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Archives for : July2017

India: Tribal leader dies in police custody – as tribe denounce harassment campaign

Bari Pidikaka, Dongria activist, who died in police custody after being detained in 2015

Bari Pidikaka, Dongria activist, who died in police custody after being detained in 2015
© Survival

A leader of a tribe in India, which made headlines around the world when it won a David and Goliath battle against a British mining corporation, has died in police custody – following a violent police campaign of harassment and intimidation against activists.

Bari Pidikaka of the Dongria Kondh tribe was arrested and detained on his way back from a protest in October 2015, and died this week.

The Dongria from central India report systematic “intimidation, abduction and wrongful incarceration” of their leaders by state police, who they claim are acting to “further the interests” of Vedanta Resources, a British-based mining company.

Local police also arrested Kuni Sikaka, a 20-year-old Dongria activist and relative of the two most prominent Dongria leaders. She was dragged out of her house at midnight, despite the fact that police had no warrant.

She was then paraded in front of officials and local media as a “surrendered Maoist [member of an armed resistance group]” despite there being no evidence to support this.

Kuni Sikaka has been arrested and paraded in front of the media. She is an activist and a relative of two prominent Dongria leaders.

Kuni Sikaka has been arrested and paraded in front of the media. She is an activist and a relative of two prominent Dongria leaders.
© Video Republic

Other members of the tribe have also faced brutal harassment. Activist Dasuru Kadraka has been detained without trial for over 12 months. Dongria have been beaten, and tortured with electric wires to force them to stop campaigning for their rights.

With the support of local officials, Vedanta has previously attempted to pressure the tribe into allowing bauxite mining on their ancestral land in the Niyamgiri Hills. In a historic referendum in 2013, the tribe unanimously rejected the proposal.

Since resisting Vedanta's plan to mine their land, many Dongria, including Drimbilli (pictured here) and Kuni, are being systematically arrested and accused of being Maoist guerrillas.

Since resisting Vedanta’s plan to mine their land, many Dongria, including Drimbilli (pictured here) and Kuni, are being systematically arrested and accused of being Maoist guerrillas.
© Video Republic

But the Dongria fear that, as long as Vedanta operates its refinery at the foot of the hills, the threat of mining remains. Those detained claim that police demanded that they stop protesting against the mine.

In an open letter to the President of India, over 100 independent Indian organizations said: “In the last 2-3 years, several Dongria Kondh youth and elders have been arrested, harassed, and killed, and one has committed suicide after repeated harassment and alleged torture by security forces. In none of these cases have [officials] been able to produce evidence linking them to so-called Maoists.”

Vedanta Resources continues to operate a refinery close to the Dongria’s hills, raising concerns that they have not yet abandoned their ambitions for mining in the area.

Vedanta Resources continues to operate a refinery close to the Dongria’s hills, raising concerns that they have not yet abandoned their ambitions for mining in the area.
© Survival

Dasuru Kadraka said: “I was arrested and taken to the superintendent of police’s office. There I was tortured with my hands tied and electric wires attached to my ears and electric shock given to me, to force me to surrender… and to make me leave the Save Niyamgiri movement. But I refused… The movement is my life, I will never stop protecting the Niyamgiri hills and forests.”

The Dongria Kondh’s right to their ancestral land has been recognized in Indian and international law. Survival International led the global campaign to protect their land, and will continue to fight for the Dongria to be allowed to determine their own futures without harassment.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “It’s now clear that there’s a brutal campaign to harass, intimidate and even murder the Dongria Kondh, to weaken their resistance to the exploitation of their land. But the Dongria are absolutely determined to protect the Hills, which not only provide them with food, housing and clothing, but are also the foundation of their identity and sense of belonging.”

http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11724

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Leather to meat, how BJP’s beef crackdown is devastating Dalits and Muslims

 

The new government rules banning cattle sale for slaughter have hit the once flourishing leather and meat industry hard especially the poorest of the poor

Cattle ban
Shops in Kolhapur, Maharashtra(Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

Mohammad Shahin has been exporting leather for 35 years but has never faced acrisis like this. The businessman is a community leader in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, owing largely to the 60 people he employs at his factory, one of 400-odd units in Kolkata’s Leather Complex.

But now, a government crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses coupled with a central rule that makes it virtually impossible to procure cattle for culling has dealt him a body blow. Orders have fallen by half, crimped both by a supply crunch and fears that harder times are on their way. In the middle of this crisis, Shahin is battling a dilemma: How to sack his all-Muslim staff.

At a Kolkata leather unit. (HT Photo )

Last month, representatives of tanneries in Uttar Pradesh’sKanpur met Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, asking to be allotted land near Kolkata. Local workers are also buoyed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s fierce opposition to the cattle market order. “We hope for the best from the state government…we know the Centre cannot do this,” says Mohammad Ishaque, who runs his own factory.

Small-scale distress

The crisis has hurt a host of ancillary small-scale industries – many of them micro units that make handbags, belts, small purses and wallets in hundreds of shops and makeshift warehouses that dot the outer fringes of Kolkata. These make their way to the many footpath stalls in Esplanade, Padmapukur and other more genteel neighbourhoods, and often end up as the blink-and-you-miss Gucci fakes.

“Getting hold of raw materials is slowly becoming more difficult. We had 55 workers making moneybags. Now there are 30,” says Rafikul Islam, who runs a unit near the leather complex.

The leather industry zoomed over the past decade on the back of cheap raw materials, making India the world’s second-largest producer and putting cash in the hands of the country’s poorest communities, who mostly cured hides in small home units.

But now, in BJP-run Uttar Pradesh, successive state government decrees since Yogi Adityanath’sascent to power have left behind a trail of distress. In the bustling back alleys of Agra that houses a centuries-old footwear industry, Dalits and Muslims are the worst hit by the diktat.

An Indian labourer carries buffalo hides that are laid out to dry in the sun, as part of the leather production process, on the banks of the river Ganges in Kanpur in 2016 (AFP)

“The notification is fatal for the industry,” says Puran Dawar, who runs his own footwear company and is the president of the local leather manufacturers and exporters association. “It is against Make in India, in which leather is a focus sector.” Dawar is referring to the ban on buying cattle for slaughter.

