Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Binayak Sen freed, vows to work for peace in Chhattisgarh

2009-05-26 21:00:00
Raipur, May 26 (IANS) A day after the Supreme Court granted him bail, noted human rights activist Binayak Sen walked out of jail Tuesday evening after a more than two-year-long confinement, amid jubilation by dozens of rights activists.
Emerging out of Raipur central jail, Sen, whose wife Ilina was by his side, asserted that his struggle for peace would continue and he condemned all violence in the state.
'I will continue to fight and struggle for peace, any sort of violence whether it is by the military or by the Maoists, I condemn. I will try to resolve the conflict through political engagement, military engagement is not a solution,' he told reporters.
Sen also called for 'Salwa Judum', the state government-backed civil militia movement, to be scrapped.
'My effort for restoration of peace will continue, I will continue to work for the people in the state,' he added.
Asked how he felt after his release, the rights activist said: 'I take this opportunity to remember thousands of people who are languishing in jail in many states after being detained under draconian and black laws like the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act. I am not alone. There are many others in several states. I am with them.'
Sen was released after depositing Rs.100,000 in court as a personal bond as decided by the local court where the order copy of the apex court was presented.
An award-winning paediatrician and a civil rights activist, Sen, 59, was jailed May 14, 2007 for his alleged links with Maoist guerrillas, a charge he, his family and friends vehemently deny.
The national vice-president of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), he was held at the state's Bilaspur town May 14, 2007 under the stringent Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and lodged at the Raipur central jail.
A relieved-looking Ilina Sen, her two daughters and other family members besides dozens of activists including Rajendra K. Sail, president of the Chhattisgarh PUCL and representatives of various non-government organisations hugged Sen when he came out of the jail and shouted slogans in his support.
'This is one of the happiest days of my life, my personal ordeal is over. The decision to grant bail to Sen has bolstered the faith of people in the judiciary and the country's system,' Ilina told reporters.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The 42nd Anniversary of the Great Naxalbari Movement

Today is the 42nd anniversary of Great Naxalbari Movement. In 1967 peasants of Naxalbari, a remote village of North Bengal started their struggle with agrarian revolutionary orientation under the slogan "Land to the tillers". It was established by then that the reactionary state machinery would not support it. Therefore, the orientation of the struggle was to form new state machinery—the new democratic state.

Soon the struggle of the peasantry in Naxalbari became the target of state repression. On 25 May 1967, brutal police force of the then West Bengal government resorted to firing in Naxalbari and took the lives of 11 people including 2 children. At that moment CPI(M) was in the government; Joyoti Basu, the CPI(M) leader was the deputy chief minister and state home minister. The CPI(M) state committee supported the state repression.

This incident was a spark in the communist revolutionary movement in India. So many party members soon quit CPI(M)—All Indian Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries was formed.

It was the Great Naxalbari Movement, which following the Great Telengana Movement again raised the flag of Mao thought in India. It was the Naxalbari Movement which established the agrarian revolutionary line of Indian revolution. Naxalbari was not just the name of a remote village in India—it was the outcome of sharp two line struggle in communist movement in India.

After the Great Naxalbari Movement, Indian communist revolutionary movement has passed so many cross roads. Now, the red flame of the Great Movement has engulfed a large part of India. Inspired by Naxalbari, people of India have been waging their struggle to build new India free from all imperialist and feudal exploitation.
Red salute to Naxalbari.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We condemn state repression on Tamil nationality in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More tainted legislators make it to House

[If you have slightest faith over the Indian parliament, then it would be suffice to mention that individuals with criminal records have made more than one fourth of the total members of fifteenth Indian parliament. According to mainstream belief members are supposed to represent people. Now, we like to ask, they are representing whom? Is it the Indian people or the enemies of India whom they represent? And, if rest three fourth of the members of parliament not having any registered criminal records, feel comfortable to work in unison with them in parliament, then what is the character of Indian parliament? Is it pro-people or a mere instrument to make Indian people fool?

We are publishing a report from the Statesman, 18 May 2009 on criminal records of the members of Indian parliament.]

