the time the police called the dog squad for investigations, the crowd is reported to have swelled to over 200. The dog covered a distance of about half a kilometer and stopped near the local petrol pump. Time was about 8.15 am. At this point, the crowd got agitated and started pelting stones at some Muslim shops located near the petrol pump and some RTC buses plying on the roads at the time. Police swung into action to disperse the crowds. After retreating, the crowds attacked 4 houses
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and one shop belonging to the Muslim community. In most cases, it was stone pelting causing damages to doors and window panes. In the house adjacent to the temple that was desecrated, it is reported that the inmates had left in the morning immediately after the incidence came to light (as they had planned to visit a holy shrine), and some miscreants entered the house and damaged some utensils and furniture including a DVD player. In the meantime, trouble spread to other surrounding areas of Pusalbasti, Zakir Hussain Colony Ameen Jung Colony, Madannapet Mandi and Jaihind hotel including stone pelting on houses, attacks on pedestrians walking by, burning of 2-3 motorcycles and damage to buses on the Saidabad main road. There are reports of women traveling in buses being assaulted, stabbing of two persons and an attack using boulders on one person. In all 8 persons were injured, two of them seriously. It is reported that at about 10.30 am crowds from Pusalbasti had gathered at the Pusalbasti- Zakir Hussain Colony Junction and started pelting stones. Crowds of the two communities gathered at both sides leading to brick batting even though two police vans with 15 to 20 policemen were present on the spot. Situation could be brought under control after about an hour with additional police reinforcement. In all, 6 houses of the area, belonging to both communities suffered damages to the doors, window panes, coolers, water tank and drain pipes due to stone pelting. It was around 11.30 am- after about 3 hours of trouble in the streets that police was able to bring the situation under control and by about 12.30 pm, curfew was declared in the three affected localities coming under 2 police stations.
started coming of desecration of 6 more places of worship in different areas of Hyderabad- 4 Masjids and 2 temples between 9th and 12th of April pointing to a clear and obvious conspiracy to foment communal violence by instigating the religious sentiments of both Hindu and Muslim communities. Fortunately, religious leaders and elders of both communities in all these areas, along with timely action by the police, diffused tensions in these localities and prevented any untoward incidences from taking place.
Background and Conspiracy
During the past 3 years, the political scenario in Andhra Pradesh has become fluid and uncertain on multiple counts. The most significant seem to be the Telangana agitation, exposure and investigation into a number of scams involving top ranking politicians and bureaucrats and infighting within the ruling party. Past experience has shown that communal conflicts have been instigated and riots engineered in Hyderabad to divert attention from burning political issues to even affect change of government. Complicating matters are the General Elections to the Parliament and the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly scheduled in 2014- just two years from now and the prospects for some parties to reap political benefits through polarization of votes by engineering communal riots. In the light of all these factors it is not surprising that concerted and consistent efforts are being made during the past few months to spread disaffection between the Hindu and Muslim communities to engineer communal riots not just in Hyderabad but in other cities and towns of the State, especially in the Telangana and Rayalaseema areas. Attempt was made in the same MadannapetSaidabad localities to instigate communal violence during the
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Provocations in other Places
Even as the situation in SaidabadKurmaguda- Madannapet areas was brought under control on 8th April 2012, reports
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Ganesh festival in September 2011 by In the case of the incidence at Kurmaguda, desecrating not one but four Ganesh idols there was a time gap of at least one and a in the area but fortunately the conspirators half hours between the reporting of did not succeed in their nefarious designs incidence and the outbreak of mob violence due to the good sense in the affected and the During the past 3 shown by the local people neighbouring localities of and timely action by the Saidabad and years, the political police. After this, there was Madannapet. Police could scenario in Andhra a series of targeted attacks have prevented this on lone Muslim youth during Pradesh has become violence by preventing nights by members of the crowd mobilisation near fluid and uncertain Hindu Vahini (as per the the affected temple and on multiple counts. investigations of the A.P. rushing reinforcement to Police) to instigate the sensitive areas in the The most significant communal riots but these neighbourhood in the time seem to be the attempts did not succeed. available. After this initial Telangana agitation, This was followed by lapse, police seemed to burning of motorcycles have acted fast and exposure and parked outside houses brought the situation in investigation into a during nights but these the area under control number of scams instigations also failed to within 3 hours. generate any communal involving top ranking backlash. Unfortunately, Failure to Expose politicians and the conspirators finally Conspirators: The bureaucrats and succeeded in instigating Consequences communal violence on 8th infighting within the However, the police April 2012 through the seemed to have failed in ruling party. Past desecration of the temple matters of investigation experience has at Kurmaguda detailed and unearthing the above. This success was shown that conspiracies behind the possible perhaps due to the series of provocations communal conflicts growing communal tensions over the months to have been instigated in the Madannapetfoment communal Kurmaguda areas during the and riots engineered violence in the city and past 5 years that the other parts of the State. in Hyderabad to conspirators were able to Baring the unearthing of divert attention from exploit to their advantage. the culprits behind the burning political series of targeted night Role of Police in attacks on the members issues to even affect Containing Violence of a community, the change of In most cases of provocation police has not been able in the past few months and government. to expose the conspirators during the recent behind the 2010 riots in disturbances, the role of Hyderabad, or the desecration of the the Hyderabad city police was good in Ganesh idols or the group behind the series containing communal tensions in a short of motor cycle burnings amongst others. span of time, restricting their spread to Even in the present instance, catching other areas and preventing them from some stray stone pelters will not help and assuming proportions of a full scale riot. what is required is exposing the entire conspiracy behind the systematic desecration of a number of places of
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www.napm-india.org April – May 2012
worship of both communities within days ostensibly with the sole objective of fomenting communal riots in the city. If the police investigations fail to unravel the conspiracies and bring to book all those responsible, irrespective of their power or position, such provocations will continue to occur and perhaps increase in the light of the forth coming general elections in 2014 and the city of Hyderabad along with many other cities and towns of the State could be converted into communal flash points and hotbeds of riots.