The city has at least 150 big units and more than 10,000 micro units, each of whom employs five or six people who make shoes from their homes. Most shoes use cow hide, the coarser buffalo skin is used for cheaper makes, and goat skin is in vogue for boots and high fashion. All these come under the ambit of the notification.

“It is the holy month of Ramzan and these workers have been here for decades. The lord’s wrath would singe us if I remove them,” he rues, sitting in his sparse ground floor office. “Jab se yeh sarkar aayi hai, hamare industry ka baarah baj gaya.”

On the floor above him, stacks of leather sheets touch the high ceiling, but there are few workers around the giant whirring machines treating and drying leather. Shahin says he’s had to cut back on monthly pay, from an average of Rs 8-10,000 to just around Rs 4,000 now.

Shahin is one of tens of thousands of people dependent on bovine hide on the southern fringes of Kolkata. Most of the workers in the complex are backward Muslims and scheduled castes, who live in ramshackle quarters or cheek-by-jowl hutments.

But life is increasingly difficult. The rates of leather sheets have fallen from Rs 50 a feet in 2014 to Rs 22 a feet now. Orders are down 60%, hurt also by a collapsing market in Europe and China.

“The message has gone out in the international market that the Indian political climate is not favourable for the leather industry. We used to get most of our material from Uttar Pradesh. The cattle market ban has made it difficult,” says Tauheed Alam. He thinks the Uttar Pradesh elections, where the BJP cruised to an emphatic victory, was a “big factor”.

Such tales abound in the complex, one of Asia’s largest that is still one of the best hopes for the industry – after all leather and allied industries employs about a million people in the state and account for 25% of India’s leather exports.

Dawar says he’s against illegal slaughter but doesn’t understand why the logic behind the government’s directives. “An animal is slaughtered only when it is old and cannot be used for tilling fields, labour or milk. No farmer sells a healthy animal.”

All-round misery

Trouble has been mounting for the state’s two million beef traders since 2015, when the BJP government banned cattle slaughter. Now, traders say, vague cattle market rules are a death knell for the $4 billion meat export industry that accounts for a fifth of the global output.

“How will I or any other trader come to know which farmer wants to sell his cattle? They (the government) say that the notification is to streamline the cattle trade, but it is merely done with religion in mind,” said Abdul Jameel Qureshi of the Beef Traders’ Association.

“What the Centre has now done is a backdoor move to help or force state governments put a ban on beef trade or livestock markets,” said Mohammed Qureshi, president of Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealers’ Association.

Before the ban, 600-700 bull and bullocks would get slaughtered at Maharashtra’s largest abattoir in Deonar. “Now the numbers are just 60 to 70 buffaloes per day,” he said.

Anand has never seen any such slaughter but he is just as affected by the rules. Since he can remember, the 50-year-old has glazed leather for Kolhapuri chappals, the famous handcrafted footwear that derives its name from the eastern Maharashtra town. For two years now, workers have been laid off in droves – from 6,000 in 2015 to just 500 today — as the supply of leather hide dried up. Artisans such as Anand are paid for every 100 pieces they craft, so dwindling raw material means less pay.

Leather processing on at the government workshop in Subhashnagar, Kolhapur in Maharashtra. (Kunal Patil/ HT Photo)

I have no other skills, how will I feed my family of five if I lose my job,” frets Anand, an employee of the industrial cluster created for Kolhapuri chappals.

Traders say procuring leather from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka pushed up their costs by a third and that exports of the famous chappals has almost stopped. “I don’t know what we will do. From a turnover of Rs 1800 crore in 2014, we didn’t even make Rs 800 crore in 2016-17,” says Ashok Shankar Gaikwad, president of Kolhapur Charmodyog Samuh.

No more music?

Feeling the heat of the government notification are not just organised industries but a small group of tribal artisans whose musical instruments are known across the world.

For a century and half, around 90 families in Peruvamba, a small leafy village in Kerala’s Palakkad district have lovingly crafted chenda, mridangam and maddalams out of smelly chunks of hide in their homes. But now, they fear the music may soon fall silent.

“If the situation continued like this we will be forced to stop our work. It seems the new restriction will kill our vocation,” said M Velayudthan, a master craftsman.

The irony: The government recently applied for a Geographical Indication tag for the world-famous Palakkad maddalam. Going by the current crisis, Velayudthan fears there might be no new maddalam to tag.

(with inputs from Swapnil Rawal in Mumbai and Ramesh Babu in Thiruvananthapuram)

 

 http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hanging-out-to-dry-indian-leather-and-meat-industry-in-deep-shock/story-bOsVY4INdAAkg3Ag92mTAM.html

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UP Plans Cow Shelters In Jails 69% Overcapacity, 33% Short Of Staff #WTFnews

Devanik Saha,

prisons_620

 

The jails of Uttar Pradesh (UP), overcrowded and understaffed, are in no position to house gaushalas (cow shelters) as the state government recently proposed.

 

The prisons of India’s most populous state are 69% over capacity–compared with the national average of 14%–and have only two-thirds of the staff they need, according to 2015 prison statistics, the latest available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

 

The capacity of jails across UP is 49,434, but they hold 88,747 inmates, the data reveal. Nationally, the figures are 366,781 and 419,623, respectively.

 

The highest occupancy rate was reported in Dadra & Nagar Haveli, 277%, more than any other state and union territory, followed by Chhattisgarh (234%) and Delhi (227%).

 

Source: Prison Statistics 2015, National Crime Records Bureau

 

Enough manpower to manage prison, prisoners and cows?

 

“We have manpower and most jails have adequate land to set up gaushalas. Naini Jail in Allahabad already has a gaushala,” minister of state for jails Jai Kumar Singh had said of government plans for jail gaushalas. “We are looking at the possibility of starting gaushalasin other jails. Our plan is to run them with a little grant from the government and utilise the assistance from social workers and citizens.”

 

There is a 33% shortage in jail staff in UP. Of a sanctioned strength of 10,407, 6,972 (67%) posts are filled. The national shortage is 34%, according to 2015 NCRB data.

