Rss

  • stumble
  • youtube
  • linkedin

Archives for : environment

Australia court dismisses appeal against Adani coal mine project

The coal mine project involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the iconic Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed off on land.

Environmental activists voice their opposition to Indian miner Adani's proposed Carmichael coal mine, outside Parliament House in Brisbane, Australia on May 25, 2017.
Environmental activists voice their opposition to Indian miner Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine, outside Parliament House in Brisbane, Australia on May 25, 2017.(AP File Photo)

Melbourne

Indian mining giant Adani Group’s 16.5 billion dollar controversy-hit coal mine project in Australia has cleared another hurdle with Brisbane Supreme Court dismissing an appeal filed by indigenous group against the project.

Traditional owners have faced another legal setback in their quest to block Indian giant Adani’s proposed megamine in central Queensland.

A small group of Wangan and Jagalingou people, who have a native title claim over the proposed site of the coal mine in the Galilee basin, on Tuesday  lost an appeal against an earlier Brisbane Supreme Court ruling that the granting of leases in the area were lawful.

Lawyers for the group argued in the Queensland Court of Appeal in May that issuing the leases to Adani was unlawful because they had not been given adequate opportunity to address the state government on native title issues relating to the proposed Carmichael site.

But Adani and the Queensland government argued the traditional owners had never made a proper objection to the mine under the terms set out by the Mineral Resources Act 1989.

Carmichael coal mine project, one of the world’s largest, will start construction this year after being given the green light by the federal and Queensland state governments.

The project involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the iconic Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed off on land.

Despite being targeted by several political and environmental groups from time to time, the Adani group has reaffirmed its commitment for the project and promised to create economic prosperity, including creating thousands of jobs for the people in Queensland.

In May this year, the lawyers of Wangan and Jagalingou group, who have a native title claim over the proposed site of the mine in the Galilee basin, argued in the court that the issuing of the mining leases to Adani were unlawful as they had not been given adequate opportunity to address the state government on native title issues relating to the proposed Carmichael site.

This is the latest in a string of failed legal challenges in various courts from these traditional owners against the $16 billion coal mine, set to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

The controversial project has drawn the ire of green groups, who say it will be catastrophically damaging to the environment, while economists have branded investment in it risky because of the uncertainty of coal prices.

However, Adani and the state government argued that the traditional owners had never made a proper objection to the mine under the terms set out by the Mineral Resources Act 1989.

Responding to today’s decision, senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, said “where there is mining there is no justice for Traditional Owners. We are not done yet. We will exhaust all legal avenues in our fight to for our rights and to protect our country”.

“Adani cannot move on the critical infrastructure for the mine until they can get us out of the way,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Adani group welcomed the court’s decision and said, “it represents yet another independent judicial decision upholding nearly eight years of development planning and rigorous approvals, and dismisses activist claims to the contrary”.

It is also another legal rebuff to activists’ use of the courts to seek to delay a project, the company said claiming that the project will inject 22 billion dollars in royalties and charges into the State coffers to be reinvested back into the community.

The company is expected to kick off the pre-construction work in September quarter of this year following Adani chairman Gautam Adani announcing the signing off on the project.

Meanwhile, members from the Stop Adani group held a sit-in at the mining company’s Townsville office on Tuesday to protest against the mine, with one arrested and charged for refusing to move on.

AAP

Related posts

Bihar floods, August 2017: Support victims #mustshare

 

Bihar Floods 2017: give basic supplies:food, medicines, tarpaulins to flood affected families of Araria, Katihar

 (This campaign does not receive foreign money, and all donations in dollars will be refunded to donors)

Victims need your help in getting basic supplies (food, medicines, clothing)

https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/biharflood

This is an urgent appeal to help the victims of sudden floods in North Bihar. In the floods over the last two weeks, Araria, Kishanganj and Purnia have been worst affected by floods. Twenty people have died in Araria alone. About 65 lakhs people in Bihar have been affected as per the government reports across twelve districts. Three towns of Araria district namely, Forbesganj, Jogbani and Araria are witnessing unprecedented levels of water. Our own home was inundated and we can say that what we are going through is much less than what people residing in villages are facing. Flood is a regular feature of North Bihar but this year seems exceptional in its intensity. This reminds one of the catastrophe of 2008 floods.

Rail connection has been disrupted. Jogbani station is flooded. Many villages have lost road connections. Army and IAF teams have joined the NDRF team to rescue people and help with the crisis. Lakhs of people are stranded and have taken shelter on canals, school buildings and places of higher altitude. People were not forewarned and that has made the situation worse. The cause of the floods is heavy rains in the catchment area of several rivers that flow in this region (catchment area is in Nepal) and that causing breach in embankments of rivers and canals.

Relief will have to be a phased effort. Immediate Relief Items that people have asked for:

Round 1. Torch , Candles, Match Boxes, Dry Ration (Sattu, Chuda, Gud) and Basic Medicines

Round 2. (after water recedes a little): Plastic sheets, clothing ( sari, lungi, vest, sanitary napkins and such items), Basic Medicines

Relief also to include health camps, warm blankets for winter as people have lost most of their belongings.

We are planning to do relief operations. We plan to reach at least 10 thousand people through your support.

JJSS is actively in the flood affected districts, trying to provide dry ration packets. (photo above)

Safai karmi families have lost their dwellings to the floods. They were living near the canal which broke and waters flooded Araria. So far, we have been able to reach out to them with as ack of clothes and footwear from Goonj. JJSS has been distributing dry rations in villagers were road connectivity is broken, like Hans Ganj, Dand Khora blocks of Katihar, Raniganj, Sikti, Palasi, Kursakata, Araria blocks of Araria.
We have received support from many quarters. Your contributions at this hour are invaluable

Bihar Flood Relief update – Want to donate in kind?

Many friends are offering ways to collect and distribute essentials One can drop essentials here.:Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) Address: Ashiana Chamber, 7th Floor , Exhibition Road, Patna (Bihar), (Time: 3 PM to 7 PM)

Contact persons of those organizing such collections in Patna:

Nivedita- 9835029152

Mona- 9835486721

Tanwir Akhtar – 9308745797

Nasiruddin- 9450931764

About us:

We are a collective of poor labourers and peasants in rural Bihar. Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS) is a registered trade union of unorganised sector workers, and works on the philosophy of sangharsh (Struggle) and Nirmaan (Creation).

check us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/jjssbihar/

Related posts

End Bullying and Shaming Tactics in ‘Sawachh Bharat ‘ campaign

 

Salute The Memory Of Comrade Zafar

r

Comrade Zafar gave his life defending the dignity of the poor and of women – in the process exposing the ugly face of Prime Minister Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign.

Universally liked and respected by everyone in the Bagwasa Kachchi Basti, Comrade Zafar had for a couple of decades been spearheading efforts to get the basti regularized, to achieve basic sanitation and water facilities for the basti, and to prevent eviction from the basti.

The Swachh Bharat campaign claims to encourage people in rural and urban India to give up the widespread practice of open defecation (which has serious public health consequences) and switch to toilet use.

But the Pratapgarh episode culminating in the lynching of Comrade Zafar highlights the Government-led campaign’s callousness, cruelty and contempt towards the poor.

Comrade Zafar and the people of the Bagwasa basti were not among those resisting toilet use – on the contrary Comrade Zafar and the colony’s women had submitted memorandums and led delegations seeking funds from the Government to build individual and community toilets and ensure proper water and cleaning facilities for such toilets. Instead of welcoming their demand and acceding to it, the elected Chairman of the municipality – a BJP leader Kamlesh Dosi – tore up their memorandum and mockingly told them to get rid of eviction of the entire colony instead of trying to provide toilets for it.

Meanwhile, every morning, in the absence of proper toilets, the colony’s residents had no option but to defecate in the open: and the municipality personnel would harass, bully, and shame them for so doing! Comrade Zafar and the colony’s women had specifically demanded in their memorandum (submitted to the offices of the municipality and the Collector days before Comrade Zafar was killed) that the coercive tactics be suspended at least until funds be provided so that toilets can be built and functional. But funds were denied, the colony lacked both toilets and water, and yet the poor were shamed and bullied and the women sexually harassed for being ‘dirty’ and uncouth enough to defecate in the open! Not only are the poor condemned to live in the most appalling and inhuman conditions – they are mocked, bullied and shamed for those conditions.