in pursuing the cases relating to the Muslim youth. This is causing dread amongst Muslim youth about the police force and the recent tragic incidence of a Muslim youth Mr. Syed Ghouse, who is reported to have died while trying to escape from a police party searching for him, illustrates the point. All this is leading to feelings of insecurity, alienation and loss of confidence in the neutrality of police force that is dangerous for all concerned including the Muslim community. Matter have come to a stage when some very respected and highly placed members of the Muslim community have petitioned the State Human Rights Commission to address this issue. Immediate steps and action should be taken to restore the non- partisan image and functioning of the police force.
The Government has given compensation to the 8 persons injured. However, no assessment of the damage to houses and property has been undertaken so far by the revenue department concerned.
Arrests of Muslim Youth
After every incidence of communal violence, the Muslim community cries hoarse at the partisan attitude of the police force and says that despite coming under attack and suffering more injuries and damages, more number of Muslim youth are picked up by the police and implicated in false cases. The memories of Macca Masjid bomb blasts and the arrests of over 100 Muslim youth on trumped up charges, their torture and subsequent acquittal by the courts still rankles fresh in the minds of the community. In the present instance of trouble in Saidabad –Kurmaguda areas, most of the houses that were attacked belonged to the Muslim community. According to newspaper reports, 14 Muslim youth have been arrested while the number for the youth of the Hindu community is stated to be 4 and 28 Hindu youth are being shown as absconding. Though police officers are stating that investigations are still in progress and eventually every one responsible will be caught, prima facie, from the facts available at the moment, it appears that the police are more vigorous
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The role of some media has been partisan and at times grossly inaccurate leading to increase in tensions and the possibility of spread of violence to more areas. Media gave the names of those injured that revealed community affiliations to further stroke passions and violence. One TV channel wrongly reported the death of a youth injured that heightened tensions at a critical time in many areas.
Despite the grave provocations, people in the affected areas belonging to different communities continued to maintain cordial relations and ascribed the disturbances to vested interests Cases of members of one community saving members of another community have also been reported- like it happens in
April – May 2012
most instances disturbances.
Members of Civil Society Organisations and the Fact Finding Team appeal to all people The mobs that had gathered for of Hyderabad and of the attacks numbered to maintain peace between 50 to a We also demand that State harmony between and couple of hundred all communities and the government and comprised frustrate the nefarious mostly of 15 to 25 designs of vested should immediately year olds - with interests that seem to their faces table the be bent upon fomenting covered with Recommendations of communal violence for handkerchiefs. political gains.
In many sensitive locations, elders of the area were able to control the groups and prevent untoward incidences even before the arrival of the police.
Despite the repeated attempt to provoke communal feelings by desecrating places of worship of both the communities, people seemed to have retained their balance and seen through the design to engineer riots for some vested interests.
the Ramana Chari Commission Report of 1991 and take all steps necessary to prevent communal violence and promote inclusive and equitable development of all sections of society
We also demand that the government should immediately table the Recommendations of the Ramana Chari Commission Report of 1991 and take all steps necessary to prevent communal violence and promote inclusive and equitable development of all sections of society.