 

Bihar is most starved of prison staff–it has 2,654 personnel while it needs 7,860, a shortage of 66%, followed by Delhi (47%) and West Bengal (41%), IndiaSpend reported on November 11, 2016

 

UP has more undertrials than any state

 

In absolute numbers, UP had the highest number of undertrials (62,669), followed by Bihar (23,424) and Maharashtra (21,667), according to 2015 NCRB data. In Bihar, 82% of prisoners were undertrials, the highest among states, the data further reveal.

 

More than 25% of undertrial prisoners in 16 out of 36 states and union territories have been detained for more than one year in 2014; Jammu and Kashmir leads this list with 54%, followed by Goa (50%) and Gujarat (42%), and UP leads in terms of sheer numbers (18,214), IndiaSpend reported on October 17, 2016.

 

Furthermore, human rights activists have often raised the subject of the living conditions of prisoners in jails.

 

Since 2013, the Supreme Court has been hearing a suo motu case involving inhuman conditions in 1,382 prisons in India. In this case, the bench comprising of justices Madan B Lokur and RK Agrawal issued directives to all states in February, as The Wire reported on April 11, 2016.

 

(Saha Saha is an MA Gender and Development student at Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.)

http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/up-plans-cow-shelters-in-jails-69-overcapacity-33-short-of-staff-25475

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India gets new anti-hijacking law

India gets new anti-hijacking law

Under the new law, Indian courts will be able to exercise jurisdiction over a hijacking anywhere — should the offence be committed against or by an Indian citizen on board a flight, irrespective of the country where the offence is committed. Photograph: (Zee News Network)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 7, 2017, 09.27 PM (ISTRaghvendra Rao

A little over a year after it was passed by India’s Parliament, the Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016 — a new and tougher law — quietly came into effect on July 5 after a formal gazette notification by the ministry of civil aviation.

Under the new law, the perpetrators of a hijacking are now punishable with death should the hijacking result in the death of any person — including ground handling staff and airport personnel — or with life imprisonment or with a fine.

Earlier, the death penalty was applicable only in the case of the death of hostages or security personnel.

The new law also allows for the confiscation of the offenders’ moveable and immoveable property.

Another key feature of the new law is that it widens the definition of hijacking from “in-flight” to “in-service”.

That means an aircraft will be considered to be in-service from the time it is being prepared for a specific flight by the crew or ground personnel to until 24 hours after it lands.

The new law also expands the definition of a hijacker.

A hijacker is now any person who organises a hijacking or directs others to commit one, a person who participates in a hijacking, and one who assists any person to evade investigation, prosecution, or punishment for a hijacking.

The new law also enhances the jurisdiction Indian courts can exercise in a hijacking case.

Under its provisions, Indian courts will be able to exercise jurisdiction over a hijacking anywhere — should the offence be committed against or by an Indian citizen on board a flight, irrespective of the country where the offence is committed.

That includes hijackings by stateless persons.

http://www.wionews.com/south-asia/india-gets-new-anti-hijacking-law-17714

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#Goodnews -122 countries adopt ‘historic’ UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons

We Just Banned Nuclear Weapons!
History was made at the United Nations today when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by an overwhelming 122-1 vote by UN Member States determined to provide a legal basis for the elimination of the world’s worst weapons of mass destruction.
The ban treaty, negotiated by more than 140 states under the auspices of the UN General Assembly, prohibits development, testing, production, manufacture, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons, and provides flexible pathways for nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent states to comply with the prohibitions once they decide to join.
Conference president Elayne Whyte, in submtting the final text for the vote, said we were here “to give life to a new treaty that…seeks to bring together the world around the dream of each and every person to see a world free of nuclear weapons.”
The treaty will open for signature on September 20 at the UN, and will enter into force once 50 states have ratified it.
 “This is a landmark achievement that establishes the illegality of nuclear weapons once and for all,” said IPPNW Co-President Tilman Ruff. “The Treaty is rooted firmly in the humanitarian principle that the consequences of nuclear weapons use are unacceptable under any circumstances and that any use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to the rules of international humanitarian law.”
 “The nine nuclear-armed states, which refused to participate in these negotiations, are now faced with a stark choice,” said IPPNW program director John Loretz. “They can comply with the norms that have been clearly and unambiguously established by the Treaty and eliminate their nuclear weapons, as they should have done decades ago, or they will be stigmatized as outlaw states.
“The states that base their security on the nuclear weapons possessed by other states can either withdraw from extended nuclear deterrence arrangements and cease all military planning and preparation for the use of nuclear weapons, or face similar global condemnation.”
As the founder and lead medical partner in ICAN—the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons—IPPNW was an active civil society participant in the negotiations for the Treaty, working to ensure that the final document would fully reflect the scientific evidence about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.
“The treaty recognizes the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that concern the security of all humanity, posing grave implications for human survival, the environment, food security, and the health of future generations, said Dr. Ruff. “It also recognizes that these consequences cannot be adequately addressed, and must be prevented.”
“We are very pleased that the treaty recognizes the victims of nuclear weapons,” Dr. Ruff noted. The preamble refers explicitly to the Hibakusha—the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and to indigenous peoples who have suffered from the effects of nuclear testing. It also acknowledges the disproportionate health impacts of nuclear weapons on women and girls.
“By establishing a clear and comprehensive set of prohibitions, a number of important positive obligations, including obligations to assist victims and help remediate affected environments, and procedures for elimination that can lead to universal membership over time, the treaty provides a powerful legal, moral, and political tool going forward,” Dr. Ruff stated.
“Today, with this historic treaty, the world has changed. The shared interests of humanity underpin this achievement. A nuclear weapons ban can be a game-changer towards fulfilling the urgent global health imperative to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
Help us sieze the moment!
We Just Banned Nuclear Weapons!
History was made at the United Nations today when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by an overwhelming 122-1 vote by UN Member States determined to provide a legal basis for the elimination of the world’s worst weapons of mass destruction.
The ban treaty, negotiated by more than 140 states under the auspices of the UN General Assembly, prohibits development, testing, production, manufacture, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons, and provides flexible pathways for nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent states to comply with the prohibitions once they decide to join.
Conference president Elayne Whyte, in submtting the final text for the vote, said we were here “to give life to a new treaty that…seeks to bring together the world around the dream of each and every person to see a world free of nuclear weapons.”
The treaty will open for signature on September 20 at the UN, and will enter into force once 50 states have ratified it.
 “This is a landmark achievement that establishes the illegality of nuclear weapons once and for all,” said IPPNW Co-President Tilman Ruff. “The Treaty is rooted firmly in the humanitarian principle that the consequences of nuclear weapons use are unacceptable under any circumstances and that any use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to the rules of international humanitarian law.”
 “The nine nuclear-armed states, which refused to participate in these negotiations, are now faced with a stark choice,” said IPPNW program director John Loretz. “They can comply with the norms that have been clearly and unambiguously established by the Treaty and eliminate their nuclear weapons, as they should have done decades ago, or they will be stigmatized as outlaw states.
“The states that base their security on the nuclear weapons possessed by other states can either withdraw from extended nuclear deterrence arrangements and cease all military planning and preparation for the use of nuclear weapons, or face similar global condemnation.”
As the founder and lead medical partner in ICAN—the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons—IPPNW was an active civil society participant in the negotiations for the Treaty, working to ensure that the final document would fully reflect the scientific evidence about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.
“The treaty recognizes the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that concern the security of all humanity, posing grave implications for human survival, the environment, food security, and the health of future generations, said Dr. Ruff. “It also recognizes that these consequences cannot be adequately addressed, and must be prevented.”
“We are very pleased that the treaty recognizes the victims of nuclear weapons,” Dr. Ruff noted. The preamble refers explicitly to the Hibakusha—the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and to indigenous peoples who have suffered from the effects of nuclear testing. It also acknowledges the disproportionate health impacts of nuclear weapons on women and girls.
“By establishing a clear and comprehensive set of prohibitions, a number of important positive obligations, including obligations to assist victims and help remediate affected environments, and procedures for elimination that can lead to universal membership over time, the treaty provides a powerful legal, moral, and political tool going forward,” Dr. Ruff stated.
“Today, with this historic treaty, the world has changed. The shared interests of humanity underpin this achievement. A nuclear weapons ban can be a game-changer towards fulfilling the urgent global health imperative to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
Help us sieze the moment!
The remains of the Prefectural Industry Promotion Building, later preserved as a monument – known as the Genbaku Dome – at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. UN Photo

