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Open letter to Meryl Streep and Frieda Pinto on #Indiasdaughter #Vaw

March8th, 2015

Dear Meryl Streep and Frieda Pinto

Happy International Womens Day !!

 

I am writing to you to ask you why are you supporting  the patriarchal “Daughters of India” campaign ?

 

Historically patriarchy has sought to enslave women in roles of motherhood, sisterhood, and daughterhood as ways of legitimising the restrictions put upon them.

If  a  Campaign to stop violence against women is meant to bring about change continues to work within the patriarchal framework it seeks to annihilate, it defeats its own purpose. Isnt it ?

 

The anti rape movement after the decemeber gang rape in 2012 was a large spontaneous upsurge,  which was very creatively  mobilised with students, activistsm feminists together .

It systematically challenged and rejected the patriarchal protectionism that only offers “daughters”“wives or sisters  protection in that capacity rather than as human beings who  assert themselves and resist attacks on their bodies and rights. The  movement evolved and raised the demand for ‘unconditional freedom for women’.

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Some of the popular slogans during the protest following the December 16, 2012 rape were, “We want freedom from fathers and brothers”. The protesters said, “Don’t call us ‘daughters’ and offer us ‘safety’ in exchange for freedom.” The title of the documentary does not reflect this quest for autonomy.  India’s Daughter actually locates the ugly rape culture mindset in the rapists and their defence lawyers, it does not show how the same mindset is shared by those who are within the legal and judicial system . The anti rape movement also  rejected voices that were ready to imprison and control women and girls under the garb of ‘safety’, instead of ensuring their freedom as equal participants in society and their right to a life free of perpetual threats of sexual assault, both inside and outside their homes.

 

The students came out with posters saying, ‘don’t teach us how to dress – teach men not to rape’ and others saying, ‘your gaze is the problem so why should I cover myself up’. This anger had clearly stopped being about this one rape case and punishment.Now this was  not being directed at the one incident, it was actually raising larger questions about why a woman is put in the dock every time there is a case of sexual violence and why is there a discussion on what she could have done to avoid it. The discourse was out of this comfort zone of patriarchy. So it was important to realise that it was not enough to oppose rape but to oppose it in ways that challenge rather than reassure patriarchy.

Sexual assault occurs with frightening regularity in the world and in India . Most of the global violence against women happens within relationships: worldwide, almost one third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their husband or partner.  Morethan 70 % of indian women  are subject of domestic violence, and a crime is committed against women in the country every three minutes. According to the India National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), for example, incest rape cases have increased by 36.7 per cent from 392 cases in 2012 to 536 cases in 2013. Of these, 20.1 per cent were registered in Maharashtra (108 of 536 cases), wherein 117 cases of rape by blood relatives were reported. 97.7 per cent of all sexual violence in India, as per the DHS survey used in the UN Women database, is perpetrated by husbands.  The rapes by strangers  forms a very small proportion of reported rapes.  So’ Indias daughter cannot be a representative picture for a global campaign, anyways.

The anti rape movement  argued that justice be demanded for all, and fought to get the definition of rape broadened, in our slogans we challenged patriarchy, we demanded that we wanted azaadi  (freedom) not merely from rapists who are strangers, but from the dictates of the Khaps ( Kangaroo Courts)  and also our fathers, and brothers, and husbands, who seek to control our bodies and agency.The film has no  engagement with rape as a structural problem.

 

I  would like to  give you glimpse of some rape cases in India which go beyond the mindset of the Rapist  , as the documentary  India’s Daughter”  has attempted.  A glimpse  when rape is used as a mean of domination by upper caste, by the army or the police, and  its actually not even punished. Adivasi and dalit women and those working in the unorganised sector, women with disabilities, hijras, kothis, trans people and sex workers are especially targeted with impunity .The Indian army and the police are using rape as a weapon against people in places like Chattishgarh , Kashmir  and  Manipur. It is legitimately being used, as there are laws that protect them when they do it.

 

  1. Manorama Rape Case

 

  1. Neelofer and Asiya – Kashmir – Shopian Rape case –

 

  1.  Kashmir – Kunan Poshpora

 

 

  1. The Case of Soni Sori= Amnesty International declared her prioress o conscience

sonisori1sonisori

 

Statement of Protest and demand of Withdrawal of Gallantry Award

 

 

kalluri

 

The Rapist Cop S R P Kalluri , INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICERAIPUR,CHHATTISGARH  , another rapist cop, whose reputation surpases that of S P Ankit Garg has been decorated with a gallantry award  for Jan 26, 2013, the 64th Republic day of India

Gallantry award to the Rapist Cop

What “India’s Daughter” has done is that it has reduced  it to one incident, however horrific it was, one set of parents, or even one city – the capital of India, New Delhi. There are women in Manipur, in Kashmir, in Chhattisgarh who face the violence of the state. There are Dalit women across India who face the violence of the upper castes.

 Drawing your attention to Some uncomfortable issues coming up   about the film 

The Filmmaker has claimed that the parents of the Rape victim were fully in support of the film,but the  parents have actually gone to court against her.

Rape Victims parents are going to court against the Film Maker

, “”He [Mukesh] has said this in the court also in the past, but making a documentary while he is in the jail — this sort of permission should not be granted,” Asha Devi, the victim’s mother, told CBC News. “So who made the documentary and why, I can’t say about that. But this should not be allowed while he is lodged in the jail.”

The news that Mukesh singh, rape convict was paid Rs 40,000

The news  that The original indian collaborator Anjali Bhushan is missing from credits

The Indian Co Producer Anjali Bhushan SPEAKS OUT

As  a feminist concerned with gendeR I also do not want to see Indian men demonised , at a time when racism is rampant  and the name of the campaign comes from a film which has succeeded in doing so,  If you  think the

 ‘demonisation’ of Indian males  is irrelevant , please read  German Professor apologises for rape problem email to indian student

 

We Indian women do not want to be seen as India’s daughters , nor do we want to be seen as mothers, wives, aunts, nieces or grandmothers. 

We are not reproducing Machines 

We want equality as  human beings . 

We demand respect as human beings. 

The truth of the “Daughters of India” campaign is that it is undoing, what the anti rape movement has been trying to do since dec 2012 .  If we moved a step forward in our campaign on gender violence, Daughters of india  is going to drag it 5 steps back. That’s what the film India’s Daughter will do for awareness on gender violence.

 

SO DO STOP  !AND THINK !!

in Solidarity

Feminist , part of the Anti Rape movement in India

Kamayani  Bali Mahabal

Refuse to be part of  Indias Daughter campaign

 

 

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The Splash: What keeps the Narendra Modi marketing machine ticking?

A top Modi aide says that the idea is that constant exposure to the quiet yet prominent logo will help it seep into the subconscious of the voters.
Written by Archna Shukla | May 1, 2014 10:49 am
lotus-mThe giant marketing machine hasn’t stopped since it was turned on last September, only shifting gears when needed. (Photo: PTI)

It’s hard to miss the white lotus on the famed chhappan inch ki chaati as BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addresses one rally after the other. The flower, strikingly different from the BJP’s official saffron-and-green lotus, made its debut on the lapel of Modi’s trademark half-sleeve kurtas on April 7, the day polling began for the 2014 general elections. “The white lotus is a replica of the lotus that appears on EVMs (electronic voting machines). It has a strategic purpose,” says a top Modi aide.