A story in Wire.in (‘Dirty Backstory to ‘Swachh Bharat’ Lynching: No Toilets, No Water and the Threat of Eviction’ by Shruti Jain, 22/06/2017) tells how there is one single community toilet with ten commodes in the Bagwasa basti which houses 3000 residents – and that toilet has no water, the flushes do not work and consequently the toilets are clogged and unusable. (Whenever these toilets are ever cleaned, it will be a job of manual scavenging which is supposed to be illegal but which continues to widespread. The Swachh Bharat campaign claims eradication of manual scavenging as one of its goals: but makes zero effort in this direction.)

The Rajasthan Chief Minister, police and Government are trying to claim, based on the post mortem report, that Zafar just happened to die of a heart attack and that he was not attacked by government personnel at all. But it is clear from eyewitness accounts and even from the selective, short video clips released by the government personnel themselves, that Zafar did not just happen to drop dead and suffer a ‘demise’ on a morning walk. He had no history of heart problems or hypertension. He was undoubtedly in an altercation and scuffle with Government personnel minutes before his death in an attempt to prevent the personnel from photographing and videographing women of the basti while they were defecating. Multiple eyewitnesses from amongst the women bear witness to the fact that he was beaten to death by the personnel for offering resistance to their bullying and sexual harassment of women.

The killing of Comrade Zafar by Government personnel in the name of the Swacch Bharat campaign has brought a host of issues about the draconian and undemocratic character of the campaign to a head. Liberation takes a closer look at the stated aims and goals of the campaign, its methods and its performance.

LYNCH MOB SYNDROME : SHAMING, BULLYING, AND VIOLENCE AGAINST THE POOR

Zafar’s lynching should come as no surprise, given the tactics adopted by the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan (henceforth SBA) as well as by government campaigns against open defecation predating SBA. Under the SBA, police are government personnel instructed to form vigilante mobs to patrol villages at dawn and dusk to harass and bully people defecating in the open, with a view to shaming them. These vigilante mobs are instructed to whistle, cat-call, clap; groups of women follow men and groups of men follow women and photograph/videograph them when they are defecating. These mobs grab the lotas (mugs of water) and shout slogans. These are the tactics to which Zafar objected.

Such tactics have resulted in dehumanising violence and have sparked social conflict and sharpened social divisions all over the country. One elderly man in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh in December 2016, for example, was beaten and forced to clean his feces with his hands by civic body authorities – and a video of the whole degrading scene was uploaded by Ujjain Municipal Corporation (UMC) deputy commissioner Sunil Shah in a WhatsApp group. (‘Villager forced to clean his feces with hands in Ujjain as part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, Salil Mekaad, Times News Network, December 29, 2016)

In Maharajpur village in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh in October 2016, Vipin Sahu was dragged out of his home, beaten and stabbed to death by a mob in front of the whole village because he had delayed construction of a toilet in his home and has sought more time till Diwali to do so. (‘Man killed for buying time to build toilet’, Rashmi Drolia, TNN, October 8, 2016)

Such tactics predate the SBA of the Modi Government. A report by Liz Chatterjee in the Guardian (‘Time to acknowledge the dirty truth behind community-led sanitation’, The Guardian, 9 June 2011) details the coercive tactics adopted by government officials in Karnataka to deter open defecation: “A local official proudly testified to the extremes of the coercion. He had personally locked up houses when people were out defecating, forcing them to come to his office and sign a contract to build a toilet before he would give them the keys. Another time, he had collected a woman’s faeces and dumped them on her kitchen table.”

GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Government campaigns against open defecation, including SBA, openly instigate and encourage violence against women. The Madhya Pradesh Government in 2013 titled its campaign to end open defecation, ‘Maryada Abhiyan’. The word ‘Maryada’ in Hindi signifies women’s sense of dignity and/or womanly shame, and a campaign booklet issued by the MP Government harps on the theme of how open defecation threatens women’s dignity and puts women in danger of sexual harassment. In the process, however, the booklet itself openly instigates sexual harassment of women!

The booklet (found at this link http://www.communityledtotalsanitation.org/sites/communityledtotalsanitation.org/files/MP_NBA_MARYADA_guidelines.pdf) asks people to imagine a young woman defecating in the open and being watched by voyeuristic men. It even carries a voyeuristic drawing to this effect. It does not ask why any men watching should not be punished for voyeurism – a crime under Section 354 C of the Indian Penal Code!

Instead the booklet itself prescribes such voyeurism and sexual harassment, by asking ‘Sanitation monitoring committees’ (basically vigilante mobs) to patrol villages, whistle at people defecating in the open, and take photographs and videos of open defecators ‘with the threat and possibility that the photos might be displayed or the videos shown.’ The district administration of Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje’s own constituency of Jhalawar in June 2016 asked teachers to conduct similar patrols and take photos and videos of open defecators (‘Rajasthan Wants Teachers To Make Early Morning Rounds, Click Pics To Check Open Defecation’, Huffington Post, 06/06/2016).

Do PM Modi and the various State Governments not know that taking or showing photos or videos, or even ordering such photos or videos to be taken, is a crime of voyeurism under Section 354 C of the IPC (see box)? Chief Ministers, Sanitation Ministers, as well as local administrators could and should be booked under Section 354 C for ordering and approving voyeurism in the name of SBA. The SBA tries to create fear in women that open defecation will expose them to voyeurism and sexual violence – and then unleashes government-sponsored voyeurism and violence on them!

The booklet harps on patriarchal notions of ‘maryada’ as meaning the enforced imprisonment of women behind veils and inside four walls of the home. It suggests that in meetings of groups of villagers, mothers-in-law be asked why their daughter-in-law covers her head while sending her out to bare her bottom. An advertisement by one of the celebrity ambassadors of SBA, actress Vidya Balan, also raises the same question. One of the most common SBA slogans is Bahu-betiyan door na jayen, ghar par hi shauchalay banvayen “Daughters-in-law, daughters should not go far, construct a toilet in your house.” In the process, the campaign endorses, invokes and reinforces the notion that young women and daughters-in-law should be made to wear the veil and prevented from going outdoors to maintain ‘maryada.’ Instead of emphasizing that open defecation harms health of people, especially children, it is more obsessed with suggesting that open defecation harms patriarchy!

The SBA’s assumption that women do not like to go outside the house to defecate is misplaced anyway. The Sanitation Quality Use Access and Trends (or SQUAT) survey 2014 found that many women in fact cherished open defecation because it offered an opportunity to go out of the house: “A young daughter-in-law in Haryana, whose household owns a latrine, explained that: The reason that [I and my sisters-in-law] go outside [to defecate] is that we get to wander a bit…you know, we live cooped up inside.”

Moreover the survey found that it was a myth that open defecation increases the danger of sexual violence, noting that: “Of 1,046 women interviewed by the SQUAT survey, 4.3% told us that while going to defecate, they had been the victim of someone attempting to molest them. Of the same group, 7.6% reported that this had happened to them while going to the market. …The point is that it is not a serious policy response to these facts to suggest that women should stop going to markets.”

Instead of appealing to patriarchy and using patriarchal violence and shaming to deter open defecation, campaigns should aim to raise consciousness about the dangers of open defecation to public health. As the SQUAT survey notes, patriarchal messages “give villagers the impression that latrine use is for women, but the message that the government should be sending is that latrine use is for everyone. Men’s faeces as well as women’s faeces spread germs that make other people sick.”

COERCION AND CONTEMPT FOR THE POOR

The public shaming tactics of the SBA and of other government campaigns too reek of contempt for the poor and expose the attitude of governments towards the poor. The latest example is the Rajasthan Government order instructing local administrations to paint a bright yellow sign on their homes stating “I am poor and I receive food from National Food Security Act” on the homes of BPL families. Like the SBA tactics, such tactics too amount to shaming the poor for their poverty.