Jeevan Kumar (HRF), Audhesh Rani, Ramakrishna Raju (NAPM), Mazher Hussain (COVA), Syed Bilal (HRF), Noor Jahan Siddiqui (COVA), MA Hakeem (ICAN)
We also demand that the government should immediately table the Recommendations of the Ramana Chari Commission Report of 1991 and take all steps necessary to prevent communal violence and promote inclusive and equitable development of all sections of society
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www.napm-india.org April – May 2012
The Global March To Jerusalem
shares her experiences of participating in the Global March to Jerusalem 2012…
At the outset I would like to confess that I am not a writer or an orator. I cannot pen down the right words or politically correct sentences. So with no offence to anyone, I just want to share some of my experiences of my journey to Palestine. We were thirty seven Indians in a group of hundred and twenty five people of five countries. Our first stop was Pakistan. We toured Lahore, Multan and Karachi. The people were very warm and hospitable to the group. The organisers looked after our stay, food and security to the utmost. On 14th March the last day of our stay in Pakistan, the entire group of hundred and 20 | T H E M O V E M E N T O F I N D I A
twenty five people collected near the gates of Mr Jinnah’s mausoleum. The delegates were shouting the slogans showing solidarity to the Palestinians. The Pakistanis were playing songs on the sound system in praise of Islam and martyrs. Suddenly there was a surge of crowd of leaders of various political parties and clergy. They took over the procession shouting slogans, dimming the voices of the people of civil movement. The civil movement had been undermined and taken over by the political leaders and clergy for their personal gains in the name of Islam. It was then that Mr. Suresh Khairnar and I were told not to wave our Indian flag on the streets of Karachi for some strange reason. Asif, a fellow marcher from Karachi University on hearing this “Farmaan”, immediately took the Indian flag from my hand and held it high and waved it defiantly. This was the true human spirit about respecting each-others’ nationalistic feelings. This image of a Pakistani student waving the Indian flag will remain etched in my memory forever.
April – May 2012
to Turkey and throw my head gear away. He laughed heartily saying that never before he had heard such an honest and humorous statement. Crossing over from Iran we reached Turkey. We went straight to Ankara and were received by a representative of the city. A crowd of few hundred had gathered. Some young girls watched us from a distance. Suddenly a girl, of my daughter’s age walked up to me. She pulled out her silver ring from her finger and gifted it to me. Unable to communicate in words, as we spoke different languages, we looked into each-others’ eyes and the message was taken. I thanked her while she shook hands with me with moist eyes. I shall always cherish that moment and wonder why she had singled me out from such a huge crowd. By now I had made friends with almost everyone in the group. A special mention to Nusrat from Malaysia, without whom, it would not have been possible to go around Istanbul. God bless her. We finally marched to the Palestine border on 30th March. As the delegates of 6 countries walked to the border, we were cheered by the people of Beirut and the Palestinian refugees. To be honest I had never experienced this feeling of solidarity before and felt honoured by the love showered on us. This trip has enriched me by meeting people from different cultures, religions and mind sets. If my little effort could bring a smile on the faces of the oppressed, I thought that henceforth I shall become a part of the noble movement and do some serious thinking for the cause and propagate their problems. I think we must make people aware of the hostile situation in the Middle East and support the Palestinians for their home land. Let us hope that good sense prevails over America and Israel so that Palestinians are given back their home land.
As people were shouting slogans against America and Israel my eyes caught an amusing sight. Outside the Jinnah monument was a board mentioning about the mausoleum and had been sponsored by Pepsi an American drink. So ironical indeed! I was also surprised to see that a few fellow Indians of our group had reservations about singing our national anthem. These social activists were in the trip for supporting the cause of a country’s freedom, where as they held no national feeling for their own country. I do not profess to be an activist, but I do not shy away from singing our national anthem and at the same time I also have respect for other nations and their nationals. Our next stopover was Iran, where we were for six days. In fact it was the best stay of the tour. The best of the hotels, food and transport was provided to us. When we met the Iranian President, he talked and mingled with us without his security guards, so unlike our Indian politicians. By meeting the press and people from different walks of life, I could collect quite a lot of information about the Palestine issue by now. At a student centre in Tehran I was approached by a correspondent of Tehran radio. He questioned me because being a Hindu and wearing a Bindi I had given quite a meaning to this movement. He asked me, “What does freedom mean to you?” realising what repercussion my answer will have in. In all innocence I replied that freedom to me meant doing away with my scarf, which I had been forced to wear (like other women) in Iran. I told him that wearing a scarf was cumbersome and that I was waiting for the day to cross over 21 | T H E M O V E M E N T O F I N D I A
April – May 2012
Why Dalits have slammed Mayawati’s Sarvjan Rule?