The idea, he explains, is that constant exposure to the quiet yet prominent logo will help it seep into the subconscious of the voters and they will go for it instinctively when they stand in front of an EVM on election day. This is subliminal advertising, the science of influencing consumers at a subconscious level, a relatively new domain of marketing.

While the Modi campaign’s use of social media has been much talked about (the 40,000 tweets and Facebook entries every day, Modi’s exclusive YouTube channel and the live streaming of his public addresses), behind the scenes, it has rolled out an elaborate offline, or traditional, poll drive that has employed every trick in the marketing trade: subliminal advertising, catching ’em young, going glocal (a global brand learning local tricks), crowd-sourcing, analytics, primary and secondary market research, above- and below-the-line advertising, brand placement, content integration, activation and consumer engagement. These are conventional and contemporary marketing practices that brands across the world use to become the favoured choice of their consumers. Add to these the smart use of technology (3D holograms used in Modi’s rallies or the use of DTH services to address voters in remote areas) and the result is that you can’t shut out Modi this election season.

“In an era of information overload, you overload an already overloaded people. This isn’t great marketing,” says Congress leader and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari.

Modi’s strategists, however, insist that this was what they intended. “Every touch point with voters was critical for us. We aimed to connect with them wherever they were, and hence the use of TV, print, radio, hoardings, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, DTH, cable TV services, on-ground and off-line people-connect initiatives,” says the person leading Modi’s marketing and communication brigade.

The giant marketing machine hasn’t stopped since it was turned on last September, only shifting gears when needed. The use of diverse platforms ran the risk of sending out disparate messages but team Modi claims to have driven the communication in a manner that it has always been a unified message that came from all platforms at every stage.

When Modi began his campaign with attacks on the UPA, it was because his analytics, research and on-the-ground teams had gone through several sets of economic and social data that showed people across the country were unhappy with price rise and corruption, while poverty and women’s safety were their top concerns. So his mainstream media slogan — mehengai, garibi, bhrashtachaar aur naari par atyachaar – janata maaf nahin karegi (people will not forgive inflation, poverty, corruption and exploitation of women) — echoed that message. The online team co-ordinating discussions on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and on-the-ground group managing events such as chai pe charcha picked up the theme. Chai pe charcha, incidentally, has so far been organised in more than 2,000 locations across 600 cities.

From attacks on the UPA, when Modi moved to the topic of good governance, the line of advertising promptly changed to‘achche din aane wale hain (happy days will be here again) and ‘Modi aane wala hai’. The conversation on other platforms too shifted. Since last week, he has been speaking of the need to have a stable government and his new advertising tagline is, ‘sthir sarkaar, Modi sarkaar (stable government, Modi government)’.

Any guesses why after giving the media the slip for a long time — with the exception of a select few interviews — Modi gave out a flurry of interviews to a host of newspapers and news channels last week? The interviews were scheduled after a survey has revealed that there was greater acceptability for Modi in the mainstream media.

Team modi

 

Political strategists

Instead of relying on party machinery or deliberating with senior party leaders, Modi works closely with a handful of people borrowed from the RSS and three of his trusted ministers from Gujarat.

Backroom boys

Administration and coordination with different Modi teams is carried out by three of his secretaries operating out of Gandhinagar — chief principal secretary K Kailashnathan, additional principal secretary A K Sharma and principal secretary G C Murmu — and resident commissioner in Delhi Bharat Lal.

Campaign strategist

The blueprint of Modi’s marketing and communication strategy has been drawn by Citizens for Accountable Governance. CAG is the brainchild of Prashant Kishore, a former UN mission chief in Africa, a public health exponent and a statistics whiz, who has been working with Modi for the past three years. CAG employs 200 full-time and more than 1,000 part-time volunteers.

Communication managers

Modi’s digital strategy, including his social media campaign, is managed by his former OSD Hiren Joshi, a former RSS man. The mainstream campaign — TV, print and radio ads — is managed by Manoj Ladwa, a London-based mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer , said to have played a crucial role in getting the UK to open its doors to Modi. While the media planning is handled by marketing communications agency Madison and advertising veterans such as Piyush Pande and Prasoon Joshi are providing creative inputs for the campaign, Ladwa supervises the whole process from an office in Lodhi Road, New Delhi.

Nuts &  bolts

Analytics as a tool

A bunch of engineers and statisticians analyses data of the past six elections, fuses it with demographic, socio-economic and their own opinion poll data, and slices it to the level of polling booths across 400 constituencies. This is analytics, a tool employed by hardcore market research and digital companies, and the Modi team says it helped them get a nuanced picture of patterns, issues and voters’ inclinations. The analytics team is in constant touch with other teams, using their real-time inputs, blending them with its own data and updating all teams on any changes in public mood, trends and issues. The analytics team even decides the routes to be taken by the Modi cavalcade, besides keeping an account of vehicles and drivers. “At any point in time, we have exact information on which vehicle is placed where and who is driving,” says a member of the team.

The big brains

The Citizens for Accountable Governance is a think-tank spearheading Modi’s marketing and communication push. It’s a central research team of policy analysts, economists, foreign policy experts and graduates from leading institutions across the world. The team has prepared reports on national policies and social and economic issues that have been discussed this election. It provides constant inputs for Modi’s speeches, social media conversations and chai pe charcha.

Mind reading

On-ground surveys and interviews spot electoral patterns and preferences — in short, internal opinion and exit polls. The information gathered is passed on to the analytics team that fuses it with its own data and other inputs from the research team. The team then analyses the data for trends and aberrations. This effort results in a Rapid Action Report, which presents a constantly evolving picture of a constituency. These inputs are passed on to Modi’s team and they use it to fine-tune his campaign.

Fanning out

Beyond TV commercials, print ads and radio jingles, the strategists conduct several events and programmes across the country, especially in rural areas, to build a direct connect with people.

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The mainstream: A team of professionals operating out of New Delhi supervises commercial messages released to the mainstream media, besides buying space and time on various media platforms. Recently, it released a 75-second (the norm is 10 seconds) TV film during nine shows on Star Plus. Called ‘Roadblock’ in ad lingo, it was the only ad aired on those shows, blocking all other commercials. “It was an excellent way of capturing consumer mindspace without getting lost in the cacophony of commercial messages of various brands,” said a Star Plus insider. Besides, Modi’s messages play during popular TV shows on youth channels such as Channel[V].

The IT factor: A dedicated IT cell at the party level and Modi’s own team use Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube to spot friendly voices, reach out, train them and make them stakeholders of Brand Modi. Twenty lakh volunteers work to keep the Modi buzz alive online. Many are young and mid-career professionals from financial services, marketing, media and IT who have quit, taken sabbaticals or are simply devoting a few hours every day to the cause. ‘Modi4PM’, ‘NaMo4PM’, ‘NaMoChaiParty’, ‘Pledge4Modi’ are some of the campaigns they run.