In many states, rations are withheld until families construct toilets. Madhya Pradesh enacted a law barring those not having a flush toilet in their homes from contesting in Panchayat elections. Such coercive tactics withholding basic facilities and rights amount to grave human rights violations.

The SBA has neither succeeded in ending open defecation nor has it achieved its other stated goals such as ending manual scavenging. It has not even made any serious effort to ensure the rights and dignity of sanitation workers – instead practices amounting to manual scavenging continue to thrive all over India, tacitly endorsed and enforced by governments.

Bezwada Wilson of the Safai Karmachari Andolan asks, “Why does this government and Modi not make investments in cleaning technology?” and fears that the SBA’s focus on toilet construction minus structural changes to tackle and end manual scavenging will “simply create more unsanitary latrines that will require more manual scavengers to clean them.” (‘Down the Drain: How the Swachh Bharat Mission is heading for failure’, Sagar, 1 May 2017, The Caravan)

WHY DO INDIANS PREFER OPEN DEFECATION?

Understanding the answer to this question is essential if we want to persuade people to make any lasting change in this practice.

The SQUAT survey found that while poverty and resulting lack of land or money for constructing toilets, as well as lack of water for maintenance of toilets are no doubt factors, they are still not the main factors responsible for open defecation in India. Its researchers observe that 70% of rural households in India do not have a toilet or latrine, while “in rural sub-Saharan Africa, where people are, on average, poorer, less educated, and less likely to have access to an improved water source than people in rural India, only about 35% of people defecate in the open without a toilet or latrine. In rural Bangladesh, only 5% of people defecate in the open.” (‘Understanding open defecation in rural India: Untouchability, pollution, and latrine pits,’ EPW January 7, 2017, by Diane Coffey, Aashish Gupta, Payal Hathi, Dean Spears, Nikhil Srivastav, and Sangita Vyas)

 

The survey found that Indians across social sections do not prefer to use the small twin-pit latrines (for which Governments give a Rs 12000 subsidy to rural Indians), even if these are constructed. The reason is that these latrines require periodic manual pit emptying – a practice associated with manual scavenging, associated with Dalits and consequently considered degrading and polluting. Non-Dalits will not empty the pits, and Dalits no longer want to be employed to do such labour. If affordable twin pit latrines are constructed, one of the pits can be allowed to decompose into compost while the other is in use – emptying decomposed waste is not manual scavenging. But it still carries the social stigma associated with degrading labour, and is thus shunned.

People are willing to use the larger and more expensive latrines with septic tanks – or the ones that use bio-digester gas technology to ensure that no residue is left in the pits. Since the Government does not fund such latrines which are relatively more expensive than small-pit latrines, people much prefer open defecation – even considering it to be healthier and more dignified than using small-pit latrines.

To this, add the fact that most poor people have experienced public latrines at bus stops – where they tend to be overflowing with faeces, stinking and lacking in water. Naturally, they tend to associate latrines with dirt and open defecation with fresh air and health – all the more so if their homes or colonies lack proper water, sewage and sanitation facilities.

We must remember here that caste prejudices relating to sanitation are by no means limited to Indians of the underprivileged classes. People who are privileged enough to have flush toilets in their homes also share those prejudices, as displayed in the fact that most of them would not allow workers from oppressed castes who clean their toilets to eat or drink out of their utensils. (‘Survey finds practice of untouchability’, Rukmini S, The Hindu, November 13, 2014).

So, we have to remember that the poor prefer open defecation over small-pit latrines – they would probably not prefer open defecation over fully functional, modern flush latrines. Similarly in urban areas people defecate in the open when the community toilets provided are clogged with faeces and ill-maintained. The big, unspoken question with regard to community toilets and individual pit-latrines alike is – who will clean the toilets. Campaigns like SBA do not address this question because the answer would require them to confront the reality of manual scavenging done by Dalits.

Moreover, we must remember that those who can afford large-pit latrines with septic tanks in villages and flush latrines in towns and cities are those from more privileged classes and dominant castes. It is these relatively more privileged people who tend to be tasked with shaming the poorer and more underprivileged people for defecating in the open.

HOW TO END OPEN DEFECATION: PERSUASION VS COERCION

Internationally, Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is recognized as having achieved results in ending open defecation. CLTS involves educating communities to recognize the health hazards of open defecation, through campaigns that teach people to recognize that through open defecation “we are eating each other’s shit.” People from the communities are then mobilized to persuade others in the community to adopt toilet use. In its spirit CLTS is meant to be persuasive rather than coercive.

In India, CLTS practices have never seriously been adopted except in small pockets. However, it is a fact that even in other countries, CLTS campaigns too have been criticized for using tactics of public shaming and coercion.

It is high time that Indian people rose up against the tactics of vigilantism, public shaming, bullying and sexual harassment unleashed in the name of SBA. We have to recognize that a campaign to end open defecation can succeed only if it is able to convince and persuade people to voluntarily use toilets and shun open defecation. This calls for a multi-pronged approach in which shaming and coercion can have no part.

    • 1) Governments must educate about the health consequences of open defecation. Campaigns must focus on health rather than on notions of social shame, status, or patriarchal culture.

2) Government officials, elected representatives, and so on must lead by example in having, using and popularizing the kind of toilets they expect people to use. Using Amitabh Bachchan who has palatial toilets to shame the poor for open defecation must stop. Let the government officials, MLAs, MPs, etc use twin-pit latrines in their own homes and regularly clean these out themselves to show people that no stigma should be associated with the use and cleaning of such latrines. Such practices would truly be in the spirit of Gandhi who emphasized the need for people to clean their own toilets. And adopting and popularising such practices would be far more meaningful and effective than the photo-ops of politicians posing with brooms as part of SBA.

3) Governments must provide toilets that people are willing to use. This means that the campaigns must engage with people. If Governments find that people are simply not ready to use twin-pit latrines, they must then fund either bio-digester toilets (which are also quite cheap and cost-effective) or latrines with larger pits and septic tanks.

4) Governments must also ensure the availability of water in individual and community toilets alike. They must provide proper facilities for cleaning community toilets in both rural and urban India – facilities that provide the best and safest hygienic equipment for sanitation workers and do not in any way allow manual scavenging.

5) Governments must immediately declare a no-tolerance policy for any kind of naming-and-shaming, public humiliation, bullying, harassment, sexual harassment or coercion in the name of deterring open defecation. Defecation must be recognised as a human need – and people’s right to defecate with dignity, without fear or shame must be recognized as a human right. Any person or public official violating this right must face punishment.
Zafar’s lynching must serve as a wake-up call. No more bullying and coercion in the name of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan! Persuasion not coercion must be the rule for any campaign against open defecation.

 

RAJASTHAN GOVERNMENT’S ATTEMPT TO COVER UP ZAFAR’S LYNCHING

The India Today channel conducted a sting operation

in which BJP leader and municipality Chairman Kamlesh Dosi boasted of releasing selective video clips to suggest that Zafar was the aggressor. The sting also showed doctors in the government hospital giving evasive responses to questions.

Kamlesh Dosi said in the sting operation that he was informed by his municipality officials at 7 am on 16 June that one of the municipality workers was bleeding due to an attack on the workers by Zafar. He said that he immediately instructed the officials to file an FIR against Zafar. He said that it was only after this that he heard that Zafar had fallen ill and needed to be taken to hospital.

But the FIRs filed by Zafar’s family and by the Government against Zafar tell a different story and belie Dosi’s version. The FIR filed by Zafar’s family shows that it was filed at 11.30 am on 16 June 2017, while the one filed by the Government against Zafar is clearly an afterthought, filed at 22.51 pm late at night on 16 June! It is quite obvious that the Government decided to file an FIR against Zafar only when they realized that national media was picking up the story of Zafar’s lynching and they needed to try and protect the accused Municipality Commissioner Ashok Jain and others by painting the victim, Zafar, as the aggressor!

BOX 2

TAKING PHOTOS AND VIDEOS OF WOMEN DEFECATING IS A CRIME

(Here is what Section 354 C of IPC states about voyeurism)

Section 354C IPC: Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation I.— For the purpose of this section, “private act” includes an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy and where the victim’s genitals, posterior or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the victim is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.

