The Global Digest

Press Release

LAOS: Somphone Disappearance --- Test for Laos as World Watches

Dec 22, 2012

Mr. Sombath Somphone

The inaction of the Laotian Government with regard to the enforced disappearance of Mr. Sombath Somphone on December 15th is worrying. The Asian Human Rights Commission joins the request made by civil society groups and the diplomatic groups inside Laos, and echoed by numerous international groups and institutions, including the European Union and the United Nations, for immediate investigation in order to safeguard Mr. Sombath, whose whereabouts still remain unknown.

Mr. Sombath, 60, is a veteran community activist who, in 1996, founded Participatory Development Training Center (PADETC), a nongovernmental organization, where he has continued work, even after stepping down from the position of executive director earlier this year. A recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 2005, Mr. Sombath has been recognized for his pursuit of small-scale people-centered socio-economic upliftment, using a variety of avenues, more recently in the areas of youth training and handicraft, for the people of Laos.

According to information collated, on the evening of December 15, Mr. Sombath was driving his jeep in Laos-capital Vientiane, following the car driven by his Singaporean wife Ng Shui Meng to their home from office for dinner, when he was hailed down by two policemen on Thadeu Road. Recorded footage of a screening of what is purported to be the closed-circuit television capture of the incident, available on the internet, shows the arrival of an unidentified man on motorcycle, who hurries over to the police post where Mr. Sombath is being questioned, soon after Mr. Sombath steps out of his jeep. Later, the same motorcyclist appears to drive Mr. Sombath’s jeep away. The footage further shows the arrival of a white pick-up truck, with flashing hazard lights. In a recent interview, Ng Shui Meng has stated that the blurry footage that follows actually shows her husband being whisked away in the truck: “Now the footage showing the men escorting my husband into the truck was rather blurred because we took the footage off the monitor of the original CCTV footage at the Vientiane municipality police station, where we requested to view the CCTV footage.”

On Wednesday, the Laotian government has responded to the appeals and the footage of what appears to be an enforced disappearance by offering that it is “possible Mr. Sombath has been kidnapped perhaps because of a personal conflict or a conflict in business.” This statement by a Lao Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, appearing on the website of state news agency KPL, is reported to also argue that the men in the video cannot be identified and that there is no sign of anyone being forced into a vehicle, while also maintaining that “authorities concerned are currently and seriously investigating.”

There is speculation that Mr. Sombath has been targeted by a jittery Laotian government, concerned about his role in the Asia People’s Forum 9 (AEPF9) held in Vientiane recently, in the sidelines to the ministerial-level Asia Europe Summit. For the international community, this perceived attack against nongovernmental organizations follows the expelling of Anne-Sophie Gindroz, head of major Swiss-Aid agency from Laos, and has deepened a climate of fear.

Mr. Sombath, eldest son of a poor farmer, became a refugee in Thailand as a young boy, escaping the violence in Indo-China during a time when American aggression made Laos the most cluster bombed-place on the planet. Scholarship and USAID assistance saw Mr. Sombath complete his education in the United States, and following the establishment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, return home in 1979 to begin work on sustainable agriculture and rural development.

The Asian Human Rights Commission joins voices that have raised concern for the safety and well-being of Mr. Sombath, a man recognized for having dedicated his life for the welfare of fellow Laotians. AHRC requests the government to allay the suspicions of the international community by conducting a swift and impartial investigation into the disappearance of Mr. Sombath, so he may return to his family safely.

SDPI Press Release: Conference on Future of Sustainable Development in South Asia‏

Special Report
By Muhammad Shoaib
Dec 13, 2012

Pakistani Minister for Information, Qamar Zaman Kaira

ISLAMABAD: (13 December 2012) Federal Minister for Information, Qamar Zaman Kaira on Thursday called for workable regional solutions to address cross-border conflicts, threats posed by natural disasters and gaps in demand and supply of energy and water resource.

“To achieve these goals, all South Asian countries have to give respect to each other’s rights and assume responsibilities,” the minister said while speaking at the closing session of the conference on “Sustainable Development in South Asia: Shaping the Future” organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). The three-days conference was attended by around 145 speakers, 42 of them were foreign delegates from over 18 countries, who deliberated upon the future of sustainable development in South Asia. The minister said the region must address prevailing policy hindrances to development which include decentralization without democracy, democracy without decentralization, and lastly the growth without development. He said only equitable rural and urban grow can ensure the sustainable development in the region.