None of the 9 countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons supported the treaty

The Associated Press Posted: Jul 07, 2017 12:23 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 07, 2017 3:09 PM ET

Delegates give a standing ovation after a vote by the conference to adopt a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons Friday at United Nations headquarters.

Delegates give a standing ovation after a vote by the conference to adopt a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons Friday at United Nations headquarters. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

More than 120 countries approved the first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons Friday at a UN meeting boycotted by all nuclear-armed nations.

To loud applause and cheers, Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the UN conference that has been negotiating the legally binding treaty, announced the results of the “historic” vote — 122 nations in favour, the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining. Canada did not take part in negotiations.

“The world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years,” since the use of the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 at the end of the Second World War, she said.

The treaty is “the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years,” Whyte Gomez said.

It will be opened for signatures in September and come into force when 50 countries have ratified it, she said.

In December, UN member states overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for negotiations on a treaty that would outlaw nuclear weapons, despite strong opposition from nuclear-armed nations and their allies who refused to participate in the talks.

UN Nuclear Treaty

Friday’s vote was 122 countries in favour with the Netherlands opposed and Singapore abstaining. Canada did not take part in negotiations. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

Whyte Gomez said 129 countries signed up to take part in drafting the treaty, which represents two-thirds of the 193 member states. But all nuclear states and NATO members have boycotted the negotiations except for the Netherlands, which has U.S. nuclear weapons on its territory and was urged by its parliament to send a delegation to the negotiations.

Canada has long been critical of this attempt to ban nuclear weapons and did not take part in the negotiations, saying they “will not address concrete measures to eliminate nuclear weapons,” according to a statement today from Global Affairs Canada.

The U.S., U.K. and France said in a joint statement on the treaty, “We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.” They argue “the ban treaty is incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence” and therefore it ” will not enhance any country’s security, nor international peace and security. It will do the exact opposite.”

Iran supports the ban treaty.

Aims to prohibit using nukes to threaten

The treaty requires of all ratifying countries “never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices — and the threat to use such weapons.

Japan Nuclear Protest

An anti-nuclear protester wears a mask with a slogan ‘No nukes’ as she participates in a march in Tokyo in December 2013. (Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press)

Retired British Royal Navy Cmdr. Rob Green, who flew nuclear strike aircraft and is now co-director of the Peace Foundation’s Disarmament and Security Centre, said earlier this week that “the heart of this treaty” is the prohibition on threatening to use nuclear weapons.

Richard Moyes, managing director of Article 36, a British-based organization that works to prevent harm from nuclear and other weapons, said it isn’t plausible to think the world can maintain security based on mutually threatening to incinerate hundreds of thousands of people with nuclear weapons “when we know there have been near-misses, errors of judgment — there’s been accidents — and there’s a degree of instability in the political leadership in the world.”

Nuclear powers withhold support

None of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — is supporting the treaty.

The United States and other nuclear powers instead want to strengthen and reaffirm the nearly half-century-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of global nonproliferation efforts.

That pact sought to prevent the spread of atomic arms beyond the five original weapons powers — the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China. It requires non-nuclear signatory nations to not pursue atomic weapons in exchange for a commitment by the five powers to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee non-nuclear states access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing energy.

North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests, including its July 3 launch, have become a timely argument for proponents and opponents of the treaty to ban atomic weapons.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said 15,000 nuclear weapons around the world have not managed to deter Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions and a new approach is needed starting with prohibition as the first step to eliminate nuclear arms.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/un-treaty-ban-nuclear-weapons-1.4192761

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Haan Maine Gujarat Ka Manzar Dekha Hai – हाँ…..मैंने गुजरात का मंजर देखा है….. #poem

Image result for Haan Maine Gujraat Ka Manzar Dekha Hai
Khoon Mein Dooba, Ang Ka Paikar Dekha Hai,.
Zakhmi Zakhmi Ek Kabutar Dekha Hai,.
Jalti Haweli Jalta Chapar Dekha Hai,.
Haan Maine Gujrat Ka Manzar Dekha Hai,.