Explanation 2.— Where the victim consents to the capture of the images or any act, but not to their dissemination to third persons and where such image or act is disseminated, such dissemination shall be considered an offence under this section.

BOX 3

LET’S SUPPORT ZAFAR’S FAMILY

As you know, CPI(ML) and AICCTU activist Comrade Zafar (55) was lynched to death on 16 June 2017 for defending poor women from attempts by Rajasthan government officials to take photos and videos of them in a state of undress. The women were forced to defecate in the open because the government had refused funds to construct toilets in their colony.

Comrade Zafar is survived by his wife Comrade Rashida, and daughters Rukhsar (who is married) and Sabaz (who is in Class X in high school). Comrade Rashida and even his young daughters are boldly fighting for justice. Comrade Rashida has refused a cheque of Rs 2 lakh as ‘compensation’ from the government officials who are covering up Zafar’s lynching and are using various threats to get Rashida to withdraw her police complaint. She is determined not to be silenced by such offers, and is demanding justice instead.

We appeal to you to contribute generously to Comrade Rashida to help her support herself and her family. Contributions can be sent directly to Comrade Rashida’s bank account:

Name- Rasida Bee w/o Zafar Khan

A/c No- 42310100020101

Name of Bank- Baroda Rajasthan Kshetriya Grameen Bank

Branch- Pratapgarh

IFSC Code – BARB0BRGBXX

The article orginally appeared http://cpiml.org/liberation/july-2017

Related posts

 Jaitapur says a Resounding ‘Nako’ (No!) to French Nuclear Project

Thousands of men, women, and children from the farming, agro-trading, and fishing communities of Jaitapur in India’s picturesque Ratnagiri District in Maharashtra, today courted arrest en-masse, after a march from Sakhri Nate to Madban village – the site of the upcoming Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park (slated to be the world’s largest such nuclear power facility) – in the presence of heavily-armed state police personnel.

Sunday’s massive and entirely peaceful protest against the setting up of the Nuclear Power Plant in this ecologically-rich but fragile zone, is of a piece with several such protests and jail-bharo campaigns which have been organized by these local communities in previous years.

Speaking to DiaNuke.org, Satyajit Chavan, young leader of the local community’s protest group Jan Hakka Seva Samiti said – “it is shocking that the police used drones, hovering over the entire route of the demonstration and over our protest meeting, for the first time in our thoroughly peaceful protest that has been ongoing for years now. It is clearly a way for the state to project its power and intimidate people’s struggles. It is unfortunate that the right of collective and democratic movement enshrined in our constitution is being undermined so brazenly.” Satyajit also emphatically added that the protest in Jaitapur has been organised spontaneously by local people, and is not funded or co-ordinated by any political party.

 

“The banner of Jan Hakka Seva Samiti under which people assembled and registered their protest today is totally non-political. However, the media that had come to cover the protests interviewed only some leaders of political parties who just came their to show solidarity. In the past the media has used such occasions to portray the entire protest being anchored by Shiv Sena and other political groups, which is completely far from the reality”, Satyajit Chavan said. He is also a key leader of the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements(NAAM), a country-wide network of grassroots anti-nuke movements in India.

A solidarity letter sent by activists from France was read out at the protest in Jaitapur today, which highlighted the common struggle against nuclear lobbies dangerous profiteering:

“Far and close friends of the international anti-nuclear family !

You are not alone ! From various countries we watch carefully what is happening in Jaitapur, India.

Here from France we are impressed by your courageous actions that we totally support.
Here from France we spread the news on what you do (in French and in English for other international networks).

Here too, the central government is acting against the will of its own people and violating their basic right for a sane life at home.

Here too, there are many people wishing and working actively for the final death of the devil Areva.

Here too, this devil Areva is surviving until today only because the central government, without the agreement of the people, is giving to it non-stop billions of Euros coming directly from the tax-payers pockets.

Like yourself, as world citizens, we reclaim respect and justice for people and Nature as a first condition for a livable and even better world.

With full and renewable solidarity!”


More details about the protest and objections by the local community can be read here.

Photos courtesy: Fakir Mohammad Solkar

 dianuke.org

Related posts

Indian opposition calls for investigation into Adani over financial fraud allegations

Protesters at a<span class= #StopAdani demonstration in Australia." />

The Guardian has published pages from a customs intelligence notice alleging the company has shifted huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts

India’s main opposition party has called for a fresh, supreme court-monitored probe into allegations mining giant the Adani Group fraudulently siphoned nearly $235m into overseas tax havens.

This week the Guardian published Indian customs intelligence documentsalleging Adani Group inflated invoices on an electricity project in India to shift huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts.

The Indian conglomerate is hoping to secure a $700m (A$900m) Australian government loan to develop one the world’s largest coal mines in Queensland.

The documents, compiled in 2014 by India’s directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI), accuse Adani Group of ordering hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment for an electricity project in Maharashtra state using a front company in Dubai.

Read the pdf here.

The Dubai company allegedly sold the exact same equipment back to Adani Group-controlled businesses in India at massively inflated prices, in some instances said to be eight times the sale price.

Advertisement

According to the allegations in the file, the effect of these transactions was that Adani Group spent an average 400% more for the materials. That money was allegedly paid to a company Indian authorities allege was owned through a series of shell companies leading to a Mauritius trust controlled by Vinod Adani.

If true, one effect of the alleged scheme would have been to move vast sums of money from Adani Group’s domestic accounts into offshore bank accounts where it could no longer be taxed or accounted for.

Because tariffs for using electricity transmission networks are determined partly by what they cost to build, if the DRI’s accusations are correct, the overvaluation of capital goods would have been likely to have led to higher power prices for Indian consumers.

Adani Group and Vinod Adani fully deny the accusations, which they say are awaiting adjudication before an Indian financial crime authority.

India’s opposition Congress party on Friday called for an immediate probe into the allegations by the central bureau of investigation, a federal crime-fighting agency, monitored by a judge from the country’s supreme court.

It said if the DRI’s allegations were correct, the over-invoicing would have lead to “grossly inflated prices for the public”.

A petition based on reporting by the Guardian and others would be filed with the national power regulator, asking it to investigate every other private electricity company for alleged over-pricing of equipment, the statement added.

Congress said it had initiated the investigation into alleged over-invoicing during its last term in government in 2013. It said the Adani Group case had been “languishing in protracted legal proceedings since the Bharatiya Janata party came to power in the centre and the state”.

It accused Narendra Modi’s government of deciding to “go slow” on the investigation. “At worst, [it has] sought to wilfully delay the outcome of these investigations as it involves parties perceived in the public eye to be uncomfortably close to its leadership,” the statement said.

In a separate case last year, six Adani subsidiaries were listed among 40 other companies being investigated for allegedly running a similar price-inflation scheme. The companies are accused of inflating the price of coal imports from Indonesia to hide profits in overseas tax havens.

The DRI and other agencies declined to comment on either investigation.

The proposed Queensland mine, which would be Australia’s largest, has been the source of years of controversy, lawsuits and protests over its possible environmental impact.

Expanding the coal port to accommodate the mine will require dredging an estimated 1.1m cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Coal from the mine will also produce annual emissions equivalent to those of Malaysia or Austria according to one study.

Adani Group has said in a statement to the Guardian on behalf of itself, its subsidiaries and Vinod Adani that it “strongly denies the allegations of overvaluation”.

“It is a standard procedure for the group to follow international competitive bidding route for major capital expenditures to ensure transparency and competitiveness in the process. All our transactions are always conducted within the framework of extant regulatory guidelines and provisions,” it has said.

“The fact that our projects have incurred the lowest cost across central, state and private utility players has gone to establish the robustness of the processes followed by our group.

“It may be noted that Mr Vinod Adani who is the elder brother of Mr Gautam Adani has been a non-resident Indian for about 30 years and has his own established business interests outside India.