Recently on the declaration of the results of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) Assembly Election 2012 Mayawati claimed that although her party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), has lost the election but her Dalit vote bank is intact. But if we analyze the election results her claim is found to be false and misleading. Let us first of all look at the total population of Dalits in U.P. and the votes secured by Mayawati. Dalit population in U.P. is about 21% of the total population and they are divided into 66 sub castes. Out of these sub castes Chamar/Jatavs – 56.3%, Pasis- 15.9% Dhobi, Kori, and Balmiki- 15.3% , Gond, Dhanuk and Khatik- 5%, 9 sub- castes e.g. Rawat, Bahelia, Kharwar and Kol- 4.5% and remaining 49 sub castes are about 3% in number. Chamar/Jatavs are dominant in Azamgarh, Agra, Bijnor, Saharanpur, Gorakhpur and Muradabad districts. Pasis dominate in Sitapur, Rai Bareilly, Hardoi, and Allahabad districts. The remaining groups like Dhobi, Kori, and Balmiki are in good number in Bareilly, Sultanpur, Partapgarh, Behraich, Akbarpur and Faizabad districts. Based on the population figures of Dalits in above districts it will be appropriate to analyze the number of reserved seats won by BSP. If we look at the results of 2007 Assembly Election it is seen that BSP had won 62 out of 89 reserved seats whereas Samajwadi Party (SP) – 13, Congress- 5 and BJP – 7 seats. In this election BSP had secured about 30% votes. During 2009 Lok Sabha election out of 17 reserved seats BSP had won 2, SP- 10 and Congresss-2. In this election BSP’s vote share had declined to 27% thereby showing a fall of 3% over 2007 election vote share. The main reason for this downfall in vote share was caused by the dislike of Mayawati’s Sarvjan formula by Dalits. It was a warning signal for Mayawati but she did not heed it. Now if we look at the results of 2012 Assembly Elections the main reason for the fall of Mayawati appears to be the decline of her Dalit vote share in addition to the loss of Muslim, Most Backward Classes and general category votes. This time out of 85 reserved seats Mayawati could win 15 seats only whereas SP has grabbed as many as 55 seats. Among these 85 reserved seats winners 35 are Chamar/Jatavs and 25 Pasis. Out of these 21 Pasis belong to SP and only 2 belong to BSP. Among 16 reserved seats won by Mayawati 13 are Chamar/Jatvas and only 2 are Pasis. From the analysis of reserved seats it transpires that the factor responsible for Mayawati’s defeat is fall in dalit votes in reserved constituencies. The failure at general constituencies is also due to decline in dalit votes. This time Mayawati could garner 26% vote share which was 4% less than 2007 vote share. If we analyse the reserved seats won by BSP it transpires that she has got these seats mostly in western U.P. where her own sub caste Jatav is in majority. Mayawati could win very few seats in Pasi and Kori dominated districts. In eastern, central and southern (Bundelkhand) U.P. where Chamar sub- caste dominates Mayawati’s share in seats has been very limited. Mayawati could win 7 seats in western U.P. and only 8 in rest of U.P. From this election result it has become clear that whereas on the one side Mayawati’s Pasi, Kori, Dhobi, Khatik and Balmiki vote has shifted away, on the other side out of Chamar/Jatav vote bank which comprises of 70% Chamar and 30% Jatavs, the Chamar votes have also moved away from her. That is why Mayawati could win seats mostly in western U.P which is dominated by Jatavs, her own sub- caste. The main factors responsible for decline in Mayawati’s Dalit vote bank are her corruption, misgovernance, lack of development, neglect of Dalit atrocities and her autocratic stance. Most of dalits have also not relished Mayawati’s excessive idolization by ignoring Dalit issues. In an attempt to keep her Sarvjan voters in good humour by neglecting dalit atrocities, Mayawati made the Dalits suffer doubly. In order to keep Dalit atrocity crime figures low, under the pretext of misuse of this Act (Scheduled Castes
and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989) she diluted it in writing in 2001 and later on through oral hints. This took a heavy toll of Dalits. The result was that neither the culprits were punished due to non-registration of cases nor Dalits could get monetary compensation admissible under the rules of this Act. A notion developed among dalits that all the benefits of her government have been grabbed by Chamar and Jatav community’s which is though not wholly true. This notion made the non Chamar/Jatav sub -castes to move away from BSP. Now if we look at the reality of this notion it comes out that only those Dalits have benefited from BSP rule who were a party to the personal corruption of Mayawati. It is seen that during her regime those Dalits were also persecuted who had not voted for BSP. Their atrocity cases were not registered at police stations. There is a general allegation that Mayawati has created a corrupt, lumpen and exploiter cadre who did not spare even the dalits. This very class is very vocal in justifying Mayawati’s corruption, opportunism and anti- dalit acts. Corruption of dalit cadre is the biggest disservice of Mayawati to the dalit movement. Another factor responsible for Mayawati’s defeat is that she has been often boasting that her vote bank is transferable. With this confidence she has been selling Assembly and Lok Sabha election tickets to the highest bidder. As a result many dalit oppressors, mafias, criminals and moneyed persons were able to get BSP tickets and Mayawati ordered the Dalits to vote for them. But this time Dalits refused to obey Mayawati’s dictates and did not vote for BSP candidates. Secondly these MLAs and ministers of Mayawati did not do anything for dalits and were involved in corruption and anti-dalit activities. Many of her MLAs and ministers were involved in rape, murder and corruption cases. Dalits were angry with BSP MLAs as they did not do anything for dalits and hence this time they