Naam Mera Mazloom Hai, Main Ek Lardki Hoon,.
Jo Dekha Hai Maine, Wo Batlaati Hoon,.
GHar Ghar Aag Lagaai Hai, Gaddaron Ne,.
Izzat Looti Dharm Ke Theke Daaron Ne,.

Dharti Pe Shaitaano Ka Lashkar Dekha Hai,.
Haan Maine Gujrat Ka Manzar Dekha Hai,.

Sharm Se Gardan, Dhaamp Rakhi Hai Haiwaano Ne,.
Aisa Ghinona Khel, Rachaa Insaano Ne,.
Koi Dareenda, Bhi Na Kare, Wo Kaam Kiya,.
Maa Ke Pait Ko Cheer Ke Bachcha Maar Diya,.

Masoomo KO Talwaaron Par Dekha Hai,.
Haan Maine Gujrat Ka Manzar Dekha Hai,.

Aaine Ki Aard Mein Sab Patthar Dil The,.
Wardi Mein Bhi Masoomon Ke Katil The,.
Bachche Peer Jawaanon Ke Sar Kaat Diye,.
Insaano Ke Khoon Se Dariya Baant Diye,.

Aankhon Ne Laashon Ka Samader Dekha Hai,.
Haan Maine Gujrat Ka Manzar Dekha Hai,.

Jisne Dekha Manzar Aag Ugalta Hua,.
Jisne Dekha Ghar waalon KO Jalta Hua,.
Leke Shole Wo Bhi Nikal Aaye Na Kahin,.
Rukh Tasweer Ka Ulta Ho Jaaye Na Kahin,.

Sheeshe Ki Aankhon Mein Patthar Dekha Hai,.
Haan Maine Gujrat Ka Manzar Dekha Hai,.

-Shabeena Adeeb

​खून ​

में डूबा…..

 

.

 

जखमें जखमें अेक कबूतर देखा है
जलती हवेली….जलता छप्पर देखा है….
हाँ…..मैं ने गुजरात का मंजर देखा है..
नाम मेरा मजलूम है, मैं एक लडकी हूँ..
जो देखा है मैं ने…..वो बतलाती हूँ…..
घर घर आग लगाई हैं इन गद्दारों ने
इज्जत लूँटी है धर्म के ठेकेदारों ने…
धरती पे शैतानों का लश्कर देखा है…
हाँ मैं ने गुजरात का मजर देखा है….शर्म से गर्दन कम कर ली हैवानों ने
ऐसा घिनौना खेल रचा इन्सानों ने…
कोई दरिन्दा ही न करें, वो काम किया
माँ के पेट को चीर के बच्चा मार दिया…
माँ को माँ को तलवारों पर देखा है…
हाँ मैं ने गुजरात का मंजर देखा है…..

और आईनों की ताक में सब पत्थर दिल थे…
वर्दी में भी मासूमों के कातिल थे…
बच्चे, पीर, जवानों के सर काट दिये
इन्सानों के खून से दरिया पाट दिये
आँखोे से लाशों का समंदर देखा है……
हाँ…. मैं ने गुजरात का मंजर देखा है….

शबीना आदीब

 

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Narmada- Nothing learnt from history

Raising the Sardar Sarovar dam to its full height will result in more large-scale submergence of habitations

Since Independence, between 25 and 60 million people have been displaced from their homes and uprooted for India’s development projects. Most end up living in abysmal poverty and deprivation. That we do not even know the exact numbers of those affected — in a country that prizes bureaucratic record keeping — is a clear indication of the callous disregard we have for these lives.

Disregarding years of sustained non-violent protest and an iconic mass movement that drew national and global attention, the Narmada Control Authority decided on June 17, 2017 to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam to its full height, by ordering the closure of 30 gates. It was announced in time with the arrival of the monsoon. Once the dam is at its full height, it will submerge one town and at least 176 villages, displace close to 20,000 families, flood productive agricultural land, and destroy hundreds of acres of biodiverse forest. Proponents argue that (someone else’s) sacrifice is essential for (their) development. They tout the benefits: the dam will generate hydro-energy, extend irrigation and bring drinking water to drought-affected, arid areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat. But beyond the hype, the facts are in question. Ecologists, hydrologists, economists and engineers have produced detailed documentation that brings into doubt the claims of water provisioning, economic growth and safety made by the project.

Choked with silt

Siltation is one of the biggest challenges faced by dams worldwide, and constitutes one of the biggest challenges to the long-term success of this dam. The steep slopes of the Narmada valley are prone to erosion: they have been protected so far because of the dense forests that line the sides of the valley. Once these trees are lost, soil from the denuded slopes will flow unchecked into the river, turning the water muddy. The Central Water Commission’s 2015 compendium on siltation of India’s reservoirs reports alarming figures. For instance, in 85% of India’s dams, the actual rates of siltation are higher than those anticipated during their design. An alarming one in four dams has sedimentation rates more than five times as high as expected! Siltation is most rapid in the early years after dam construction and quickly begins to take effect. The problems are likely to be especially severe for giant dams such as the Sardar Sarovar, which cannot be easily desilted. Apart from directly reducing water storage capacity, siltation also decreases water capacity due to increased evaporation loss. As a result, the capacity to generate hydropower is affected. A dam choked with silt creates a river prone to risky situations of potential flooding in the backwaters.

A poor record

Compensation to the displaced, when given, has often come in the form of land unsuitable for farming or living, located either on riverbeds at the risk of flooding, or in rocky areas which cannot be ploughed. Resettlement sites lack basic facilities: no wells, drinking water pipelines, or grazing land for cattle, let alone schools or road facilities. The poor track record of the past is clear. Despite this, tens of thousands of additional households are now being asked to rely on resettlement without an adequately provisioned place to move. This leaves the once self-reliant people of the valley with no option but to work as daily wage labour and crowd into urban slums — often to be resettled again for other developmental or smart city projects.