On the ground: Several exercises help reach out to voters, such as chai pe charcha; the ‘Statue for Unity’ project; Sankalp, an initiative to address gender disparity; Manthan, an online and on-ground event with students asked to present “innovative solutions” to 14 “critical challenges the country faces”; Samvad, where volunteers interact with farmers; and Ivote, an initiative urging people to vote. The team running the project is also filing RTIs and organising online petitions to keep the buzz going.Read more http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/the-splash-what-keeps-the-modi-marketing-machine-ticking/99/

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The Resistible Rise of Narendra Modi

modi-hitler-2

Economic & Political Weekly, Vol – XLIX No. 18, May 03, 2014 | Sumanta Banerjee

Commentary

A rereading of Bertolt Brecht‘s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (1941) and Sinclair Lewis‘s It Can’t Happen Here (1935) is helpful in understanding the social psyche in India today that is being moulded by Narendra Modi and is greasing his – and his party’s – path to power. It can happen here.

Sumanta Banerjee ([email protected]) is a long-time contributor to EPW and is best known for his book In the Wake of Naxalbari: A History of the Naxalite Movement in India (1980).

A rereading of Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (1941) and Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here (1935) is helpful in understanding the social psyche in India today that is being moulded by Narendra Modi and is greasing his – and his party’s – path to power.

It can happen here. It takes a great deal of optimism to imagine the next government at the centre without the disquietingly looming presence of Narendra Modi. Yet, such an eventuality could have been prevented, and its onward rush can still be resisted. We are paying the price for forgetting a not too distant past.

The heading of this article is a rephrasing of the title of Bertolt Brecht’s play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Bertolt wrote it in 1941 after escaping from Germany, and while in exile in Helsinki, waiting for a visa to enter the United States (US). Curiously enough, during Brecht’s stay in the US (1941-47), the play was never staged there. Another work of fiction – this time by a famous American author – shared a similar fate of boycott by the establishment in his country. This was the novel, It Can’t Happen Here,written by Sinclair Lewis in 1935. Both the play and the novel were written during a period which saw the rise of Nazism and its consolidation as a ruling power in Germany.

A rereading of the two may help us today to understand the social psyche in India that is being moulded by Narendra Modi, and which in its turn is greasing his – and his party’s – path to power. The rereading should also awaken us to the need for resisting in India the repetition of a political experiment that gained currency in Germany and Italy during 1930-40, but which ultimately ended up in a global disaster. Thankfully, the Hindu right has not yet been able to assume that monstrous global dimension.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

To come back to Brecht’s play, significantly enough, he chose for his hero an American gangster. He situated his story in Chicago of the 1930s, and moulded the character Arturo Ui on the model of a typical small-time mobster who takes over the city’s grocery trade, by aligning with a corrupt local administration and by ruthlessly destroying all opposition. We also discover shades of the well-known contemporary mafia don Al Capone. It was a satirical allegory of Hitler’s rise to power, which was taking place in Germany at the same time. But the message of Brecht’s play moves beyond the contemporaneity of his days. We recognise in Arturo Ui the all too familiar local gangster-cum-politician who gets elected to today’s Indian Parliament. We discern today the same fears and compulsions among the common citizens, whom Brecht portrayed as victims of economic recession, who were either frightened into submission to Arturo Ui, or lured by money to join his gang.

Brecht probes into this mass psychology that bolsters fascism, by pointing to the propensity among the underprivileged to respect and worship the local gangster, who enjoys power at the micro level thanks to the support that he gets from those in power at the macro level. Yet, Brecht reminds us, the rise of Arturo Ui (alias Hitler) could not have been possible without the connivance of the common people and their local politicians. All that is necessary for the triumph of such creatures is that the majority of people hesitate to oppose them, and thereby acquiesce in their rise.

But it is not popular opposition alone that can resist the rise of the types of Arturo Ui. It is also the responsibility of states which swear by democracy, to oppose fascism. When Bertolt Brecht wrote this play on his way to the US, he had the American audience in mind, and expected them to understand what was happening in Germany. He tried to present it in terms of the American experience of mobster politics, so that they could pressurise their government to resist Hitler. The US till then had remained a silent spectator to Hitler’s genocide of Jews within Germany, and increasing territorial ambitions abroad – in the surreptitious hope that Hitler would destroy its main enemy, the Soviet Union. It was only after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 that the US joined the war. Not surprisingly therefore, as mentioned earlier, this play of Brecht’s was never staged in the US during the 1940s. It cut too close to the bones of the ruling syndicate of US senators and the mafia.

It Can’t Happen Here

The next work of fiction that I am taking up was written by the American author Sinclair Lewis who won the Nobel Prize in 1930. Five years later – in 1935 – he wrote this semi-satirical novel, against the backdrop of the rise of fascism in the international arena, and the simultaneous consolidation of the mafia-politician nexus within the US. It is significant that the locale chosen by both Bertolt Brecht and Sinclair Lewis for the operations of their respective heroes/villains is the US.

Sinclair Lewis’s novel describes the rise of Berzelius Windrip (popularly known as “Buzz”), a fictional US senator who during his election speeches promises drastic economic and social reforms, while promoting a return to chauvinist patriotism and traditional conservative values (anticipatory echoes of Narendra Modi?). Once he gets elected as the president, Windrip takes complete control of the administration, and imposes totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force. Although fictional, the character of Windrip was based on a real life politician – Huey Long, who was preparing to run for president at the time when Lewis was writing the novel.

The title of the novel reflected the mood of complacency of the American liberal-minded voters at that time, who felt that such authoritarianism could never be possible in a democracy like the US. While it did not indeed happen then, a little over a decade later, Lewis’s nightmare turned out to be true, when under the rule of a president that they had elected – Harry Truman – Americans had a taste of authoritarianism. In 1947, Truman introduced a number of measures that destroyed civil liberties, leading up to the virtual control of the administration by the House Committee on Un-American Activities which inaugurated the notorious McCarthy era of the 1950s (named after the Republican senator who unleashed a ruthless campaign against communists and liberals, and persecuted eminent writers like Lillian Hellman and film personalities like Charles Chaplin).

Sinclair Lewis, when writing his novel in 1935, had a premonition of the things that were coming. Observing from close quarters his contemporary American middle classes, he could discern their smug self-contentedness and indifference in the face of the growth of corruption and gangsterism among their own politicians – tendencies that were to fertilise the seeds of the McCarthy type fascist order that emerged in the US in the 1950s.

These two literary works, in their respective ways, reawaken us to our responsibilities today in resisting the rise of a new ruling dispensation in India that threatens the secular fabric of our Constitution and the pluralistic culture of our society. We can go on quibbling over the question whether “fascism” is the appropriate term to describe it – an exercise which certain intellectuals are fond of indulging in. But the stark reality is that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders by their announcements, and their cadres by their acts, demonstrate the same personality-based political strategy of combining populist rhetoric from public platforms at the macro level, and intimidation and terrorisation of the citizens at the micro level that Hitler and Mussolini followed in the 1930s.

Neo-Hindutva in the Era of Neo-liberalism

Narendra Modi, who has been chosen by the Sangh parivar as the prime ministerial candidate, has turned out to be the best exponent of this strategy. Following in the footsteps of those two notorious global personalities, he has managed to project himself as the man for all seasons and all classes. He uses the harangue of Hindutva when wooing voters in the cow-belt (where he berates against the enemies of go-mata), the rhetoric of economic development (a la the Gujarat model) when addressing the corporate sector, the discourse of governance to assure the middle-class voters of efficiency in administration, the militarist bombast of defending the nation to draw support from the armed forces and their top brass, and invokes his childhood memories as a chai-walato solicit votes from the poor. Like his German and Italian predecessors, he also uses his foot soldiers – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-Bajrang Dal goons – to bulldoze into submission those who oppose him. He eminently fits the standards laid down in an ancient Sanskrit proverb: “Manasya-anyad, bachasya-anyat, karmanya-anyad, duratma-nam” (A villain’s thoughts, utterances and actions differ from each other).