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were determined to defeat them. Thirdly Mayawati centralized everything in her hands and her MLAs became helpless creatures and were not in a potion to do anything. This also resulted in their defeat. Mayawati’s opportunist and corrupt politics has resulted in blurring the vision of Dalits who are now unable to make a difference between their friends and foes. The fight against the so called Manuvaad (Brahmanism) and casteism has been weakened because BSP phenomenon has given birth to a corrupt and lumpen class who use caste label for personal gain only. They have no concern with Dalit issues. According to one analysis U.P. dalits are far behind the Dalits of all other states on development parameters. Only Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh Dalits are a bit backward than U.P. Dalits. About 60% of U.P. Dalits are below poverty line (BPL) and 60% of Dalit women suffer from malnutrition. According to a recent survey by CRY 70% of dalit children suffer from malnutrition. A majority of U.P. Dalits are agriculture labourers and they face unemployment and lack of means of production. In order to keep her Sarvjan partners in good humour Mayawati did not carry forward land reforms which would have been the best means of Dalit empowerment. Due to all pervasive corruption all the welfare schemes like MNREGA, Anganwadi scheme , Indira Awaas Yojna, various pension schemes for widows, old and Disabled persons fell victim to corruption and dalits along with others were deprived of their benefits. Mayawati detached herself from the public and the people had no opportunity to tell their vows to Mayawati. On account of three reasons Dalits rejected Mayawati as is reflected in election results. Some people, taking Mayawati as a sole representative of Dalit politics and Dalit movement, raise a question about the future of Dalit Politics and Dalit Movement.
April – May 2012
In this connection it should be clarified that Mayawati does not represent the whole Dalit Politics and Dalit Movement. Mayawati is just one Dalit politician whose influence is limited to U.P. only. She does not have any significant following in other parts of the country. There various dalit outfits are carrying on political activity in their own way. Punjab has got the highest percentage of Dalit population but BSP has no place there. As regards Dalit movement it has got social and religious facets. Mayawati has got no role in it. Conversion to Buddhism as initiated by Dr. Ambedkar is being carried out by Dalits themselves. Mayawati has got no role there. Dalits and some Buddhist organizations are carrying on this activity on their own. Mayawati herself is not a Buddhist. Even her mentor Kanshi Ram did not believe in the efficacy of religious conversion in Dalit emancipation. No doubt Mayawati has tried to allure the Dalits by constructing one Buddha Vihar in Lucknow. She has been using the Buddhist religious symbols for political purpose. Actually Mayawati and Kanshi Ram believed in using caste identity for political mobilization. They did not believe in breaking the caste. Dr. Ambedkar had said that establishment of a casteless and classless society should be our national motto. But Kanshi Ram and Mayawati did not believe in it. Actually they stand for using caste against caste in politics and thereby perpetuating it.
From the above brief analysis it is clear that Mayawati’s claim of her Dalit vote bank remaining intact is false and misleading. Perhaps Mayawati is still suffering from the illusion that her dalit vote bank is intact. Mayawati seems to be following the Congress policy of claiming the Dalits and Muslims as her committed vote bank. Congress blackmailed the Muslims by giving out that only Congress can save them from the tyranny of Hindu majority and they should never think of moving away from it. Similarly Mayawati has been blackmailing the Dalits so that they don’t move away from her and other parties also should not try to allure them. She has cleverly distanced the Dalits from mainstream political parties and declared them to be fully committed to her. But now Dalits have freed themselves from Mayawati’s spell. It is now expected that Dalits will take a lesson from BSP experiment in U.P. and opt for a radical, Ambekarite, issue based political alternative and will move out of casteist, opportunistic and unprincipled politics. Only this approach can lead to their political, social and religious emancipation and empowerment.