The Narmada valley is one of the most fertile ecosystems in India, brimming with biodiversity, and with abundant fish, birds and trees. The dams along the Narmada have changed this, blocking normal water flow, leading to downstream habitat change and impacting biodiversity. The Narmada estuary, where the river meets the sea, has become increasingly saline because of the decrease in fresh water flow after the dams came up. Fish catch of some species has now declined by as much as 75%, signalling the almost complete collapse of the once famous fishing industry. Thousands of commercial and subsistence fishermen affected by this change are not classified as dam-affected though. Neither are the people who and industries which depended on the once-abundant supply of fresh water in the delta. (Water has now suddenly turned saline even to the depth of borewells.) Neither will the invisible tribal communities who depend on the lush forests of the valley — forests that will now be submerged. Only those who can produce evidence of losing homes or agricultural plots are counted as “project-affected”, and can lay claim to compensation.

There has to be a clear, transparent public accounting of livelihoods lost and jobs created, of profits accrued at the expense of great misery and injustice. For who are we to decide who wins and who loses? Large dams have forced the displacement of millions of India’s small farmers and landless peasants from across the country, forcing them into urban slums and shanties, breaking apart families and sending them into a downward spiral of degradation and penury. The tragedy of the Sardar Sarovar Project is that it has failed to learn from history, condemning tens of thousands more to the same fate.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/nothing-learnt-from-history/article19205287.ece

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Wake Up Calls to the “Conscience of India”: Widow Rashidabi Shows the Way

NEW DELHI: ”He did not die the death of a cat or a dog for money to be given to us in place of justice,” said Rashidabi, the widow of Zafar Khan brutally lynched by a mob of municipality employees in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan just about two weeks ago on June 17. Not a single person has been arrested for the crime, with the government trying to silence the grieving family by offering Rs 2 lakh compensation, and a job for a member of the family.

Zafar Khan, a local worker, had rushed to the rescue of a small group of women who were being harassed by the civic employees for defecating in the open. Eyewitnesses said that these employees had started haunting he women of Bagwasa Kachi Basti for the past five or six days before Khan’s death, abusing them, twisting their hands, taking away their water, and photographing them. Khan intervened on that fateful day when he heard the women tell the men not to to take their photographs. Incidentally, for the record the group of women were a representative sample of the different communities living in the area.

Khan’s little 14 year old daughter picks up the phone, and valiantly struggles to answer some questions. She had rushed to the spot where her father was being beaten up, only to be told by one of the assailants that he would burn her father to death, that he would clobber her mother, that he would pick her up. Terrified, she stuck her ground, and today is her mothers greatest support. Her elder sister, the only other child of the family, was married earlier.

Rashidabi said that the women could not use the toilet that had been constructed as there was no water, it was absolutely filthy, and often the civic employees would charge money ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 10 per use. She said the stench was overpowering and the women had no option but to use the fields instead. She said she was at home when she heard her husband had been attacked, and she went rushing to find that he was being kicked straight in the stomach, and fell down soon after, dizzy and unable to withstand the blows any longer. He died soon after. The civic employees of course, left after their task was completed without a second glance at the man they had so brutally attacked.

The video below captures a march today in Pratapgarh led by women of all communities to protest against the lynching of Zafar Khan, with the demand for the immediate arrest of the assailants:

Zafar Khan was a very popular man in the area, and this came from his own personality although he was also a CPI(M-L) member. The party has taken up his death, with a huge campaign being started for justice, and against cow mobs, in the Pratapgarh belt that culminated in a March in which all sections of society participated today. (See Video and photographs) The main demand, the activists told The Citizen, was for the arrests of the guilty, and to convert the kucha basti into a pucca dwelling. Khan had been agitating for the same, as well as for toilets taking several representations and petitions from the dwellers to the various officials in the administration.

Rashidabi recalls that he often came back dejected,as either his petition had been torn and thrown aside in front of him by an official, or he had been threatened that the entire basti would be mowed down and he could forget his demands. However, he never gave up and in his commitment and determination lies the story of sheer courage that often accompanies such tragedies. His comrades who are currently campaigning for justice in his name, said they had never seen such widespread support as for Khan in all communities. Particularly the women who have now come out in numbers to organise meetings, and join the campaign for justice.

Demonstration at Mumbai

Schoolgirls at the Mumbai protest, they came all the way from Govandi

The March is one of the man protests that have overtaken India over the past few weeks against the lynchings, and the brutality being exhibited by the right wing mobs. As we write a major demonstration is underway in Mumbai with a statement issued by a multitude of individuals, political outfits and civil rights organisations maintaining, “the brutalization of this country is creating a generation that does not think violence against the weak and helpless is wrong. Everywhere minorities are under threat. But what is physically dangerous for the minority is mentally dangerous for the majority.

This is not the future we want. We are Hindus, Muslims, Christians and people of all denominations, castes and creeds including some who have no religion. We do not believe that the present regime will stop the destruction of the secular, democratic India promised to us by our Constitution. So this is not an appeal to government. It is a wake up call to the conscience of the country.”

(Cover Photograph: Big demonstration led by women of all communities against the lynching of Zafar Khan by civic employees in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan)

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/1/11150/Wake-Up-Calls-to-the-Conscience-of-India-Widow-Rashidabi-Shows-the-Way

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Amid Land Grab Charges, Raigarh Tribals Renew Fight for Fair Deal



Allegations of illegal land grab in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, brings the focus back on the cost borne by locals for development.

Almost 13 years after selling their land to TRN Energy Pvt Ltd, which wanted to set up a 600 MW thermal power plant in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district, 88 villagers, including tribals as well as non-tribals, from Benghari, Khokhraoma, Katangdi and Nawapara Tenda villages have now alleged forgery and use of force and coercion by middlemen.

It has been alleged that the locals were duped when their land was sold to TRN Energy and Mahavir Energy Coal Beneficiation Ltd, which has already set up a biomass power plant on land across the four villages.

The villagers allege that their land was bought through illegal benami transactions with signatures being taken on blank paper. The monetary compensation, offered in lieu of land, is far less than the actual market price.

Discontent stems not just from inadequate compensation but also due to forged sale deeds, with the villagers alleging that more land has been sold than what was agreed upon by the owners. The total area of land acquired by both the private firms is around 900 acres across four villages of Raigarh district, which is 263 kms from Raipur.