Statesman News Service
NEW DELHI, 17 MAY: Though 964 MPs with criminal background lost the 2009 general elections, the overall picture of the new Lok Sabha (parliament) is no better than the last one. The total number of members with criminal background has gone up by 17 per cent compared to the last House. While in the 14th LS, there were 128 MPs with criminal records this time it has increased to 150. The same is the case of MPs with serious criminal records. In 2004 Parliament had 55 MPs with serious criminal records, this time it has gone up to 72. The BJP tops the list of MPs with criminal charges. Of its 116 elected members, 42 are booked under criminal charges. The Congress has 41 MPs with criminal charges out of a total of 205 MPs, followed by SP 8, SHS 8, JD (U) 7, BSP 6, and four each in BJD, AITC and NCP. State wise, It is Uttar Pradesh which tops the list of MPs with criminal backgrounds. The state has 30 MPs with criminal records, Maharashtra has 23 followed by Bihar 17, 11 each in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, Karnataka 7, seven each in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, six each in Jharkhand and Kerala, five in Orissa and 4 in MP.
Spurce: The Statesman, 18 May 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

‘95 kids died in US-Taliban clash’

Associated Press
KABUL, May 13: Ninety-five Afghan children are among the 140 people said to have died in a recent US-Taliban battle in western Afghanistan, a lawmaker involved in the investigation into the deaths said on Wednesday. The US military disputed the claim. Afghans blame US airstrikes for the deaths and destruction in two villages in Farah province. American officials say the Taliban kept villagers hostage during the fight and a spokesman said payments to the bereaved offered incentive to exaggerate. The list, which also includes 65 women and girls, was based on the testimony of family members of the victims, said Obaidullah Helali, a lawmaker from Farah and a member of the government's investigative team. The bodies were buried before an investigation took place, and there are no plans to dig them up. If the Afghan toll is correct, it would be the largest case of civilian deaths since the 2001 US-led invasion to oust the Taliban. US military spokesman Col. Greg Julian said: “There is no physical proof that can substantiate” the Afghan list of victims. The US has refused to release a number of people it thinks died in the 4-5 May clash in Farah's Bala Baluk district. Col. Julian said militants are to blame for the deaths because they kept civilians hostage during the fight in the villages of Gerani and Ganjabad. The International Committee of the Red Cross also has said that women and children were among dozens of dead people its teams saw in the two villages, but it did not provide an overall figure. President Hamid Karzai has said the strikes were “not acceptable” and estimated that 125 to 130 civilians died. Afghan members of the delegation investigating the clash delivered condolence payments to victims' families on Tuesday, Helali said. The list of the dead has not yet been made public, but the fact that payments are already being made suggests officials consider the investigation complete. Julian said those payments offered incentive for villagers to report high numbers.
Source: The Statesman 14 may 2009.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We say "NO" to a Petrochemical Hub in the Ganga Delta