But there is a method in this contradiction in Modi’s strategy and tactics, by which he had built up an image that has elevated him from a villain (of the 2002 Gujarat genocide) to a hero (of economic development) in the popular psyche. The mainstream media, bankrolled by the corporate sector, are fostering his electoral potentialities, picking upon only those aspects of his party’s agenda that suit them (like promises of industrial growth) while ignoring the other controversial aspects (like his promise to build a temple on the disputed site of Babri masjid, abrogate Article 370, and impose a uniform civil code). The media hype around Modi is reminiscent of the role of the European press in the 1930s, when it continued to depict Hitler and Mussolini as amiable guys who were expected to defeat the communists, till the Axis powers reached right on the doorstep of the Western capitalist states.

But while recalling the past and identifying the similarities, we should take a more astute view of the Hindu right in India today. It is not an exact replica of the fascist forces of the past. As its most powerful representative, Narendra Modi is refashioning the strategy and tactics of a populist chauvinist nationalism (the ideology that was followed by the Axis powers in their respective states in the 1930-40 period – and by the Hindu right in India) within the present order of globalisation. He has developed a concept of neo-Hindutva to suit the demands of the neo-liberal economy. While remaining loyal to the Sangh parivar’s basic strategy of establishing a Hindu theocratic state of Ram rajya (a parallel to the contemporary Islamic project of creating a sharia-based political order), Modi is coming up with tactics to accommodate foreign multinationals and the indigenous corporate sector. Under his leadership, the Hindu right is thus attempting a mix between Reliance and Ram Janmabhoomi. It is adopting the neo-liberal order in economy, while retaining its core ideology of Hindutva to establish its hegemony in the sociocultural scene. By occupying a leading position in the institutions of power, it plans to reinforce its values and norms all over society.

‘It Can Happen Here’

To take the cue from Sinclair Lewis’s novel, if a Narendra Modi-led BJP comes to power, we can be sure that the following things “can happen here” – (i) the imposition of a Hindutva-based curriculum in educational institutions (signs of which were evident during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime); (ii) clamping down on cultural works that may be deemed offensive to the Sangh parivar’s ideology of Hindutva (like banning of books, vandalising of art exhibitions, suppression of historical research – policies and practices followed by the BJP in states which it rules, and by its foot soldiers in other states); (iii) infliction of patriarchal diktats on all expressions of female self-assertion, and deprecation of women’s rights (remember Modi’s infamous statement that women in Gujarat were malnourished because they chose to be slim!); and (iv) most dangerously – the intimidation of the minority communities into total subjugation (the notorious example being the “final solution” type experiment carried out against Muslims in Narendra Modi-ruled Gujarat in 2002, which by threatening them has compelled their leaders to accept Modi as their protector).

Despite this horrendous record of the BJP, and Narendra Modi in particular, certain sections of the Indian intellectual milieu are veering towards Modi – some openly joining his party, and some through specious arguments in newspaper columns. One such argument is that once Modi comes to power, he will be chastened by the rules of the Indian Constitution by which he will have to operate within a democratic structure. These commentators suffer from a self-induced amnesia by conveniently forgetting that Modi and his party had always got away by violating the rules of the Constitution – whether by demolishing the Babri masjid, or by presiding over the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat.

The delusion (or opportunism?) of these liberal sections reminds us of the same American middle-class complacency that Sinclair Lewis exposed in his novel. In India today, given the tottering and corruptible base of the institutions that prop up the democratic structure – the legislature, the bureaucracy and the judiciary – would it not be a cake walk for Narendra Modi, if he comes to power, to bend them to serve both his megalomaniac ambitions and his party’s ideological goals?

Past Misdeeds and Future Responsibilities

In fact, the rise of the BJP and the legitimisation of its ideology of Hindutva and politics of violence in the 1980-90 period, were made possible by a series of misdeeds of a professedly secular Congress government at the centre, beginning from the opening of the doors of the Babri masjid to the Hindu religionists. It then allowed the BJP-RSS-VHP axis to drum up Hindu sentiments over the Ram Janmabhoomi issue under their pilot L K Advani, whose ratha-yatra left a bloody trail of communal riots in its wake. Even after having witnessed the murderous consequences of such public demonstration by the forces of Hindutva, the Congress government in New Delhi accepted at face value their assurances of peaceful behaviour, and allowed their leaders and goons to assemble in Ayodhya, demolish the Babri masjid, and reopen the wounds of Indian history’s most shameful chapter of bloody Hindu-Muslim conflict in colours of mass violence not seen since the days of the 1947 Partition. The left and other democratic forces also failed to mount a counter-offensive against this march of the Sangh parivar’s juggernaut that was taking place under the benevolent auspices of the Congress regime’s policy of soft-Hindutva.

It is an uphill task now to make amends for the wrongs and failures of the past, and reverse the process of distortion of the Indian polity by a class of criminals who have risen to positions of atrocious eminence – whether from the BJP, the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, or the various regional formations. To suit their interests, and bereft of any ideological commitment, they tend to join any national formation – the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the NDA – or flirt with other national alternatives like the “third front”, or the newly floated idea of a “federal front”. The next Lok Sabha thus may become a choice terrain for intrigues among these abominable effluvia of self-serving, criminal and corrupt politicians which will flow from the ongoing polls.

The handful of honest and courageous individuals who may get elected to the Lok Sabha, will stick out as sore thumbs from the midst of this cesspool. But they can make a difference if they are sincere in their commitment to the secular and democratic values embedded in our Constitution. They will have to combine their debating skills on the floors of the legislature with their ability to mobilise the masses in the streets, in order to resist the domination and criminalisation of society by religio-political groups like the Sangh parivar, as well as the corruption of our political system by the corporate boss-politician-bureaucrat nexus. Sumanta Banerjee ([email protected]) is a long-time contributor to EPW and is best known for his book In the Wake of Naxalbari: A History of the Naxalite Movement in India (1980).

 

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#Abkibaarmodisarkar- If you cant make it, Fake it #NOMOre_2014

How much does “Ab ki baar modi sarkar” & “Har haath shakti, har haath taraki” cost?