“Pakistan has engaged with India in all sincerity and relaxed the trade terms along with liberalized visa policy. It gives me immense pleasure to say that India has also reciprocated and has now allowed foreign direct investment from Pakistan. Together India and Pakistan can ensure successful implementation of SAARC Charter as well,” he added. “The government of Pakistan Peoples Party has worked hard in providing a nation-wide system of social safety nets in order to protect the poorest of the poor” he added. While commenting further, he said, “A focus not just on economic growth but also on equity, social justice and regard for environment can help us in moving towards a path where inequalities related to incomes, consumption and more importantly inequality of opportunities for people can be reduced.”

Highlighting the commitment of the government of Pakistan People’s Party towards the issues of food insecurity and climate change, he mentioned that “creation of dedicated ministries on food security and climate change manifests our resolve in this direction.” He said, ”We have tried to give powers to the people of Pakistan. The measures such as the enhanced NFC award, 18th Amendment and several other actions are examples of how we have tried to strengthen democracy in the country,” adding that “latest NFC award has restores fiscal federalism in Pakistan and removed the earlier imbalances which earlier created economic disparity within the country.” At the end minister appreciated SDPI for its consistent support in political struggle for democracy and upholding the policy research agenda in Pakistan.

Dr. Nadeemul Haq, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of Pakistan said that real problems for growth and development are not resources but the real problem lies in public sector management, lack of efficient markets, non-uniform growth and non-development of social and human capital. Dr. Haque called upon government to increase research funding for better and independent policy input. He informed that recent studies have shown that major part of our population has been urbanized so there is need to focus on cities and make urban centers as engine of growth. Dr. Mahendra P. Lama, Founding Vice Chancellor, Central University of Sikkim, India said that interdependence in South Asia is very critical as nations cannot treat and address economic and ecological challenges alone. Suggesting way forward, he said that the challenge is to generate a critical mass of younger generation in the region who could converse on developmental issues at the national and global level

Dr. Abid Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI shared the recommendations from the deliberations of three day conference and said that recommending South Asian governments to think towards a green budget in the parliament. The delegates asked the governments in South Asia to seriously think towards accountability mechanisms before the gains from democracy and new found prosperity in the region are eroded by corruption. They also called upon government and non-governmental organizations to work towards promoting religious and racial tolerance.

Earlier, at a special plenary, chaired by Dr. Ishrat Husain, former Governor State Bank and Dean Institute of Business Administration, Karachi said that growth is strongly conflated with agriculture output and employment shares in developing Asia. He was of the view that vicious circle of economic disparity and poverty can only be broken only if governance and institutions are set right. Moreover, if Pakistan grows between 6-7 percent annually it can create enough jobs to absorb new entrants to labour force. Dr. Tariq Banuri, Professor at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA deplored the marginalization of sustainable development in the decision and policy-making process in the region. He said, we could not escape the necessity of consensus over equity and social justice however, there was, indeed a conflict between profit, people and nature which needs to be addressed. Dr. Abid Suleri, ED, SDPI said that demographic trends in South Asia, growing population, increase in number falling in middle class income level, and exposure to modern technologies have led to increased demand for food, energy and water.

Chairing the session “Disaster Management in South Asia”, Arif Jabbar Country Director OXFAM Pakistan stated that disaster mainstreaming is the key to build resilient and safer communities. Irina Mosel, from SDPI urged to focus on developing linkages between government and communities and government and international bodies to better respond to disasters. Atiya Ali Kazmi while presenting her paper said disasters can be significantly reduced if people are well informed and motivated towards a culture of disaster prevention and resilience. Sanaullah presented analysis of consecutive foods in Sindh and urged the need to make drainage system workable to reduce risks of floods. Mr Saleh from Bangladesh presented a model that established as to how communities could be made resilient in the face of floods and droughts.

During session on ‘Anatomy, impact, challenges and resolution of Conflicts, the panelists highlighted institutional failures, centrist mindset and elitist top down approach that have resulted in buildup of violence in the country and also impeded the service delivery. The session “Women’s’ political participation, opportunities and challenges” concluded with the demand that women political empowerment, at local as well as national level, must be enhanced to protect women rights in Pakistan.

The panelists at session “reducing environmental risks in South Asian ship recycling industry”, shared details of hazardous chemicals, released from ship recycling industries and its effects on the health of workers. They said, regional states are neglecting the issue and demanded efficient waste management to protect environment and health of workers. The session on “Religious Freedoms: South Asian perspective” concluded with the demand that cultural, political and social harmony is required to ensure religious freedom. They called for repealing discriminatory legislation against minorities and foster inter-community dialogue to pursue religious harmony in the country.