 

Complaint by Villagers

Pavitri Manjhi, the sarpanch of Benghari village, in her complaint dated 23 June 2016, has alleged harassment by TRN Energy officials Birender Singh and Raju Pathak, who threatened her with dire consequences for not according an NoC (No Objection Certificate) on behalf of the gram sabha. To build pressure, Manjhi’s sons were allegedly framed in false cases in 2014.

At a press conference in Raipur in June, Kishore Narayan, the lawyer who is helping the villagers fight a legal battle on behalf of the Adivasi Mazdoor Sangh, said: “Almost everyone has sold their land to the same person on the same day. People who thought they were selling 5 acres found out later that 15 acres was given away to the company.”

Pavitri Manjhi, the sarpanch of Bhengari village has alleged harassment and intimidation by representatives of the company.
Pavitri Manjhi, the sarpanch of Bhengari village has alleged harassment and intimidation by representatives of the company. (Photo: The Quint)

Benami Transactions – the Tip of an Iceberg

How was the transaction settled between the villagers and private companies? The names of the companies have not been mentioned in the sale deed (agreement between the buyer and seller), suggesting that the property was bought and transferred to middlemen who initially struck deals with the locals, and thereafter the land was transferred to the company.

But benami transaction is just the tip of an iceberg. There are instances of alleged forged sale deeds as well, hinting at collusion between state officials and the local land mafia. For example, a sale deed on behalf of Mohanlal, resident of Gharghoda tehsil in Raigarh, mentions the date as 21 March 2010, which was a Sunday.

It was Sunday, on the date 21 March 2010 as shown in the sale deed above.
It was Sunday, on the date 21 March 2010 as shown in the sale deed above. (Photo: The Quint)

Case Against Pvt Firms

On 14 June 2017, the villagers approached the Raigarh police station to lodge an FIR under the SC/ST Act or the Prevention of Atrocities Act. Police recorded statements of villagers and are now supposedly ascertaining facts as part of their preliminary inquiry, which could take between 15 days to three weeks.

The case against the private firms is also based on Section 170 (b) of the Chhattisgarh Land Revenue code that prohibits sale of land belonging to tribals to non-tribals or outsiders. The private company, in this case, is an “outsider”.

Also Read: Chhattisgarh Government Strips Forest Community of Land Rights

If a gram sabha in the scheduled area finds that any person, other than a member of an aboriginal tribe, is in possession of any land of a bhumiswami (land owner) belonging to an aboriginal tribe, without any lawful authority, it shall restore the possession of such land to that person to whom it originally belonged and if that person is dead to his legal heirs

Section 170 (b), Chhattisgarh Land Revenue Code 1959

Police have recorded statements of villagers as part of its ongoing preliminary inquiry.
Police have recorded statements of villagers as part of its ongoing preliminary inquiry. (Photo: The Quint)

Clearance From Environment Ministry

In a letter dated 18 March 2011, the Ministry of Environment and Forests granted clearance to the TRN Energy’s thermal power plant after a public hearing on 14 July 2010, with the cost of the project being estimated at Rs 2,820 crore.

The clearance was granted subject to certain conditions, like generating jobs and adopting at least three nearest villages, ensuring basic amenities such as drinking water, primary health centre, primary school etc in coordination with the district administration. Locals, however, say not much has been done on this front.

No roads were built. Only a school boundary and a pond were built by Mahabir Energy. TRN has done nothing

Sukhram Rathia, Resident, Khokhraoma village, Raigarh

We have given our land, but there’s no permanent job. They should hire us. We didn’t get our full compensation

Maheshwati, Resident, Khokhraoma village, Raigarh

The question is, if indeed there was a dispute over land, why didn’t the issue of illegal land grab crop up at the stage of environmental clearance?

“Concealing factual data or submission of false/fabricated data and failure to comply with any of the conditions mentioned above may result in withdrawal of this clearance and attract action under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986”, states the letter by the ministry, a copy of which was sent to the authorities concerned in Chhattisgarh.

Political Link

According to company research platform, TOFLER, as on 17 April 2017, TRN Energy is an unlisted private company incorporated on 17 November 2006, with paid-up capital of Rs 74,566.81 lakh. It is a subsidiary of ACB (Aryan Coal Beneficiations) India Limited, with the company’s website listing Rudra Sen Sindhu as its chairman-cum-managing director.

Sindhu is the brother of BJP leader Capt Abhimanyu, who is a cabinet minister in Haryana. The election watch website, My Neta, shows Capt Abhimanyu holding 3,026,926 shares of ACB India Ltd as of 2014. Rudra Sen Sindhu is also the son-in-law of BJP leader and former Delhi chief minister Late Sahib Singh Verma.

In 2012, ACB’s offices were raided by the Income Tax authorities. Earlier, in September 2009, the CBI registered a case against Aryan Coal Beneficiation Pvt Ltd for “misutilisation and misappropriation” of 73,488.64 metric tonnes of washed coal, causing a loss of Rs 8 crore to the exchequer.

The Quint reached out to ACB India Ltd for their version, but no company official answered specific queries regarding the land deal. There was no response to the email sent to the company as well as HP Gupta, Senior Vice President, ACB India Ltd, at the time of filing this report. The Quint’semail to Capt Abhimanyu also went unanswered.

Legal Options Available

While land was acquired by both the companies in 2004-2007, it was only on 28 January 2016 and 25 June 2015, when complaints were sent to the district magistrate and sub-divisional magistrate by the Khokroama and Nawapara gram sabhas, respectively.

Around 35 of the 88 complainants have received certain amounts of money as compensation. It was promised by the middlemen that the remaining amount would be reimbursed, according to Degree Prasad Chauhan, Convenor, Dalit Adivasi Mazdoor Sangh, Raigarh.

What explains such a prolonged delay?