“Adani Group is aware of the investigations being conducted by the DRI, and has fully cooperated, and shall continue to cooperate with the investigating agencies.”https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/20/indian-opposition-calls-for-investigation-into-adani-over-financial-allegations

Related posts

India – Massive Protest This Weekend Against World’s Largest Nuclear Plant Under Construction in Jaitapur

Poster in Marathi for the upcoming protest on August 20, 2017: Jail Bharo (voluntary arrest)

In Jaitapur, 6 EPR-design nuclear reactors imported from France, are being set up in brazen violation of safety, environmental and seismic regulatory norms besides being undemocratically imposed on the local communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on the fragile ecology that is threatened to be destroyed. The local communities, including farmers, fisherfolk, agro-traders, women and children have been opposing what would be world’s biggest nuclear power park – with a total capacity of 9,900MWs – if it comes through. Apart from grassroots opposition, negotiations on the cost of the reactors, liability in case of potential accidents and terminal crisis of French nuclear industry itself has slowed down the project which has been in offing since 2008.

This Sunday, people in the area are going to stage massive ‘jail bharo’ protest against the nuclear project in their area. Speaking to DiaNuke.org, local activist Fakir Mohammad Solkar said that between 1500 to 2000 people are expected to participate in the protest and their primary demand is that the nuclear project must be entirely scrapped. Sachin Chavan, another key activist, added that this project threatens the entire Konkan region which is demarcated as ecologically fragile and a biodiversity hotspot. While France itself is scaling back its nuclear production and its nuclear industry is facing bankruptcy, the lives of common Indian people are put at stake for this dangerous reactor as if they are guinea pigs.

Answering to why did the farmers gave away their land for the project, Sachin Chavan quipped – “see, the land was forcibly acquired from the farmers they did not give it willingly. They put up a strong fight for years but eventually the govt’s stick and carrot policy worked. One young person from Sakhri Nate was even killed during protests in 2011 by indiscriminate police firing. The farmers continue to protest and last year 13 village panchayats – elected local governance bodies – passed unanimous statements against the project.” The reports of National Oceanography of India says that the project would irreversibly harm the entire coast from Maharashtra until Goa, he added.

Satyajit Chavan, leader of the Janhit Seva Samiti which is the key local organisation, asserts – “Modi govt has canceled Westinghouse project in Gujarat and recognised the environmental and safety risks it posed. Now our demand is that it must cancel the Jaitapur project as well, at the earliest. Until that happens, we will keep protesting and our agitation will only grow stronger. This week, the French regulator ASN made fresh revelations about the vulnerabilities of components used in EDF. A detailed report on the unacceptable risks of this project can be read here.

Here are some pictures from a similar Jail Bharo(court voluntary arrest) movement in Jaitapur in 2015.

Related posts

Brazilian supreme court upholds land rights of indigenous people #Goodnews

Land rights activists applaud rejection of case brought by Brazilian state that claimed it was due compensation for award of territory to native inhabitants

The Brazilian supreme court has ruled in favour of two tribes in a case that is being hailed as a significant victory for indigenous land rights.

The unanimous decision – which went against the state of Mato Grosso do Sul – settled a dispute over land traditionally occupied by indigenous people and ordered the authorities to respect the demarcation of land.

Amid increasing conflict over land and diminishing rights for indigenous people in the country, the south-western Brazilian state had sought compensation of about 2bn reais (£493m) from the Brazilian government after land was declared as the territory of the Nambikwara and Pareci tribes.

A third case, involving Rio Grande do Sul state, was adjourned for 15 days.

“This is an important step towards achieving justice for indigenous people in Brazil,” said Tonico Benites, a Guarani leader. “This gives us hope the judiciary will protect our rights, which are guaranteed by the constitution and international law.”

Activists had feared judges would uphold a recommendation from the attorney general’s office that any tribe not occupying its ancestral land when Brazil’s new constitution came into force on 5 October 1988 would lose its right to live there – a time limit that had been called the worst blow to indigenous rights since the military dictatorship ended in 1985.

 

But Sarah Shenker, a campaigner with Survival International, said feelings were running high in Brazil against indigenous rights: “If the judges apply the same thinking in the third ruling, in theory [indigenous] land rights should be protected. But there is such a strong anti-indigenous campaign in Brazil at the moment that we have to be very careful.”

Benites said indigenous leaders would now work to overturn the 1988 cut-off date – a plan signed by President Michel Temer last month and which critics claim is to win favour with the powerful agribusiness lobby, known as the ruralistas.

The deadline would not only halt new demarcations of indigenous land but also legitimise claims by ranchers and wealthy farmers who have long coveted Indian territories.

“It is a very cynical move,” said Juliana de Paula Batista, a lawyer working with the Socio-environmental Institute in Brasilia. “Since many indigenous people were violently expelled from their ancestral land in the colonial and military eras, they could not possibly have been living on this land in 1988.”

Campaigners have claimed Temer is using land rights as a bargaining chip to shore up his unpopular government.

Luiz Henrique Eloy Amado, a lawyer for Brazil’s Association of Indigenous Peoples (Apib), said: “The Temer government wants to remain at all costs, which requires the votes of the ruralista bloc.”

The attorney general’s recommendation of a time limit was greeted as a triumph in a video by ruralista federal deputy Luiz Carlos Heinze, potentially resulting in the dismissal of 90% of ongoing indigenous land claims. Hundreds of indigenous territories around Brazil are awaiting demarcation.

The Guarani-Kaiowás occupy only a fraction of their ancestral territories in Mato Grosso do Sul and their decades-long struggle has caused violent conflict with cattle ranchers and soy and sugar cane farmers.

Fiona Watson, director of campaigns for Survival International, estimated that 45,000 Guarani-Kaiowás would lose rights to land under the proposed cut-off point, as would other tribes across the south and north-east.

The 1988 deadline, the marco temporal, has triggered major protests across Brazil, organised by the Apib under the banner: “Our history did not start in 1988, no to the time limit”. Hundreds of people converged on Brasilia for the supreme court ruling on Wednesday.

Last week, 48 indigenous organisations and civil society bodies signed a letter to the UN high commissioner for human rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, denouncing violations since the 2016 visit of UN special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpus, who noted a “worrying regression in the protection of indigenous people’s rights”.

Brazil has experienced a rise in homicides related to rural land disputes, with 37 people killed in the first five months of this year, eight more than died over the same period in 2016, according to the Pastoral Land Commission, a non-profit group.

Eliseu Lopes, a Guarani leader from Mato Grosso do Sul, expressed relief at the outcome: “The land conflict is already killing us. Imagine what it would be like if the proposal were approved,” he said. “It would legitimise the violence against us. The vote doesn’t solve all our problems, but it gives us some breathing space.”

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/aug/17/brazilian-supreme-court-upholds-land-rights-indigenous-people-mato-grosso-do-sul

Related posts

The Myth of an Incorruptible Mr Narendra Modi

Despite both circumstantial and directly incriminating evidence of corruption and cronyism, the myth of Incorruptible Mr Modi, of “Na Khaunga aur Na Khaane Doonga” fame, has been built on fake news and suppression of investigations.