The author is a retired IPS officer, senior social activist with NAPM and also on the Editorial Board of The Movement of India
Conversion to Buddhism as initiated by Dr. Ambedkar is being carried out by Dalits themselves. Mayawati has got no role there. Dalits and some Buddhist organizations are carrying on this activity on their own. Mayawati herself is not a Buddhist. Even her mentor Kanshi Ram did not believe in the efficacy of religious conversion in Dalit emancipation. No doubt Mayawati has tried to allure the Dalits by constructing one Buddha Vihar in Lucknow. She has been using the Buddhist religious symbols for political purpose
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www.napm-india.org April – May 2012
Anti-big dam protest gains strength in Assam
Anti-Big Dam protest in Lakhimpur, Assam still continuing with great vigour and enthusiasm by Assamese People. Nine organizations are together leading the struggle that has entered now fourth month. NHPC project has come to a complete halt. Protestors are not allowing any construction material to be supplied at the construction site. Even the festival Bihu could not dampen the spirit of the protestors. This is one of the biggest movements so far after Narmada movement against the big dam. Entire area is being militarized by Tarun Gogoi government to repress the anti-big dam protestors. Till now no evaluation and Impact assessment of this devastating dam that is coming up in Lower Subansiri river in Arunanchal has been done.
Till now no government representative or official has visited the protest site to hold talks with the protestors. No report has been brought government on the Group of meeting held in January with organizations protesting against dam by the ministers the nine the big
Protestors are demanding small dams instead of big mega dams that will wipe out the entire culture, livelihood and economy of people of Assam and Arunanchal states. Protestors are demanding to issue a white paper on the truth of scam of big multimillion dam project by Arunanchal and Assam government. There is vast support for the anti-big dam struggle where middle class people are also joining in large numbers.
(The author is a senior social activist with National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW) and national convener of NAPM)
Kailash Mandloi and Janaki Jhadu
It is with immense grief that we share with you all the news of the death of two very stoic persons in Chhota Barda village (Narmada river bank). Shri Kailash Mandloi, fondly known as Kailash dada or Master; father of late NBA activist Ashishbhai, passed away in the wee hours of 7th April, at Joy Hospital in Mumbai, after battling with cancer over the past few months. His health had become quite critical since midMarch and he was taken to Mumbai for further treatment, where he remained in an unconscious state, on ventilator. He was earlier hospitalized at the Cancer Research Institute, Ahmedabad for more than 2 months in late 2011. His wife, son Manish, Medha didi and Amulyabhai were constantly with him during the last hours. He is being brought back to his native village and the funeral shall take place today evening on the Narmada river bank, beside the place where Ashish was set to rest in May, 2010. Shri Mandloi always exhibited a cheerful and loving approach towards one and all, even during the most difficult phase of physical pain and ill-health. He and his wife were active participants in all the programmes of the Narmada valley and had a mature political understanding of the ongoing struggle. Kailashdada’s family was a stop-over for everyone who came to Chhota Barda, over years. His greatest contribution was the fact that he lovingly encouraged both his sons to participate full-time in the Andolan for many years. While Manish was actively involved in the struggle in the early years, Ashish became a full-fledged activist and was involved in the struggle since the 90s upto May 20th, 2010, when he unfortunately passed away at a very young age of 38. Shri Kailash Mandloi is survived by his wife Vidyajiji, son Manish Mandloi, daughter Seema, son-in-law and of course, the entire NBA family and friends.
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We are indeed thankful to one and all in Narmada, Ahmedabad, Mumbai etc. who constantly stood by us and supported his treatment in various ways over the past few months. Janaki Jhadu, loving called Janakijiji; one of the firebrand activists from Chhota Barda passed away on 28th March, 2012 at Vishwas Hospital, Indore, after battling sudden and intermittent heart strokes that attacked her thrice within 6 minutes, leading to a 10 mm hole in her heart. She was at the forefront of many struggles in the Narmada valley, especially the Manibeli Satyagraha, the Ferkuwa struggle with Medha Patkar, Baba Amte and thousands others (on M.P-Gujarat border). She also replaced Medhaji on fast at Bhopal and herself fasted for several days. Courting arrests and facing lathi charge willingly, Jankijiji played a key role in mobilizing the women from her village and the valley during every programme. She is survived by her husband Bhagwan Jhadu and three sons, Mahadev, Ganesh and Mahesh, who have all been actively associated with the Andolan in their own right. The 13th day ritual of Janakiji is to be held tomorrow i.e. April 9th at Chhota Barda. The family has resolved to make a contribution to the Narmada Jeevashalas (life schools) in her memory. Chhota Barda itself has been one of the strongholds of the Narmada struggle, bringing to the fore the resilient spirit of a generation of activists, young and old, who stood against the might of State in the most trying times. We deeply mourn the loss of Kailashdada and Jankijiji and hope that the same spirit of struggle and sacrifice shall continue by the youngsters in the coming years.