They (villagers) should’ve raised objections within the first three months after the project got clearance, they can approach the high court now. Non-compliance of norms (by the company) can be a ground for revocation of approval for the project. Time is a deciding factor in such criminal matters

Ritwick Dutta, Lawyer and Environmental Activist

Questions emailed to Kedarnath Kashyap, Minister of Tribal Affairs (Chhattisgarh) and Ajay Chandrakar, Rural Development Minister (Chhattisgarh), went unanswered.

https://www.thequint.com/environment/2017/07/03/land-grab-in-raigarh-chhatisgarh-tribals-renew-fight-for-fair-deal

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India – The organising principle of lynch mobs

The executors of violence know that strong-arm tactics send powerful signals of who belongs and who does not

What encourages Indians who subscribe to different religious persuasions, speak different languages, and hold different conceptions of the good to believe that they are equal members of a democratic political community? Many features bind us together: shared memories of a massive struggle against colonialism, the spectacle of and general enthusiasm for elections, love of cricket and fascination with Bollywood. The most important bond that welds disparate people into a political community is, arguably, constitutional democracy and the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution.

About the right to life

Logically, the one right that enables us to possess and exercise other rights is the right to life granted by Article 21 of the Fundamental Rights Chapter of the Constitution. It states explicitly that no person shall be deprived of her life or personal liberty, save by procedure established by law. In 1950, the Supreme Court, in the case of A.K. Gopalan vs the State of Madras, interpreted the phrase “procedure established by law” as any procedure laid down in a statute enacted by a competent legislature. For 23 years, the court did not interpret the right to life as a principle of natural justice, but as a fragile right that could be taken away by arbitrary legislation.

Over the years the Supreme Court changed its stance. In 1973, in the case of Prabhu Dayal Deorah vs the District Magistrate, Kamrup, the court ruled that anti-social activities can never be reason to invade the personal liberty of citizens. The history of personal liberty is the history of observance of procedures; this is the only bastion against ‘wanton’ infringements of personal liberty. In the Maneka Gandhi case (1977), the court ruled that the right to life had to be read along with the right to equality and the right to freedom, granted by Articles 14 and 19 of the Fundamental Rights Chapter. Any procedure that could possibly infringe on the right to life and personal liberty had to be right, just, and fair, and not arbitrary, fanciful and oppressive. The court would decide whether a procedure is just.

Watching in silence

According to this interpretation, the recent spate of attacks on Indian citizens, the lynchings and slaughter, can be rightfully construed as ‘wanton’ assaults on personal liberty and the right to life. What is worrying is that individuals are emboldened to perform acts of indescribable violence on bodies of fellow citizens. They have reason to know that they will get away with these repulsive violations of a primary fundamental right.

In most cases, police personnel prefer to look elsewhere. Elected ministers of State governments defend actions that maim and murder on flimsy and unsubstantiated grounds, such as transportation of cattle. In a recent case, a young man was brutally killed because he was reportedly carrying meat. Surely those who design and execute violence should be penalised severely for breaching the basic right to life and liberty. But our democratically elected Central government watches in near silence even as its citizens are subjected to reiterative brutality.

Elusive expressions of distress by politicians who command immense power, and who possess control over the means of coercion, is simply not enough. Perpetrators of violence must be punished, aspirant wrongdoers must be deterred, and civil liberties must be restored. If India has some claim to constitutional democracy, the sanctity of fundamental rights must be upheld by our power elites.

Markers of protest

It is precisely this message that for the past three years has been delivered by Indian citizens. Writers, poets, and dramatists returned honours given by the state. Citizens march to protest against atrocities perpetrated on our students, on our own people who are Muslims or Dalits, and on our democratic sensibilities. Last week thousands of Indians assembled across the country to state unambiguously: ‘Not in My Name.’The marker of the protest can be read in two ways. It can be interpreted as distancing ourselves from the barbarism that has been unleashed on vulnerable Indians. But this reading is untenable. This form of protest is one of the most spectacular expressions of loss of confidence in elected leaderships, a mass no-confidence motion. We are no longer ‘the people’ in whose name you rule.

Democratic citizens need to deepen protests, because lynching and murders are not random or isolated incidents. The link between the issue of cow protection and Hindu-Muslim communal violence has been clear since the late nineteenth century. Worship of the cow was one of the reasons why Muslims felt excluded from the construction of an overtly ‘Hindu’ nation, built around pure and impure food and the consequence of consumption.

A project of consolidation

Today, the project of consolidating a Hindu nation has been stepped up. The larger intention of the Hindutva project is to cast a miasma of fear and trepidation over entire regions, and to put minorities and the so-called lower castes ‘in their place’. The project seems to have worked. Now people have to be careful where they live, and how they travel, for anyone, anywhere can be subjected to intimidation.

The prospect is frightening. We are going to live in desolate cities, because vulnerable communities, in search of protection, will migrate to ghettos overflowing with their own people. We will be living and working in blank and bleak urban (and some rural) spaces, where no one reaches out to the members of another community. They simply do not know what the outcome is going to be.

This is the exact fate of Ahmedabad, a once bustling textile town. Though repeated communal violence led to ghettoisation in 1969, some Hindus and Muslims continued to live in mixed neighbourhoods. By the 1990s only a few mixed neighbourhoods remained. Spatial segregation was almost complete after 2002. The fate of a ghettoised city is depressing. Residential exclusion narrows the cultural and political horizons of communities, closes off options, pre-empts creative mingling of perspectives and prevents solidarity.

Rituals of random violence have their own rationale, the maintenance and reproduction of dread of the unknown, or even of the known. The consequences are clear. People in search of protection cluster together. The political community fragments, and the collective self of India is once again fractured. We are set back a hundred years when neighbours turn on neighbours. Today, matters are worse, because people video-record the torture of their neighbours in the name of cow-protection. They then post these videos on the social media. What could be more perverse and more threatening?

The splitting up of the political community in India and the dissolution of solidarity, spatial segregation as the vulnerable seek shelter, and mindless violence seem to be part of a larger project of the extreme right. The executors of violence know that strong-arm tactics send powerful signals of who belongs and who does not. These seemingly indiscriminate and arbitrary instances of violence, murder, and mayhem are not isolated. They add up to a project that is politically dangerous because it threatens defenceless people. In 1947, India was partitioned into two countries. In the 21st century, Indian society seems to be fated to undergo another sort of partition, spatial segregation born out of fear. The right to life has lost meaning in an India where vigilante groups rule who will be targeted and how.http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-organising-principle-of-lynch-mobs/article19205256.ece

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