BY: NITIN PRATAP SINGH, on facebook

In the last few days where ever i have gone i have been bombarded with two slogans from all around. One is from BJP. “Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar” as if one man is going to run the government and the other one is from Congress. “Har haath shakti, Har haath tarakki“. similar to how they did in last 10 years.
Now, i was wondering how much does it cost to sell these slogans. Tried to find on BJP and Congress websites but couldnt find anything on how much are they spending and where. So took an alternate route to inferenece the cost. here is the result.
Here are some figures on how much does it cost to advertise on various channels. These figures indicate that on an average both BJP and Congress are investing at least 100 crores on major modes of advertisement. This is a very conservative estimate and actual amount being spent could be much much higher.
Cost of advertising in a News Paper
Cost of one full page advertisement in a major news paper in one city = 10-80 lakhs approx. Assuming avg cost as 10 lakhs cost to advertise twice and in at least 5 newspaper of 20 cities across India the total cost comes to
Cost of advertisement * 20 cities * 2 advertisement * 5 newspapers = 20 Crore and above..
Reference : http://timesofindia.releasemyad.com/display-ad/times-of-india
Cost of advertisement on a TV Channel
Cost of a 10 second advertisement on a TV channel during prime time varies from 10,000 to 1.5 lakhs per 10 sec.So cost of one avg 30 sec ad on a TV channel done 5 times a day for one whole month on 10 diff TV channels comes around to
cost of 30 sec clip * 5 times * 30 days * 10 tv channels = 4.5 crores to 67.5 Crores.
Reference : http://www.business-standard.com/article/management/now-tv-ads-in-mumbai-s-best-buses-107082501012_1.html
Cost of a advertisement on a bill board in a major cities.
Cost of a 40ft * 40ft bill board in mumbai for a month costs around 15-16 lakhs.Considering 20 such bill boards in each 4 metro cities cost comes around to 12 crores. 20 cities and cost goes upto 60 crore.
Reference : http://www.livemint.com/Consumer/AFWRpZVvDSIIAjLJLWDSWI/Billboard-clusters-are-the-new-trend-in-advertising.html
Cost of advertising on Radio Channels
Cost of advertising on a radio channel can vary from 1000 to 20,000 per 10 seconds per ad. Cost of advertising during peak times costs more. So a radio ad campaign consisting of a 30 second ad for 20 times a day for a month on 5 radio channels will in between 90 lakhs to 18 crores.
Reference : http://www.csuair.org.in/RateCard/RateCard%20of%20AIR%202013.pdf
Cost of advertising on Twitter
A promoted trend on twitter costs around 5.5 lakhs a day per promoted trend. 10 such promoted trends in a month will cost 55 lakh rupees.
Reference: http://www.medianama.com/2013/07/223-twitters-ad-rates-in-india-promoted-trend/
Cost of advertising on YouTube
A youtube video can be promoted to reach 100k people in 1 lakh rupees. How much one spends on this is a little difficult to be quantified but more is the reach of a particular paid promotion more has been paid for it.
Other channels of promotion that are used and for which it is not possible to inference money spent are as follows.
Facebook promotion – You can pay facebook to get likes, views, reach more audience. More you pay more is your reach.
Promotion on buses – Public transport buses can be used to promote your brand. Here also we see BJP Congress ads on all buses everyday but its not possible to find the amount spent here by anyone.
Promotion on websites – This is also a mechanism where a lot of money is being invested but is not possible to quantify that.
Now question that we all should be asking ourselves is if this much is being spent to get into power, guess how much will they make after getting it?
– Nitin Singh
Ab ki baar modi sarkarIf you cant make it, Fake it.

If you cant make it, Fake it.
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BJP’s advertisement plan may cost a whopping Rs.5,000 cr

Flag of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a na...

Flag of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a national political party in India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Himani Chandna Gurtoo, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 13, 2014

 

 

First Published: 00:19 IST(13/4/2014) | Last Updated: 13:20 IST(13/4/2014)

 

Pick up any newspaper, switch on any TV channel, drive down any main street or tune into any FM channel and chances are that you will be bombarded with advertisements exhorting you to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

 

The tab? Media buyers and sources close to the BJP’s campaign said the party could end up spending about Rs. 5,000 crore by May 12, when the last phase of polling takes place. Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, which is handling the BJP’s media planning, refused to say anything beyond “we are moving as per the approved plan”.

But a veteran media planner, who is working closely with the BJP, told HT on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media: “Planned spends on all media, including print, television, outdoor, internet and radio would be close to Rs. 4,500 crore. The party has set aside an additional Rs. 500 crore, which will be used, based on need, to beef up the campaign in critical constituencies and states in the last few days of campaigning.”

“The strategy, apart from carpet bombing voters with BJP’s message, is to block out all other political parties across the print, television, online and offline media irrespective of cost,” said a media planner from Madison on condition of anonymity.

The party has booked 15,000 hoardings across India for up to three months. The cost: From Rs. 2-3 lakh per hoarding per month in cheaper locations to as much as Rs. 20 lakh per hoarding per month in Mumbai’s Nariman Point. The total cost: Rs. 2,500 crore.

In the print media, the BJP has bought the most prominent ad slots across national, regional and vernacular newspapers for 40 days. “We have chosen 50 top national and regional newspapers across India and plan to release about four to five ads everyday till the end of the election process,” said the planner. The budget: Rs. 500 crore. The advertisement budget for magazines is an additional Rs. 150 crore.

In TV, the BJP has bought about 2,000 spots a day across Hindi, English and regional news, general entertainment and sports channels. A spot in most popular entertainment channels cost about Rs. 80,000 per 30 seconds. The budget: Rs. 800-1,000 crore. It spent another Rs. 150 crore during the T20 World Cup. The online and radio budget is about Rs. 35 crore.

Asked to comment on its ad budget, a senior BJP leader said, “The expenditure would be about Rs. 700-750 crore.”

“The BJP’s spending is at least four times that of the Congress,” said Santosh Sood, former COO, Rediffusion Y&R, a media buying agency.

 

Read more here– http://www.hindustantimes.com/elections2014/state-of-the-states/advertisement-war-to-win-lok-sabha-elections-may-cost-bjp-whopping-rs-5-000-crore/article1-1207499.aspx

 

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BJP Party Anthem dupes Singer Sukhwinder Singh #Feku #NOMOre_2014

Sukhwinder Singh

Cover of Sukhwinder Singh

New DelhiSinger Sukhwinder Singh, who has sung ‘Main Desh Nahi Jukhne Doonga’, which was recently launched as BJP‘s party anthem, says he accepted the offer as he was told it was a patriotic song meant to be used in a film. “A song came my way which was positive, it had lyrics by Prasoon Joshi and it dosen’t criticize or pull down anybody. Prasoon had told Adesh Shrivastav that this will be sung by Sukhwinder and when Adesh sent me the song I liked it. When I sung it, I was told that this is a patriotic song for a film. Now I saw it as an anthem for a party. But they have used it very nicely without getting critical or negative about others,” he says.

So it is clear that the news left him shocked? “I am surprised. Shocked will be a very strong expression. But yes, I am definitely very surprised. It has come to me as news. But I am happy that they have not played with the words and kept mine as I had sung it,” he adds.

The song has been making headlines as it also features BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. No, Modi hasn’t sung ‘Main Desh Nahi Jukhne Doonga’, but lent his voice to speak out a few lines in the song. Will this association with Modi help Sukhwinder join the bandwagon of celebrities who have entered politics? “No, I am a creative person. Where is the space for people like me in politics? I had earlier sung a song for Congress also. It is our profession to sing. It has nothing to do with politics,” he replies.

Having sung ‘Jai Ho‘ for Congress in the past and ‘Main Desh Nahi Jukhne Doonga’ for BJP now, he is clearly an undisputed choice for songs meant for political parties. Do we see him building the same association with AAP too? “I have no association with any party. I am just a devoted citizen of my country India. As I have said this is all about being a singer, an artiste and nothing more. I am all for good governance and patriotism,” he laughs.