The arrival of a fake messiah

1.
17 “scams” that Narendra Modi doesn’t want Lok Ayukta to probe | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis. 2011. dna. August 27. [Source]
2.
Is ONGC under Pressure to Bail Out Debt-ridden Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation? : GSPC: A Controversial Case Study. 2016. Economic and Political Weekly. July 21. [Source]
3.
ONGC to pay over $1.2 billion for GSPC stake buy. 2017. The Economic Timeshttp://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/ongc-to-pay-over-1-2-billion-for-gspc-stake-buy/articleshow/56167825.cms. Accessed July 23.
4.
Ex-Gujarat ministers Dilip Sanghani and Purushottam Solanki in fishing contract scam. 2017. India Todayhttp://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ex-gujarat-ministers-in-fishing-contract-scam/1/365097.html. Accessed July 24.
5.
Johari, Aarefa. 2017. How some Gujarat schools are defying Supreme Court ruling on mid-day meals. Scroll.in. July 14. [Source]
6.
Sujalam Sufalam Yojana rice scam: probe moves at snail’s pace. 2009. The Indian Express. June 4. [Source]
7.
Swan Energy may exit Gujarat project – Livemint. 2017. Liveminthttp://www.livemint.com/Companies/LizatOLOYzla3CRHvBaDwI/Swan-Energy-may-exit-Gujarat-project.html. Accessed July 24.
8.
Rs. 580-cr. loss as Modi govt. favoured corporates: CAG. 2017. The Hinduhttp://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/rs-580cr-loss-as-modi-govt-favoured-corporates-cag/article4579002.ece. Accessed July 23.
9.
Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel daughter’s partners got 422 acres land at 92% discount. 2017. The Economic Timeshttp://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/gujarat-cm-anandiben-patel-daughters-partners-got-422-acres-land-at-92-discount/articleshow/51216459.cms. Accessed July 23.
10.
One more land scam. 2017. Tribune Indiahttp://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/one-more-land-scam/193243.html. Accessed July 25.
11.
Bahree, Megha. 2014. Doing Big Business In Modi’s Gujarat. Forbes. March 12. [Source]
13.
Tata Nano plant got Rs 456-crore loan from Gujarat government. 2017. The Economic Timeshttp://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/auto/news/passenger-vehicle/cars/tata-nano-plant-got-rs-456-crore-loan-from-gujarat-government/articleshow/46624499.cms. Accessed July 24.
14.
Reporter, BS. 2011. Govt favoured Indigold in land sale: Gohil. Business Standard. April 26. [Source]
15.
Kheduts to move SC over land deal | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis. 2009. dna. March 5. [Source]
16.
Gujarat finally gets a Lokayukta | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis. 2013. dna. November 30. [Source]
17.
Balan & Kalpesh Damor, Premal. 2014. Adani Group got land at cheapest rates in Modi’s Gujarat. Business Standard. April 26. [Source]
18.
‘Final negotiation for allotting 88 acres to SWAC on’. 2009. The Indian Express. September 25. [Source]
19.
Adani group races full steam ahead, casts a wider net. 2017. The Hinduhttp://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2001/10/17/stories/021718ad.htm. Accessed July 24.
20.
The Emperor Uncrowned. 2012. The Caravan. March 29. [Source]
21.
guha thakurta, paranjoy. 2017. The Incredible Rise and Rise of Gautam Adani: Part One. The Citizenhttp://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/1/3375/The-Incredible-Rise-and-Rise-of-Gautam-Adani-Part-One. Accessed July 24.
22.
Guha Thakurta, Advait Rao Palepu and Shinzani Jain, Paranjoy. 2017. Did the Adani Group Evade Rs 1,000 Crore in Taxes? The Wire. January 14. [Source]
23.
Guha Thakurta, Advait Rao Palepu, Shinzani Jain and Abir Dasgupta, Paranjoy. 2017. Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group. The Wire. June 19.[Source]
24.
Fleet of 3 aircraft ensures Modi is home every night after day’s campaigning – Times of India. 2017. The Times of Indiahttp://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/Fleet-of-3-aircraft-ensures-Modi-is-home-every-night-after-days-campaigning/articleshow/34069525.cms. Accessed July 24.
25.
Power Tariff Scam Gets Bigger at Rs 50,000 crore : Did Adani and Essar Group Over-Invoice Power Plant Equipment? 2016. Economic and Political Weekly. May 16. [Source]
26.
Report, Bloomberg. 2012. ED probes Adani Ports on possible money laundering. Business Standard. March 10. [Source]
27.
Reporter, BS. 2011. ED files complaint against Adani FIRM. Business Standard. January 18. [Source]
28.
Joseph, Josy. 2016. Modi, Adani and Black Money. Where’s the Investigation Going? The Wire. August 13. [Source]
29.
Why is India’s most decorated revenue officer JP Singh being hounded? | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis. 2015. dna. October 10. [Source]
30.
Customs boss who exposed 5500 cr scam against Adani Group shunted; another officer “fixed” in bribery scandal. 2017. IndiaSamvadhttp://www.indiasamvad.co.in/investigation/customs-boss-who-exposed-5500-cr-scam-against-adani-group-shunted-another-officer-%E2%80%98fixed%E2%80%99-in-bribery-scandal-7365. Accessed July 24.
31.
Sahi, Ajit. 2013. The case (that wasn’t) against Lalu Yadav. Tehelka. November 16.[Source]
32.
Did Modi receive over Rs 55 crore from the Sahara Group as the chief minister of Gujarat? 2016. The Caravan. November 18. [Source]
33.
Simha, Vijay. 2017. Birla-Sahara case: Only an investigation can settle the unanswered questions. Scroll.in. July 14. [Source]
Source- https://saafbaat.com/politics/myth-incorruptible-mr-modi

Related posts

गिरफ़्तारी के 10 वें दिन भी मेधा पाटकर, विजय, शंटू और धुरजी भाई को रिहा ना करने से बढ़ रहा है घाटी के लोगों में आक्रोश

नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं और विस्थापितों को झूठे आरोपों में फंसाकर गिरफ्तार करने का पुलिस प्रशासन का सिलसिला जारी, भय और  आतंक  फैलाना चाहती है सरकार

 

नर्मदा घाटी में मध्य प्रदेश सरकार की दमकारी नीतियों के विरोध में आज मनावर, कुक्षी, सोंदुल पट्टी और बड़वानी   में आयोजित की गयी बैठकें, आन्दोलन को और अधिक मजबूती से खड़ा करने का लिया गया संकल्प

 

बिना सम्पूर्ण पुनर्वास हटना विस्थापितों को है नामंजूर, अपने अधिकारों की लड़ाई में कोई समझौता नहीं करेंगे सरदार सरोवर बांध प्रभावित

 

गिरफ़्तारी के 10 वें दिन भी  मेधा पाटकर, विजय, शंटू और धुरजी  भाई को  रिहा ना करने से  बढ़ रहा है घाटी के लोगों में आक्रोश

 

धार, मध्य प्रदेश ||18 अगस्त 2017::  नर्मदा घाटी में हो रहे प्रशासनिक दमन और पुलिस  बर्बरता के खिलाफ नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं तथा घाटी के विस्थापितों के द्वारा आज कुक्षी, मनावर तहसील, आदिवासी क्षेत्र  सोंदुल पट्टी, तथा बड़वानी जिले के सैकड़ों गांवों में बैठकें आयोजित की गयी जिसमें हजारों विस्थापित उपस्थित थे । पुलिस प्रशासन सरदार सरोवर विस्थापितों पर झूठे मुकदमें लगाकर उन्हें गिरफ्तार कर रही है ताकि आन्दोलन कमजोर पड़ जाए और सरकार अपनी मनमानी कर सके, सम्पूर्ण पुनर्वास तथा बिना मूलभूत सुविधाओं के अपने मूल गाँव खाली करने के लिए लोगों पर  दबाव बनाया जा  रहा है । मुख्य कार्यकर्ताओं और प्रमुख लोगों को कानूनी मामलों में उलझाकर, जेल में बंद करके सरकार लोगों में भय पैदा कर उन्हें पुनर्वास स्थलों को तैयार किये बिना , गाँव छोड़ने को मजबूर करने पर अमादा है ।  लेकिन नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन इस तानाशाही से डरने की बजाय और मजबूती के साथ सामने आ रहा है, लोगों में सरकार के प्रति आक्रोश और अपने अधिकारों के प्रति प्रतिबद्धता बढ़ रही  है और अभी भी घाटी में “बिना पुनर्वास हटेंगे नहीं” नारे सुनाई दे रहे हैं।