The Most Venerable Thich Ho Giac has passed away

The Most Venerable Thich Ho Giac (Photo IBIB)

PARIS, 30.11.2012 (IBIB) – The International Buddhist Information Bureau is sad to announce that the Most Venerable Thich Ho Giac, Deputy Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) died at the Phap Luan Temple in Houston, Texas at 6.19am on Wednesday 5 December 2012 at the end of a long illness. He was 84 years old. A funeral ceremony will be held at the Phap Luan Temple in Houston on 16 December 2012.

Most Venerable Thich Ho Giac devoted his life to religion and service. Born on 14 January 1928, secular name Ngo Buu Dat, Thich Ho Giac entered monastic life when he was five years old after his mother died and his father became a monk. Most Venerable Thich Thien Luat, his father, became a prominent figure of Vietnamese Buddhism. One of the first monks to introduce Theravada Buddhism to Vietnam, he was appointed Deputy Patriarch of the UBCV, a title that would later be granted to his son.

Most Venerable Thich Ho Giac was a brilliant student. He graduated with honours from the Institute of Pali Studies in Phnom Penh, and continued his studies in Burma and Sri Lanka. From 1954-56, he was chosen as one of 2,500 most learned monks to take part in the Sixth Buddhist Council in Rangoon, Burma, to review and record the official version of the Tipitaka, or teachings of Lord Buddha.

After studying abroad for many years, he returned to Vietnam to become the very first Secretary-general of the Theravada Buddhist Sangha and found the Phap Quang Buddhist Institute, one of the principal schools for the formation of Theravada Buddhist monks.

In 1963, he was imprisoned for playing an active role in the Buddhist struggle against religious discrimination under the Ngo Dinh Diem regime. In 1964, when the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) held its first congress, Thich Ho Giac was amongst the UBCV’s founder members, holding titles such as Head of the Commission on Social Affairs, Head of the Commission on Lay-Buddhists, Head of the Commission on Dissemination of the Faith.

In 1967, he was Buddhist Deputy Chaplain General in the army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam. In 1981, after the Communist regime banned the UBCV and created the State-sponsored Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, Thich Ho Giac was obliged to flee Vietnam across the Cambodian border. He was granted asylum in the United States in 1982.

In 1983, along with eight other UBCV leaders in exile, he founded the Overseas Leadership Council of UBCV, of which he was Secretary-general. The following year, he was appointed President of the Executive Committee of the General Association of Buddhists in the USA.

In 1992, following an appeal launched by the UBCV’s Third Supreme Patriarch Thich Don Hau to unite Buddhists around the world in an international movement to support the repressed UBCV in Vietnam, Thich Ho Giac joined with other monks and lay-Buddhists to found the Vietnamese American Unified Buddhist Congress in the USA. Shortly afterwards, at the demand of the Fourth Supreme Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang, this became the foundation stone of the Overseas Office of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, with representatives all over the world. Most Venerable Thich Ho Giac was appointed President, a title he conserved until 2011, when he stepped down due to ill health. In 1997, he was appointed Supreme Patriarch of the Overseas Theravada Buddhist Sangha.

In 2008, as a mark of great respect, the UBCV Bicameral Council of Institutes in Vietnam elevated Most Venerable Thich Ho Giac to the post of UBCV Deputy Patriarch. This was the first time an overseas UBCV official received such a high title in the UBCV leadership.

Most Venerable Thich Ho Giac was among the UBCV’s most respected leaders, a renowned and eloquent speaker, and a learned scholar, with 27 published books and five major works awaiting publication. He was a father figure and a mentor to many Buddhists, and will be remembered for his tolerance, kindness and spirit of reconciliation. ---\

NAPM condemns attack on Swami Agnivesh by VHP in Bhopal

Swami Agnivesh

New Delhi, December 1 : Vishwa Hindu Parishad once again showed its casteist and communal colour by assaulting Swami Agnivesh yesterday in Bhopal, where he was attending a meeting of Balmiki Samaj.

This attack by VHP on Swami Agnivesh, a spiritual leader and rights activists is extremely condemnable and only shows the conitnuing intolerance and contempt for any differing opinion in a democratic country and the rise of communal and fascist forces under state protection.

VHP terms its objectives as to organise - consolidate the Hindu society and to serve - protect the Hindu Dharma but what it did yesterday once again shows its anti dharma actions and only adds to growing number of such actions against minorities, dalits, women and many others.