Read more here — http://ibnlive.in.com/news/wasnt-told-that-main-desh-nahi-mitne-doonga-was-bjps-anthem-when-they-asked-me-to-sing-it-sukhwinder-singh/460293-8-66.html

 

 

 

 

 

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चमकेगी खूनी तलवार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !! #NOMOre_2014

पाकिट से सब पैसा झाड़ ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
चुकता कर दे सभी उधार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
गुंडे मवाली सिपहसालार ! अगर आयी मोदी सरकार !!
खूब करेंगे भ्रष्टाचार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
इसको उसको गोली मार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
बहन-बेटियां होशियार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
तेज करो सारे हथियार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
पेड रिपोर्टर पालतू अखबार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
अडवाणी की धोती फाड़ ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
तिलक तराजू और तलवार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
पूंजीपतियों में हुआ करार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
अडानी के प्लेन पर बीजेपी सवार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
दुल्हन देश अंबानी भरतार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
बेचेगा सबके घर-बार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
चमकेगी खूनी तलवार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
महंगाई की पड़ेगी मार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!
जनता बेबस और लाचार ! अबकी बार मोदी सरकार !!

BY-   Tuesday April 01, 2014

Read more here — http://author.blogs.navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/mohallalive/entry/slogan-against-bjp

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After Azamgarh girls, now Metro Man Sreedharan featured in Modi ad

12 Feb 2014 03:02 PM, IST

After Azamgarh girls, now Metro Man Sreedharan featured in Modi ad

BJP ad featuring Sreedharan

 

By Mumtaz Alam, India Tomorrow,

New Delhi, 12 Feb 2014: Around four years have passed since the Muslim girls of Azamgarh were presented as Gujarati Muslims in full-page newspaper ads of Narendra Modi, making both Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party red-faced, but the nature of the party, it seems, has not changed. Now former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan has been presented in party election hoardings in Delhi. Interestingly, this time too Modi features in the goof-up hoardings – now as prime ministerial candidate of the party.

 

Metro Man Sreedharan features among the upper echelon of the BJP including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani. The hoardings carry large image of Modi and a Delhi BJP leader Mahesh Giri.

As soon as Sreedharan came up to deny that he was part of BJP or any political party BJP and its leader have admitted their mistake and offered apology.

 E Sreedharan (Photo – The Hindu)

 

 

“I have not given permission to BJP to display my photograph in its election posters. I have no intention to join any political party,” Sreedharan said. In response, Mahesh Giri has reportedly said it was an ‘honest mistake’ and they actually intended to use an image of BJP leader OP Kohli. “I am as surprised to see Mr Sreedharan’s picture on BJP hoardings. This could be an honest mistake. We wanted to use Mr OP Kohli’s picture, may be a mix up happened. It is not an attempt to appropriate Mr Sreedharan and I will see to it that the mistake is rectified,” Giri said.

 

Around four years from now – on 10 June 2010, a full-page ad had appeared in all leading newspapers (English, Hindi, Urdu) in Patna, the capital city of Bihar, just a day before the National Executive of BJP which Modi was coming to attend. The ad carrying larger than life image of Narendra Modi had claims of his BJP Government of Gujarat about prosperity and development of Muslims in the state. To substantiate the claims, the ad featured three pictures of Muslims – one of the pictures was of young Muslim girls learning computer at Shibli College in Azamgarh. While these young women were Azamgarh native and studying at the local college they were presented as Gujarati Muslim girls.

 

The goof-up was first noticed by this scribe while sitting at Patna office of TwoCircles.net (I was then working with the portal). I could notice the error as it was I who had clicked the photo of the girls during a visit to the Shibli College in Azamgarh in November 2008. I had gone to the Uttar Pradesh town to do some stories for TwoCircles.net.

 
 Gujarat govt. ad published in Patna dailies on 10 June 2010

 

Read more here – http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/after-azamgarh-girls-now-metro-man-sreedharan-features-modi-ad

 

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Letter from Prashant Rahi from Nagpur prison on Torture, and Appeal for Campaign Against UAPA

By Prashant Rahi

Authors note: ALL QUERIES ABOUT MY LEGAL ISSUES AND NEEDS BE DIRECTED TO MY ADVOCATE SHIV PRASAD SINGH, WHO IS AVAILABLE AT : Tel. +918303481839; Email : [email protected]
– PRASHANT RAHI

Dated : January 07, 2014

Dear friends,
Heart-felt greetings at the onset of yet another tumultuous years of struggle for civil and democratic rights, which are increasingly threatened the world over by police atrocities perpetrated here as a normal course, and there as barbaric exceptions, in a setting of the yet retained post- 9/11 anti-terror laws in India and other parts, even though the U.S. imperialists seem to be back-tracking on their aggressive invasions in Iraq and Af-Pak! We, Indian activists, remain vulnerable, with none of the Parliamentary political forces even bothering to promise to repeal the 2008 and 2004 amendments in our Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – UAPA of 1967, which was indeed superfluous with the colonial Indian Penal Code (IPC) already draconian enough to stifle any serious political dissent. My arrest and torture in custody, as also that of Hem Mishra, the J.N.U. student of Chinese, which so many of you have cared to express concern about, according to newspaper reports, could be just the tip of an ugly iceberg. Even so, you might need to be apprised of the facts of our cases, and those of my ongoing Uttarakhand post-torture trial, so as to direct the raging passions in more effective ways.

It is with this view that I am putting across the following facts regarding what befell us:-

1. Aheri, where our case is registered as a Criminal Case No. 3017/2013, with the charge-sheet yet to be submitted and not likely to be served until 6 months after our arrest, owing to the 2008 insertion of Section 43 (d), with its Sub-section-2, in the UAPA, is a backward and remote interior of Gadchiroli, where the state, with its heavy deployment of specialized police and paramilitary forces and helicopter squadrons, appear to have got an edge over the Maoist People’s Liberation Guerilla Army, well entrenched in expansive forests of South Chhattisgarh among the adivasi (aboriginal tribes) peasants, across the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh State border. Part of Gadchiroli district is officially notified as a Police District, whereby the usual District Administration, Judiciary and “Development Activities” are controlled by police officials, who in turn move around in the towns and roadside villages like an occupation army, the citizens compelled to finance their pay packets, enhanced 150 percent as incentive, in addition to out of turn promotions and other allowances, and overriding powers to lord over the populace.

The “free press”, even correspondents of reputed dailies, is a mere subservient tool of the security forces, eager to serve the propaganda and psychological needs of their war against “left-wing extremists”, also called Naxalites or Maoists, a war wherein the people’s guerillas seldom come face-to-face with the security forces, the latter victimizing the villagers, among whom the former mingle, feed and organize; compelling retired and weakened guerillas to defect (referred to, more often, as “surrender”). The funds, another largesse borne by the citizens, at the disposal of the police are enormous. Aheri, where we were forcefully and illegally brought to by this very police force, is one of the bases of Gadchirdi’s famed counter-insurgency operations, which, in the wake of our arrests, was lauded at a meeting of State Police Chiefs, chaired by the Union Minister of Home Affairs, Sushil Kumar Shinde, as a “role-model” for combat forces engaged in anti-Naxalite “area domination” tactics for the country. My arrest hardly 10 days after Hem’s may appear to many as a well-scripted drama, climaxing in the conferring of that status upon Gadchiroli, after news of “Maoist supporter” from afar being implicated here had set the pace.