7 अगस्त को चिखल्दा गाँव में पुलिस द्वारा शांतिपूर्ण अनशन को बलप्रयोग द्वारा जबरन तोड़कर अनशनकारियों को गिरफ्तार करने से शुरू हुआ यह भय/आतंक  फ़ैलाने का सिलसिला अभी भी जारी है।  विजय, शंटू, धुरजी भाई को गिरफ़्तारी के 10 वें दिन तथा मेधा पाटकर को 12 वें दिन भी रिहा नहीं किया गया है। 307 (हत्या की कोशिश का मामला) तथा 365(अपहरण ) जैसे गंभीर आरोपों में  शांतिपूर्ण आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं को फसाकर सरकार जबरन गाँव खाली कराने की पूरी तैयारी में हैं लेकिन वहीँ विस्थापित भी अपनी सम्पूर्ण पुनर्वास की मांग को लेकर डटे हैं, इसको लेकर नर्मदा घाटी में लगातार विरोध प्रदर्शन हो रहे हैं।  कल नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के 80 कार्यकर्ताओं को बिना किसी शर्त कोर्ट द्वारा बरी कर दिया गया जिन पर  पुलिस द्वारा झूठे आरोप लगाए गए थे  परन्तु अभी भी हजारों अज्ञात लोगों पर मुकदमे लगाए गए हैं ।  बिना किसी अपराध के लोगों के साथ अपराधियों  जैसा व्यवहार किया जा रहा है, अहिंसक लोगों पर हिंसा बरपायी जा रही है, वह हरसंभव प्रयास किये जा रहे हैं जिससे आन्दोलन को समाप्त किया जा सके, लोगों की आवाजों को दबाया जा सके और हर उस संघर्ष को ख़त्म किया जा सके जो सरकार के भ्रष्टाचार, अलोकतांत्रिक, असंवैधानिक और अन्यायपूर्ण नीतियों का को उजागर  करता है   ।    

गाँव- गाँव की बैठकों में लोगों में सरकार के प्रति प्रत्यक्ष आक्रोश नजर आया । विस्थापितों ने सरकार को चुनौती देते हुए कहा कि सरकार आन्दोलनकारियों और मेधा  पाटकर को गिरफ्तार कर बिलकुल भी ये ना समझे कि नर्मदा घाटी के लोग डर गए हैं, बल्कि हम इस अराजकता के खिलाफ और अधिक सामर्थ्य और संख्या में खड़े हैं, गाँव वालों ने कहा कि मेधा पाटकर हर उस विस्थापित (मजदूर, किसान, कुम्हार, मछुआरा,  आदिवासी) के घर में बसती है जिसको सरकार उजाड़ने पर आतुर है और पुलिस प्रशासन जितने लोगों को झूठे मुकदमे लगाकर गिरफ्तार करेगी, हम उससे अधिक संख्या में गिरफ़्तारी देने आयेंगे और प्रशासन के जेलों में भी इतनी जगह नहीं बचेगी जितना हम में साहस बचा है ।

मध्य प्रदेश सरकार की अराजकता इस कदर बढ़ गयी कि आज उन्ही की पार्टी (भारतीय जनता पार्टी) के कड़माल तहसील कुक्षी जिला धार के अध्यक्ष तथा उपाध्यक्ष सहित  30 से अधिक कार्यकर्ताओं ने  पार्टी को अपना त्यागपत्र दे दिया। त्यागपत्र में स्पष्ट रूप से लिखा गया है कि इस सरकार  से हमारा भरोसा उठ गया है और जो सरकार अपने पुनर्वास के लिए लडाई लड़ रही की महिलाओं के साथ अभद्र व्यवहार करे, कार्यकर्ताओं तथा आन्दोलन की नेत्री मेधा पाटकर को झूठे आरोपों में फंसाकर जेल में रखे और 32 साल के संघर्ष के बाद भी पुनर्वास करने की बजाय हिंसक प्रवृति अपनाये, हम ऐसी पार्टी का हिस्सा नहीं रहना चाहते ।

 

इसी के साथ देशभर से नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं और मेधा पाटकर की गिरफ़्तारी के विरोध में कार्यक्रम किये जा रहे हैं इसी कड़ी में आज उज्जैन में धरना प्रदर्शन किया गया ।

तमिलनाडु में ग्रीन तमिलनाडु पार्टी द्वारा  मेधा पाटकर तथा  विस्थापित और नर्मदा  बचाओ आन्दोलन के प्रमुख साथी शंटू, विजय और धुरजी भाई  की अन्यायपूर्ण गिरफ़्तारी की कड़ी निंदा और विरोध व्यक्त करते हुए  प्रेस कांफ्रेंस का आयोजन किया गया।  कांफ्रेंस को पार्टी के नेता  और  परमाणु उर्जा विरोधी  एक्टिविस्ट एस पी उदयकुमार, MMK नेता और पूर्व विधायक प्रोफ. जहावरुल्ला, तमिझा वाल्वुरिमई नेता वेलमुरुगन, SDPI नेता तेहलान पकावी, दलित पैंथर उप जनरल सेक्रेटरी वान्नी अरासु, पूवुलागिन नन्बार्गल, जी सुनंदिराजन और जन आंदोलनों का  राष्ट्रीय समन्वय से डॉ. गब्रिएले, गीता रामकृष्णा और  अरुल डॉस द्वारा संबोधित किया गया । कांफ्रेंस में मेधा पाटकर तथा जेल में बंद अन्य साथियों की तुरंत बिना शर्त  रिहाई, विस्थापितों के लिए  अधिकृत मुआवजे तथा पूर्ण पुनर्वास की मांग की गयी । ग्रीन तमिलनाडु पार्टी द्वारा  तमिलनाडु में नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के संघर्ष के समर्थन में कार्यक्रम करने की भी बात की ।

कल रतलाम, मंदसौर, नीमच द्वाबरा तथा भोपाल में भी मध्य प्रदेश सरकार द्वारा अपनाये गए हिंसक और दमनकारी कार्यवाही के खिलाफ और लोकहितों की रक्षा में प्रदर्शन होंगे ।

 

कमला यादव. देवराम कनेरा, भागीरथ धनगर, रोहित ठाकुर, राहुल यादव, सनोवर बी, भगवती बाई, अमूल्य निधि, सरस्वती बहन, मंजुला बाई, पुष्पा बाई, कैलाश अवास्या

 

संपर्क – 91796175139867348307

 

Related posts

Adani mining giant faces financial fraud claims as it bids for Australian coal loan

 

Men wearing masks of Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Adani chairman Gautam Adani protest outside Parliament House in Canberra.

Exclusive: Allegations by Indian customs of huge sums being siphoned off to tax havens from projects are contained in legal documents but denied by company

A global mining giant seeking public funds to develop one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia has been accused of fraudulently siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money into overseas tax havens.

Indian conglomerate the Adani Group is expecting a legal decision in the “near future” in connection with allegations it inflated invoices for an electricity project in India to shift huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts.

Details of the alleged 15bn rupee (US$235m) fraud are contained in an Indian customs intelligence notice obtained by the Guardian, excerpts of which are published for the first time here.

The directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) file, compiled in 2014, maps out a complex money trail from India through South Korea and Dubai, and eventually to an offshore company in Mauritius allegedly controlled by Vinod Shantilal Adani, the older brother of the billionaire Adani Group chief executive, Gautam Adani.

Vinod Adani is the director of four companies proposing to build a railway line and expand a coal port attached to Queensland’s vast Carmichael mine project.

The proposed mine, which would be Australia’s largest, has been the source of years of intense controversy, legal challenges and protests over its possible environmental impact.

Abbot Point, surrounded by wetlands and coral reefs, is set to become the world’s largest coal port should the proposed Adani expansion go ahead.
 Abbot Point, surrounded by wetlands and coral reefs, is set to become the world’s largest coal port should the proposed Adani expansion go ahead. Photograph: Tom Jefferson / Greenpeace

Expanding the coal port to accommodate the mine will require dredging an estimated 1.1m cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Coal from the mine will also produce annual emissions equivalent to those of Malaysia or Austria according to one study.

One of the few remaining hurdles for the Adani Group is to raise finance to build the mine as well as a railway line to transport coal from the site to a port at Abbot Point on the Queensland coast.

To finance the railway Adani hopes to persuade the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif), an Australian government-backed investment fund, to loan the Adani Group or a related entity about US$700m (A$900m) in public money.

While it awaits the decision on the loan, in Delhi the company is also expecting the judgment of a legal authority appointed under Indian financial crime laws in connection to allegations it siphoned borrowed money overseas.

The Adani Group fully denies the accusations, which it has challenged in submissions to the authority.

The investigation

News of the investigation was first reported in India three years ago, but the full customs intelligence document reveals forensic details of the workings of the alleged fraud which have not been publicly revealed.

The 97-page file accuses the Adani Group of ordering hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment for an electricity project in western India’s Maharashtra state using a front company in Dubai.