Government of India has been trying to build several chemical hubs in different places of India. These hubs will be Special Economic Zones (SEZs) where industries will not be abide by the existing labour laws, which has already been liberalized. The industries will enjoy huge tax holidays. In essence, these hubs will be the zone of excessive exploitations. Apart from that we never no how environmental issues in these hubs will be handled. From the experiences of newly developed industries in India, in last one or two decades we can assume that they will be allowed to pollute by releasing their effluent in the extent whatever they like. Therefore, people from progressive-democratic camp and revolutionaries have already raised their voice against this initiative. In West Bengal, the hub was initially proposed to be developed in Nandigram, where peoples' resistance, unprecedented in West Bengal in last three decades forced the government to shift the place of Chemical hub--Nayahar, in Ganga delta, instead of Nandigram. However, in Nayachar, although government does not need to evict thousands of people and acquire thousands of acres of farmland, it will actually evict fishermen, if the hub is developed. The chemical hub will destroy the biodiversity of this ecologically important costal region as well. Therefore, people have been organizing protest against the proposed chemical hub at Nayachar. TASAM and DISHA have prepared an online petition against the proposed chemical hub at Nayacha explaining its effects. The petition is given bellow:
The Prime Minister,
The Republic of India
On 23rd of February 2009 the Union Cabinet has given its blessings to the setting up of a PCPIR (more popularly known as a petrochemical hub) in the Haldia region of West Bengal, with some 70% of the area earmarked for new processing industries to come from the estuarine island of Nayachar.
By giving its assent to the proposal of setting up a petrochemical industrial cluster in Haldia and Nayachar the Government of India has once again actively allied itself with the global league waging war against the earth, the biosphere and the lives and livelihoods dependent thereupon. We draw your attention to the following:
Nayachar is an estuarine island close to Bay of Bengal. The island is also known as Meendwip (Fish Island) for the waters around the island teem with fish that provide sustenance to thousands of neighbouring fishers. The island is situated less than 10 km away from the Sunderban Biosphere Reserve.
It is almost superfluous to mention that the littoral tract of the Sunderbans is one of the richest in the world in terms of biodiversity and ecological wealth. And the Hugli-Matla estuarine-coastal region, which is home to the Indian Sunderban, is widely recognised as one of the most biodiversity rich areas of the world.
And it is this region that is being selected for setting up a Hub for Petrochemical industries, the world leaders in pollution and horrible industrial accidents. Numerous products and by-products of this industry and their chemical transformations have been identified as Persistent Organic Pollutants. These and other chemicals associated with Petrochemical production have been scientifically identified as carcinogens, mutagens and /or endocrine disruptors. It may be mentioned in this connection that, in view of multi-dimensional risks associated with chemical/petrochemical industries, Europe and USA have imposed rigid environmental norms that have encouraged the migration of such industries to Southern nations with lax environmental governance.
Setting up of a mega-Petrochemical cluster in the name of industrial development in the region will threaten the lives and livelihood of some two hundred and seventy thousand people dependent on coastal fishing, in addition to a huge fishing population in the lower reaches of the Hugli, Matla, Vidyadhari, Hariabhanga and other rivers.
The sheer grotesqueness of the Union Cabinet’s decision is evinced by the fact that in the very week the Cabinet gave assent to PCPIRs, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a Notification declaring the creation of the National Ganga River Basin Authority, and declaring the Ganga a ‘National River’. The chief concerns of this notification include:
Ensuring “effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga” and maintaining “minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development”.
You, Mr. Prime Minister, have been declared the ex officio Chairperson of the National Ganga River Basin Authority and you are also the Head of the Council of Ministers and leader of the Union Cabinet, the same Cabinet which has given clearance to a project proposal that, by its very nature, will destroy the “ecological flow” in the our National River and jeopardise its “water quality and environmentally sustainable development”. How do you reconcile your two positions, or do you consider that such bizarre contradictions do not matter?
Contamination of waters around Nayachar will not remain a local phenomenon. The tidal propagation in the Hugli reaches up to Nabadwip, and it is the Hugli water that constitutes the main source of Municipal water supply in the riparian municipalities of South Bengal. Contamination of water, decline in and contamination of fish stocks will jeopardise the health and nutrition security of millions.
Selecting the Ganga-Hugli estuary as a site for setting up of a large-scale petrochemical complex is outrageous. Equally outrageous is the fact of governmental defiance of the laws of the land, namely of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991. In the case of Nayachar the CRZ has been violated at two levels. First, by reclassifying large parts of Nayachar as CRZ III; for even a superficial attention to the geographical-ecological characteristics of Nayachar and to the text of the CRZ notification would show that the entire coastal area of the island should be classified under CRZ I (i). What is shocking is the absolute bad faith that went into this reclassification, whose true object seems not to have been conservation and protection of the environment but clearing the way for ecocidal industrialisation. Showing scant respect to the letter and spirit of the CRZ Notification, only portions of the coastal areas of the island were kept under CRZ I (i) and substantial sections were brought under CRZ III.
But there is also a second phase of violation. Even this new coastal zonation of Nayachar stands defied by the West Bengal PCPIR project proposal. In the latter only the mangrove areas have been identified as CRZ I (i) with no mention of mudflats, intertidal vegetation and buffer zone, although the new approved Coastal Zone Management Plan for Nayachar designates the said areas as CRZ I (i), that is regions that are generally to be treated as extremely vulnerable and sensitive.
Both the CRZ reclassification of Nayachar and the West Bengal government’s defiance of even the new zonation stand as testimony to how the government blatantly violates the laws of the land.
Employment generation is touted as one of the benefits of setting up of a Petrochemical Hub. Surely, as an economist, you are aware that the heavily capital intensive petrochemical industries have drastically poor employment generating potential. And further, if the government is unable to visualise means of generating employment without destroying environment and natural resources, it has no right to rule. We demand that, in view of the facts and arguments stated above, the Union Cabinet withdraw is assent to the PCPIR in West Bengal. If the Government decides to go ahead with its plan to devastate environment, ecology and lives of millions in our state, it shall find the citizen ready with all the weapons of democratic resistance.

The Undersigned

Sign the petition at

Friday, May 1, 2009

Long Live May Day