One would tend to believe that the Congress-led Governments of New Delhi could have found it convenient to co-ordinate tacitly with police forces in Uttarakhand and Maharashtra, both having Congress-led State Governments, as also with some coverts, or semi-coverts, within apparently friendly forces, to forcefully lead me or carry me to this part of the country, which could not have been on my itinerary at this conclusive and crucial stage of my 2007 Uttarakhand case, Criminal Case No. 3222/2007, Sessions Trial No. 83/2008, registered at Nanakmatta Police Station in Udham Singh Nagar district of that state. That too when I was awaited for the hearing of this trial on September 2, 2013, and due to head for Uttarakhand!

2. At Aheri, I was first produced in a Magistrate Court on precisely that day, the 2nd of September by the Investigating Officer (IO) of Cr. Case No. 3017/2013, Suhas Bawache, a Deputy Superintendent of Police.

3. I was shown arrested in the neighbouring Gondia district of Maharashtra State.

4. Actually, I have never been to Gondia district, nor seen the spot of arrest, as is claimed. Indeed, I had been abducted in the most innocuous circumstances, far beyond, the State of Maharashtra, well before September 2 (the claimed date of my arrest in Gondia); forcibly thrust into a dark-coloured van bearing fake number plates and shaded glass for its windows; and forced to travel with my abductors who turned out to be employees of the Maharashtra Police. They had transgressed their specified area of jurisdiction, with orders from their superiors to facilitate my fake arrest, in gross violation of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. P.C.) and specific directions on procedure for arrest issued by the Supreme Court of India. I was driven over a full day and night, straight to Aheri Police Station, with no one else being arrested along with me, having crossed several district and State borders.

5. The IO, Suhas Bawache knowingly hoodwinked the Courts so that cognizance be taken of my fake arrest and his allegations against me about a criminal conspiracy (Section 120B, IPC) to commit some unlawful acts (Sec.13, UAPA), as member of a terrorist organization (Sec. 20, UAPA), eliciting support for the CPI (Maoist) (Sec. 39, UAPA).

6. Subsequently, at the end of November, 2013, around 90 days after my arrest, Suhas Bawache submitted an interim report of his investigations to the learned Court of the Principal District and Sessions Judge at Gadchiroli, in a successful bid to seek extension by a further 90 days of the period for submitting a charge sheet against me, failing which I could be entitled automatically for release on bail under section 167, Cr. P.C. The learned Judge heard my contention that the investigation was being delayed deliberately on spurious grounds, my arguments having been given as written ‘Say’ filed among the case record. However, the provisions under Sec. 43(d) 2 of UAPA gave the IO the right to prolong my detention over a period of 180 days without being served a charge-sheet.

7. The IO pleaded in his interim report that it was taking long to study, and gather some incriminatory evidence against me, from the contents of a 16 GB memory card allegedly seized from Hem Mishra, and from 4 Terra Bytes of data from the hard disc and other storage devices allegedly seized in the second week of September from the residence of Dr. G.N. Saibaba, an English Associate Professor at University of Delhi. He also sought time to apprehend some alleged “absconders”, such as Dr. Saibaba; two persons alleged to have travelled, as Hem did and allegedly intended to, some months ago; one Maoist leader named as Narmada Akka to whom Hem was allegedly intending to deliver the 16 GB memory card; and the General Secretary of the CPI (Maoist), to visit whom in the Abujhmaad stronghold of the Maoist, Hem and I were allegedly “sent by Saibaba”, in connection with this case.

8. A similar 90 days extension had been permitted by the same Court to submit a charge-sheet against Hem Mishra and his two alleged escorts, Pandu Naroti and Mahesh Tirki, residents of a Gadchiroli village, all three having been shown arrested at Aheri Bus Stand on August 22, 2013. The interim investigation report submitted to the court by Suhas Bawache in support of this extension plea was identical, in fact a true copy of that submitted in my case a week later.

9. Thus, effectively, the IO has secured time until February to prepare his charge-sheet against us, following which, as per the only modicum of safeguards guaranteed by the UAPA, the sanctioning authorities of the Maharashtra State Government and/or the Government of India would have to conduct a review of the investigation, independent of Suhas Bawache and his superior authorities of or above the rank of Deputy Inspector-general of Police, before granting sanction in order to prosecute us. Once this procedure is completed according to the specified process, and a valid Case Diary is prepared by the IO, recording the procedure followed, even a higher court would be obliged, as per the 2008 insertion into UAPA under its Section 43 (d), Sub-section 5 to take an adverse view of our bail petitions.

10. Should bail be denied, the circumstances of trials being conducted by the Gadchiroli Sessions Court of incarcerated alleged extremists, meaning UAPA detenues, are such that the chances of a fair trial would only be slim and exceptional. This is so because of the current practice of conducting trials by video conference, whereby the accused persons do not normally get a change to interact with their defence counsel, least of all interact with her/him with the due freedom and confidentiality.

11. The prevailing system of prisoners being visited by their lawyers, relatives and friends is so full of hindrances and disturbances, far more so for UAPA detenues, that it violates the very essence of the Maharashtra Prison Act, which provides for considerable freedom and space to interact with and receive a wide range of visitors, as would be necessary to overcome our anxieties and tensions and maintain a normal and balanced state of mind.

12. Incidentally, it would be far from the truth to state or presume that I and my co-accused were not badly tortured by the IO, Suhas Bawache. All of us accused were tortured in the most inhuman manner. Mr. Bawache personally used brute force against me and the others, violated our minds and body, abused us, tormented and harassed us all through the days and nights over several weeks of our PCR, i.e. Police Custody Remand. Hem, Pandu, Mahesh, who were actually picked up from different places at Ballarshah in Chandrapur District of Maharashtra within the railway station premises on August 20, where badly mauled during 2 days of their illegal custody prior to the stipulated 24 hour period within which accused persons are required to be presented before a judicial court.

13. None of the accounts of our interrogation during illegal and legal custody of the police carried by the newspapers are true and complete. We did not get any opportunity to freely and sufficiently interact with journalists. Not even The Times of India could get free and sufficient access to talk with me.

14. Apart from the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Suhas Bawache and his subordinates who physically and mentally tortured me, Hem and the others, senior officials like the Deputy Inspector-general of Police, Ravindra Kadam; and an Inspector-general who called himself Anup Kumar were directly responsible for the entire episode and for implicating me unlawfully and for showing our arrests incorrectly and falsely.

15. There is not even an iota of truth in the claim that Vijay Tirki from Kanker District of Chhattisgarh received me at Raipur in that State, and thereafter escorted me up to a certain Devri–Chichgadh T-junction in Gondia, Maharashtra, enroute to Abujhmaad.

16. The fact is that Vijay Tirki was arrested separately, somewhere in Raipur, and he had no plan to escort me, nor did I approach him to be escorted to any destination. The first time that I met a person by this name from Kanker District of Chhatisgarh was several hours after I was dumped into the Aheri Police Station around midnight of 1st/2nd September 2013, when he too was thrown inside. As has already been reported, I was engaged in professionally translating some case papers for a lawyer; after meeting another lawyer who was my source for those papers, I was to collect some more papers from him shortly after the time of my abduction, and before proceeding to return to Uttarakhand to be present at an important hearing of my ongoing trial in Udham Singh Nagar District on September 2, 2013.

17. It was precisely on the basis of the above factual truth that I could withstand all the coercion by Suhas Bawache and his superiors to make out a fake confession about the imagined journey to Abjuhmaad, as per their will and desire.