To read the pdf click here.

The Dubai company allegedly sold the exact same equipment back to Adani Group-controlled businesses in India at massively inflated prices, in some instances said to be eight times the sale price.

According to the allegations in the file, the effect of these transactions was that the Adani Group spent an average 400% more for the materials. That money was allegedly paid to a company Indian authorities allege was owned through a series of shell companies leading to a Mauritius trust controlled by Vinod Adani.

If true, one effect of the alleged scheme would have been to move vast sums of money from the Adani Group’s domestic accounts into offshore bank accounts where it could no longer be taxed or accounted for.

Because tariffs for using electricity transmission networks are determined partly by what they cost to build, if the DRI’s accusations are correct, the overvaluation of capital goods would have been likely to have led to higher power prices for Indian consumers.

Adani Power company thermal power plant at Mundra, India.
 Adani Power company thermal power plant at Mundra, India. Photograph: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

A significant proportion of the money the Adani Group allegedly siphoned out of India was provided by taxpayers in the form of loans from the publicly-owned State Bank of India and ICICI, a private bank. There is no suggestion either bank was aware of or involved in any illegal activity.

‘We are cooperating with investigating agencies’

The Adani Group said in a statement to the Guardian on behalf of itself, its subsidiaries, and Vinod Adani that it “strongly denies the allegations of overvaluation”.

“It is a standard procedure for the group to follow international competitive bidding route for major capital expenditures to ensure transparency and competitiveness in the process. All our transactions are always conducted within the framework of extant regulatory guidelines and provisions,” it said.

“The fact that our projects have incurred the lowest cost across central, state and private utility players has gone to establish the robustness of the processes followed by our group.

“It may be noted that Mr Vinod Adani who is the elder brother of Mr Gautam Adani has been a non-resident Indian for about 30 years and has his own established business interests outside India,” the statement said.

“Adani Group is aware of the investigations being conducted by the DRI, and has fully cooperated, and shall continue to cooperate with the investigating agencies.”

The Australian loan

The Adani Group, or a linked entity, has reportedly been granted “conditional approval” for the US$700m (AU$900m) concessional loan from Naif, the Australian government investment fund.

But due to secrecy around the operation of the investment fund, it is not clear whether the loan application discloses the existence of the DRI notice or the ongoing legal proceedings, or whether the applicant is required to do so under the Naif’s anti-money laundering provisions.

Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani meets with Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2016.
 Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani meets with Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2016. Photograph: Cameron Laird/AAP

Adani Group did not clarify whether it had informed Naif about the allegations when asked by the Guardian.

Naif’s investment mandate includes a clause preventing it from “act[ing] in a way that is likely to cause damage to the commonwealth government’s reputation, or that of a relevant state or territory government”.

Vinod Adani is currently listed as the sole director of four Singapore-based companies which, through their Australian subsidiaries, are proposing to build the railway line using the government loan. The companies also control a project to expand the Abbot Point port.

All four entities are ultimately owned by Atulya Resources Limited, an Adani-controlled company in the Cayman Islands.

Status of the Indian investigation

The Guardian understands the allegations of over-invoicing have been passed from the DRI to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), an Indian agency tasked with investigating financial crimes.

The Adani Group says the case is currently before a legal authority, the Adjudicating Authority, indicating that Indian officials are pressing either to seize assets they regard as being connected to money laundering or to levy a fine up to three times the sum allegedly siphoned overseas.

The company declined requests to clarify what if any penalty the authorities are seeking, but a spokesman said a decision was expected shortly. “We follow the process of corporate governance and comply with the applicable laws,” he said.

“All our transactions are always conducted within the framework of law. We have already submitted our detailed reply. Adjudication process on the subject is going on and we expect the order in near future.”

The Guardian is publishing excerpts from the DRI file in the interests of ensuring Naif, as well as the public, have access to as much relevant information as possible in assessing whether Adani or linked companies would be suitable recipients of public money.

In a separate case last year, six Adani subsidiaries were listed among 40 other companies being investigated for allegedly running a similar price-inflation scheme. The companies are accused of inflating the price of coal imports from Indonesia to hide profits in overseas tax havens.

The DRI and the ED did not respond to a request to clarify the status of the investigations.

The alleged money trail

India is electricity-starved. More than 240 million Indians – enough people to form the fifth-largest country on Earth – lack access to regular power.

In the early 1990s, to encourage power companies to build electrical infrastructure, the Indian government eliminated import tariffs on technical equipment such as reactors and transformers. Profit margins on these projects increased overnight.

Adani saw the business opportunity. In 2010, the Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company Limited (MEGPTCL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, was granted a license to develop two electricity transmission networks in the north-east of the state.

The company used another Adani subsidiary, PMC Projects, to source the equipment it would need to build the networks. In turn, PMC, subcontracted the work to a company in Dubai.

According to the investigators’ report, bank records suggest that that company, Electrogen Infra FZE (EIF), charged significant – and to Indian authorities, suspicious – markups on the equipment it sold to PMC.

In one of the 57 invoices cited in the report, EIF is alleged to have ordered equipment from Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. Bank records allegedly show the company paid Hyundai about US$65m.

According to the DRI, it sold the same equipment to PMC for about US$260m – a mark-up of nearly 400%.

Extract from page 14-15
 Extract from page 14-15 of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence file on Adani Group. Photograph: The Guardian

“[This] appears to be an abnormal and gross inflation, contrary to ordinary economic logic and prudence,” investigators concluded.

In total, the report alleges EIF made about 26 orders from Hyundai Heavy Industries and sold them onto PMC for an average mark-up of more than 400%, making a profit margin of US$189m.

There is no suggestion Hyundai Heavy Industries or any other supplier was aware of or involved in any illegality.

Extract page 19-20 section 4.1.16
 Extract page 19-20 of the DRI file, section 4.1.16. Photograph: The Guardian

EIF allegedly purchased another 25 shipments of equipment from three companies in China. According to the report, these were sold to the Adani Group for an average markup of about 860%.

Investigators calculated the total assessable value of the allegedly marked-up invoices to be nearly 15bn rupees.

Extract from page 78-79 section 15.4
 Extract from page 78-79 of the DRI file, section 15.4. Photograph: The Guardian

“Given the scale and extent of invoice inflation, it is apparent that it [was done] with fraudulent intent of siphoning money from India,” the DRI said.

Who controls the companies?

Key to the alleged fraud, according to investigators, is that EIF, the company subcontracted to purchase the equipment from manufacturers in South Korea and China, was directly controlled by the Adani Group and its associates.

Investigators claim EIF was partly staffed by ex-Adani Group employees who had recently left the company.

According to a letter from the company to an Indian bank that is cited in the notice, EIF was owned by another company called Electrogen Infra Holding Pvt Ltd (EIH). The trail of ownership eventually leads to a trust based in Mauritius – headed by Vinod Adani.

Extract from page 21-22 section 4.2.3
 Extract from page 21-22 of the DRI file, section 4.2.3. Photograph: The Guardian

Investigators concluded: “From the above information given to the bank by EIF, it appears that Vinod Adani had a direct control over the activities of EIF through the Asankhya Resources Family Trust.”

Vinod Adani is also listed as having been the director of EIH between January 2010 and May 2011, though the notice states he told investigators he had no involvement in the day-to-day running of the company.

Investigators also claim to have discovered that an employee of the Adani Group subsidiary PMC had been granted permission by EIF staff to sign multimillion-dollar supply contracts on its behalf.

“All these go to show that there is no distinction between PMC and EIF, they are only working for common interest as part of a large modus-operandi for siphoning off money from India by invoice inflation,” investigators concluded.

The DRI and the ED were both contacted for comment. Attempts were made to contact EIF but the company could not be reached on its listed email or phone number.

Hyundai Heavy Industries did not respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear when the allegations of invoice inflation will be resolved in Delhi other than the Adani spokesman saying that they expected an order “in near future.” In Queensland, Naif’s decision on whether to grant Adani the nearly A$1bn loan is expected by the end of this year.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/16/adani-mining-giant-faces-financial-claims-as-it-bids-for-australian-coal-loan

Related posts