The Movement Of India team
April – May 2012
RTI Act: Use and Misuse
It is distressing to read the comments of chief justice Kapadia in reported in some section of press about misuse of RTI act. It is most unfortunate to hear people like the chief justice speak about a welfarelegislation with such casual contempt that would ultimately harm the very cause the act espouses. Perhaps the CJI is not aware of the damage this has done to the cause of RTI movement in this country. We can imagine the negative impact his statement is going to have when a person of the stature of the CJI happens to misplace his emphasis on an issue like this. It is all the more disappointing since the statement does not sync well with the high goodwill and respect that the present CJI commands over us for his impeccable reputation. We have been actively involved in the RTI campaign since the day it was notified and in the course of conducting various public awareness camps and organizing public hearings on RTI matters we interacted with a cross section of applicants using RTI to retrieve information from various departments. One can divide these applicants in 3 broad categories. The first and the biggest in size is the group of those who have a genuine problem with one or the other department. A large number of retired government servants whose due has not been given are seeking reasons and redressal of such problems. Then there is a group of serving government servants who have been treated unfairly in posting and promotions or are victimized. Third is the category of common men who are trying to use RTI to know the details of welfare schemes the benefits of which have been denied to them. Fourth is the category of people who are a little more active and try to address issues which originate as their personal problems but ultimately connect to a larger public interest. Then there is this last category of people who love to throw a pebble in the water and enjoy the ripples that they create temporarily. The CJI may be selectively referring to the people of the last category. Our campaign for RTI awareness and involvement with information seekers in guiding them how to file an application, to helping them file the first and second appeals and advising them on future course of action after frustration of their appeals, has yielded enough evidence about the real intentions of the Public Authorities, the governments and the courts in sharing information with the citizens of this country. This direct and active involvement has brought us very close to the ground reality of the implementation and enforcement of the RTI act in the last six and a half years. We have studied scores of responses by the CPIOs and PIOs, and have analyzed the orders and judgments of the appellate authorities and courts. We have compared the rules made by competent authorities of various states. It is true that in some cases we have identified a few persons using RTI as a tool to seek cheap publicity for themselves as a champion public cause. A very few people have been using it with ulterior motives too. I hasten to add that ultimately even these people come back from the information commission with a long face.
Some self-styled crusaders started filing scores of applications in some departments that are notorious for corrupt practices and which affect the poorest of the poor directly. Today these crusaders are a frustrated and crestfallen lot thanks to the nexus of bureaucratic rigmarole and the incompetent and apathetic Information commissions. The only legal recourse is the High Court which is out of bounds for the poor and the unprivileged. Yes, a number of crusaders who were serious and persevered in their pursuit were brutally murdered before they could take the matter to its logical conclusion. What would the CJI call this? End of misuse? There may be some misuse of RTI by some people but that is nothing compared to the misuse of other laws by the system whether it is section 25 of CRPC or special enactments like MISA, TADA, POTA which are misused and abused in a way that violates even our fundamental rights and human rights. But if a citizen gets over enthusiastic about legislations like RTI and feeling empowered by it goes overboard in exercising her right, the whole system cries out in unison that it is misuse or abuse of Law! She has not realized yet that this is an ineffective legislation which will only sap her time and energy if the government and the commission do not honestly believe in the spirit of RTI and its ultimate goal of transparency in governance. Today the situation has come to such a pass that we cannot even use it let alone the question of misuse. It has become a toothless, clawless and lame law in the absence of a committed Information Commission and a government actually willing to cleanse the system. The success stories are highlighted by media because that makes some news. The failure stories outnumber the successful ones by many times but we love to live in
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an illusion if it gives us some temporary solace. People want to believe in the power of the good, they want to believe that there is a rule of law, they want to be optimistic and hopeful about the future and that is the reason why they keep using a tool that is losing its edge day by day due to various reasons. Sadly, the remark made by the CJI has further blunted the edge of this tool. The first body blow to this promising legislation was dealt when the government appointed the commissioners. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, the procedure adopted to select the so called persons of eminence in public life and the final appointments made it clear that the government did not take the RTI act seriously. On the contrary there was a conscious effort to weaken it as much as possible. Then came the rules by the Allahabad high court fixing Rs 500/- as application fee. This happens when for the same application the Supreme Court is charging Rs 10/-! The U.P. legislative assembly passed a resolution that no officer of the said authority will be summoned by the state information commission! Enough about the lofty ideals promised by the lawmakers! Coming back to the comments made by the CJI, which are more shocking in their detail. Even the fact that his public information officer forwarded such applications to him also defies logic because the PIO of the Supreme court would not be an ordinary Clerk who would not know his law from pathology and admit such applications in the first place. The kind of information the CJI says he was compelled to give does not even come within the definition of information or records. For the benefit of those who do not know about RTI let me explain precisely what comes within the ambit of
April – May 2012
Information as defined in the widest terms of the act. Section 2(f) defines “INFORMATION” – means any material in any form, including records, documents memos, emails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data, material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any law for the time being in force; Section 2(i) defines “Record”- includes “any document, manuscript, and file; any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document; any reproduction of image of images embodied in such microfilm and any other material produced by a computer or any other device.” Section 4 defines the obligations of public authorities about maintaining their records, the types of records, and declaring the same suo moto. Section 41(b- I to XVII) lays down a long list of categories and comprehensive details of information to be made accessible to public from rules, regulations, budgets and programs to details of all the documents held by it or under its control and section 4-(1)-C and D are about decisions / policies and reasons for its administrative or quasi judicial decisions. Section 2(j) defines the Right to Information: “ right to information means the right to information accessible under this act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to-----inspection, obtaining information.” Now let us examine which of the following information sought from the CJI comes
within the definition of “Information” and within the ambit of Right to Information.