18. I am not aware of any personal or organizational relationship between Hem Mishra and Dr. G.N. Saibaba, as is alleged. However, as far as I am concerned, there was no such relationship between the English Professor or his mass organization and me that he would “send” me somewhere, and I would agree, or that he or his comrades would depute me with couriering, or any task for that matter, and I would agree. In fact, the allegation that I saw him a couple of days before my formal arrest is absolutely baseless. I consider him and Hem mere acquaintances, not even friends of any significance that would lend credibility to any police claims.

19. With that, let me come to my Uttarakhand case, and torture in 2007. As is well-known I was living and working in Dehradun since 1991, and so was I all of the 2 or 3 months prior to my arrest in December, 07. On the 17th of December, I was picked up from a prominent street in broad daylight, close to Ara Ghar, after being attacked by several men all of a sudden, manhandled, blindfolded and carried away in a speeding car, first to a forest in the neighboiring Haridwar district, beaten up with sticks all through the first night, after which I collapsed. The next day, I was shifted to a Provincial Armed Constabulary campus of the Uttarakhand Police in Haridwar in a restricted part of Roshanabad, brought to a “PAC Conference Room”, where the blind-folding was first removed on the 18th night. There, I was tortured and harassed continuously till the 20th in various devious and inhuman ways, which I am omitting here to save space and for decency’s sake. On the 20th morning, I was again blindfolded, put into a car and driven several hours to be brought to Udham Singh Nagar, and hidden in a room of the residential quarters within the premises of Nankmatta Police Station, some 350 km. to the east of Dehradun. There, I was tortured by a different set of police personnel, until they could make up a story to show my arrest on the 22nd. Till the 5 days and 5 nights that elapsed after I had been picked up and illegally confined, I had not been allowed even a wink’s sleep. After informing my daughter Shikha Rahi, based in Mmbai, of my arrest on the 22nd evening, I was produced at a Magistrate’s Court on the 23rd.

20. The arrest story was that I was accosted in the forests near Nankmatta during a combing/search operation by a police party for a Maoist training camp, as reported in a F.I.R. lodged on the 20th, around the time I was brought to the police station premises from Haridwar, which 4 others, who were with me, fled the scene. Later, I allegedly helped recover a broken laptop, a pen drive and some printed material from the same forest (which I had never seen before, nor was I taken out there then), and the IO wrote out other cock and bull descriptions about an imagined 3-month long CPI (Maoist) military training camp, and now all the cadres and military trainers with their equally imaginary arms and ammunitions had vanished – all except me (who was already in their custody on the date of filing the FIR)!

21. A case was made out under the IPC Sections 121 (waging war or abetting the waging of war against the state), 121A (conspiring against the state), 124A (sedition), 153B (threatening the preservation of the nation’s unity and sovereignty), 120B (committing the above offences as part of a criminal conspiracy), and under the UAPA Section 20 (member of a terrorist organization).

22. I could get bail only after 3 years and 8 months, that too, only because the UAPA invoked against me and my co-accused was the 2004 version, not the 2008 one. The others who were subsequently arrested from home, a court premises and one from a railway station a year or so later, were respectively, Gopal Bhatt, Dinesh Pandey and Chandrakala, all well-known social activists of Uttarakhand. 3 others were proclaimed as absconders. All the 3 who were arrested after me were released first, and then I too was released on bail on August 21, 2011.

23. The case with Cr. Case No. 3222/2007 was taken up for trial 8 months later, as S.T. No. 83/2008, and the trial has not yet concluded. Had I not been framed up in another case, the Uttarakhand case could have ended (in acquittals) latest by the end of 2013.

24. Ever since my incarceration at Central Prison Nagpur, I have not been able to attend any of the trial hearings in Uttarakhand. The Maharashtra Police refuses to provided me the necessary escort to travel to Uttarkhand, this being one of the main reasons for the trial being held up these past 4 months. It is likely to be so for an indefinite or uncertain time period.

25. There would be calculations and speculations on the part of both the police IOs, and indeed their superiors, as to how one case could be made use of to lend weight and credibility to the other. On the basis of the above series of facts, circumstances and observations that are humbly placed before all of you, I would urge you, friends, to direct your energies and passions now at the basic causes of the above tribulations, rather than expecting the officials of the Indian state to take any serious cognizance of your appeals not to torture Hem and me, to ensure a fair trial, or to punish the officials responsible for my/our torture in Maharashtra or in Uttarakhand State. Even if the issue be primarily of the nature of civil and democratic rights, in other words, human rights, the targets, in accordance with the basic causes of such adverse occurrences, ought to be socio-political. It is the anti-people nature of the Indian state, and its various organs that ought to be brought into question. As the country goes to the polls to reconstitute its parliament, would it not be pertinent to ask as to why no vote-garnering political campaign, not even that of the “common man’s” Aam Aadmi Party has an agenda to dimilitarize the state’s operations against its own people, and to reverse this trend of the last 8 to 10 years, which has led to the incarceration of not less than 3000 alleged Maoists, an overwhelming majority of them framed up with fabricated charges and brutally tortured and inhumanly treated in both police and judicial custody.

With these concerns, it would serve a larger cause if the thousands who have reportedly expressed moral support to me and Hem Mishra would bombard the powers -that- be in New Delhi, Mumbai, Dehradun, Raipur, Ranchi, Patna, Kolkata, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangaluru, Bhubhaneshwar, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati with millions of letters and slogans to :-
1. Repeal the U.A.P.A. or at least withdraw its 2008 and 2004 amendments.
2. Withdraw the ban on organizations which are attempting to lend a voice to the impoverished and deprived lot, irrespective of whether they resort to counter-violence against state repression.
3. Redefine terrorism! Get out of the nomenclature imposed on the world by the likes of Bush and Obama, and Putin and Angela, and Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi! Do not equate revolutionary violence with terrorism!
4. Release all the alleged Maoist prisoners incarcerated as a result of the draconian laws and amendments, and all other innocents framed up for political reasons and as part of the conspiracies of intelligence agencies, the bosses of ATS’, IBs and the NIA!
5. Stop forthwith government sanctioning of all prosecution of persons accused under UAPA, especially those not active in combatant roles and common villagers, adivasis and dalits, and ordinary women.
6. Ensure speedy trials for all UAPA accused. Summon prosecution witnesses without delay.
7. Ensure production of all UAPA accused in their cases pending in courts of various States and districts. Stop using “security reasons” as the excuse to delay and deny trials.
8. Accord political prisoner status in all States on the lines of the West Bengal Correctional Services Act.
9. Amend Jail Manuals in all States on the lines of the West Bengal Correctional Services Act.
10. Do not adopt video conferencing as the means to conduct court trials. Stop the practice forthwith, wherever in force.
11. Stop erecting barriers in the form of wire meshes, glass panes, etc. in visitors’ enclosures in prisons in the name of security. Let jail interviews be held in a humane manner. Allow UAPA accused the right to access the Press.
12. Implement forthwith the provisions of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, on Prisoners’ Right, and on Detention Centres.

Let this be an open-ended campaign, and do keep me informed, please.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Rahi
Address for correspondence:
PRASHANT RAHI
UNDER TRIAL SECTION, BARRACK No. 8,
CENTRAL PRISON, NAGPUR-40020

 

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