Why did you attend Nani Palkhiwala Lecture? What time did you Leave? Did you eat Lunch or had Tea? Which Lawyer invited you for the function?
Do I need to say that these questions are out of the scope of the Right to Information and the information sought is neither held by the public authority nor it is under its control? Of course my entire argument will fail if there are rules made by the supreme court of India under which the movements, meals and details of functions like the organizer and the person who invites to the one who delivers the invitation, is to be recorded! Even if we imagine the existence of such an absurd rule, the CJI is not supposed to provide the answers to the query, his glorified clerk who maintains such records will do it for him. The other side of the coin is that thousands and thousands of files are reported missing when an application for information is filed which may uncover a scam. If the applicant persists then a simple information is sent to the concerned police station about the missing file. What recourse is left now to the information seeker? Should she move the high court, go to the vigilance department or the CBI? I hope someday the highest court will pronounce a ruling that will address this issue.
(The author is the State Coordinator of National Alliance of People’s Movement, Uttar Pradesh)
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April – May 2012
Reports of more events
Bengaluru, April 19th - Chennai, April 20th - Nellore – Vijayawada, ended on April 21st - Malegaon, Hyderabad. This was organized by the Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM, Mission Bhartiyam, ANHAD, Sadbhav Mission and other Organisations.
Honouring Global March To Jerusalem caravan members in Lucknow
On 19th April, 2012, members who participated in Global March to Jerusalem were felicitated in a public programme in Lucknow. On 30th March, 2012, people from all over the world assembled in four countries around Israel - Lebanon , Syria , Egypt and Jordan - in solidarity with the struggling people of Palestine . This event was christened as Global March to Jerusalem . There were protests inside Palestine and Jerusalem too by Palestinians and their supporters. While Swami Agnivesh and a few Indians joined the Global March to Jerusalem in Amman, Jordan, 37 members from India were part of a land caravan which was flagged off from Rajghat on 9th March, 2012. This caravan traversed its journey through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Lebanon. This Indian contingent was also held up at a Lebanese port for 36 hours under US and Israeli pressure. A Yatra to aware People about recent trend of Illegal Arrest and Terrorism was organized from Batla House via Mecca Masjid to Malegaon, Hyderabad (12-21 Apil 2012). The route was: April 12th New Delhi, April 13th - Agra – Jhansi, April 14th Bhopal – Khandwa, April 15th - Burhanpur – Jalgaon, April 16th - Malegaon – Pune, April 17th - Belgaum – Hubli, April 18th 30 | T H E M O V E M E N T O F I N D I A
Four among these brave Indians were from UP - SM Naseem (retd IPS), Maulana Zaheer Ahmad Siddiqui, Rajni Saxena all from Lucknow and Vinit Maurya from Ayodhya. This was organized by the National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM) and Lok Rajniti Manch.
April – May 2012
State Convention of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) Uttar Pradesh
Date: 27th April 2012, Friday Venue: Library, Gandhi Bhawan, opposite Shaheed Smarak and Residency, Lucknow Time: 10 am to 5 pm For more information, please contact: Jayshankar Pandey, 9918640500, Shanta Bhattacharya, 9451066468 (UP State Conveners)
4th National Conference, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW)
Date: 26-28 May 2012 Venue: Dehradun, Uttarakhand For more information, please contact: Roma, 9415233583
Workshop on Strengthening Local Economies in Times of Global Economic Crisis
Date: 5th May 2012 Time: 10 am to 5:30 pm Venue: Cellar 1, Sundarayya Vigyana Kendram, Baghlingampally, Hyderabad For more information please contact: Saraswati Kavula, email: email@example.com Organized by the Andhra Pradesh chapter of NAPM
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April – May 2012
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