Swami Agnivesh met Dr. Sunilam in Bhopal Central jail and extended support to his fight for justice for 24 farmers and his families killed in Multai police firing in 1998. During meeting with MP Chief Minister, Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan, he also requested him not to oppose bail to Dr. Sunilam. Later he was attending a meeting of Balmiki Samaj along with CM and Union Minister Jairam Ramesh. He joined them in taking a pledgethat members of Balmiki Samaj will not carry human waste manually any more, which has been banned only in government laws. When he touched the feet of an old Balmiki lady to show his respect, VHP people attackedhim and tore his clothes.

We are anguished by this growing presence of VHP and other communal outfits in Madhya Pradesh under BJP regime, who have been involved in similar cases across the state. We urge Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan to take stern action against the culprits and as a democratically elected CM abide by the Consitution and uphold the rule of law and uphold the values of justice and secularism.

Medha Patkar, Gabriele Dietrich, Prafulla Samantara, Sandeep Pandey, Arundhati Dhuru, Gautam bandopadhyay, Sister Celia, Maj Gen (Retd.) S G Vombatkere, Vimal Bhai, Suniti S R, Akhil Gogoi, Sarasvathy Kavula, Ramakrishnan Raju, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Anand mazgaonkar, Geo Jose, Rajendra Ravi,Mahendra Yadav, Suhas Kolhekar, Madhuresh Kumar.

Conviction of Dr. Sunilam : Travesty of Justice in Multai Police Firing Case

Dr. Sunilam

Continued Incarceration of Dayamani Barla by Jharkhand Government will not deter struggles against Corporations... NAPM Challenges Incarceration of its Conveners Dr Sunilam and Dayamani Barla, will Fight for Justice

New Delhi, December 20 : “We were expecting this. The sentence awarded to me and two of my colleagues Sheshrao Suryavanshi Parmandal and Prahlad Agarwal are an attempt at silencing the ongoing agitation against Adani Power Plant and Pench Power Project in Chindwara district and also Union Minister for Urban Development Mr. Kamal Nath’s constituency. We will not be threatened by this and our struggle will continue under Kisan Sangharsh Samiti with help of all the progressive movements across the country”, writes Dr. Sunilam from Multai jail.

Dr. Sunilam and two of his other colleagues have been sentenced for life on charges of murder, arson and others. This is nothing but a travesty of justice, since those who need to be punished are serving the police force, have been promoted since then and those who were struggling for rights of farmers have been sentenced after 14 years. The wrong sentence given to Dr. Sunilam and others is one thing but one is left to wonder when will the 24 farmers and their family get justice? Every year on January 14th since then Shahid diwas has been celebrated but till date the government has not given them a memorial place in Multai town. Every year memorial plaque is brought to the groundand is then taken back, since government is refusing them permission to put it in Multai tehsil compound where they all died in police firing. (see below for the details of the 12 January 1998 police firing.)

Dr. Sunilam and KSS has been an enemy of not only Congress government but also of the current BJP government since they have been actively fighting anti farmer’s policies and intervening wherever necessary. Most recently when police fired in Raisen killing Harisingh, former Sarpanch in May 2012 or when police lathi charged and arrested many farmers including Rakesh Tikait of Bhartiya Kisan Union in Anuppur who were fighting against Moser Baer power plant. Dr. Sunilam has been an active proponent of the farmers and workers rights and been organising and most recently constituted anti corruption units in 40 districts of Madhya Pradesh. An active socialist, he travelled across the country as part of the Dr Lohia Centenary programmes and been active as National Alliance of People’s Movements Convener in various movements across the movement.

In May 2011, Dr. Sunilam, Advocate Aradhana Bharagava and other members of KSS were attacked by the goons of Adani in Chindwara, where he sustained severe injuries and many of the villagers were later arrested without any charges on the attackers. It was eight attack on his life, but he survived. In past nine years nearly 1,75,000 cases against the BJP workers have been withdrawn by the BJP government but farmers and others challenging the government continue to languish in jail or are running from Court to Court. What a shame ! It is nothing but a vindictive move on part of the corrupt nexus between bureaucracy, political forces and the administration whose political and economic interests are being hurt due to Kisan Sangharsh Samiti's (KSS) active opposition to the Adani Thermal Power Plant and Pench Water Diversion Project in Chindwara District and SKS and Maxo Power Plants in nearby districts.

The resistance in Chindwara is against the vested interests of the state government and elected representatives from the region, so every attempt is being made to implicate the KSS leadership in other cases and this seems to be the reason for implicating Dr. Sunilam in this case too. We will not be surprised if in other ongoing cases against him will lead to further conviction.

Dayamani Barla, die hard crusader against the corporations in Jharkhand is being kept in custody by the Jharkhand Government under false cases. It is nothing but a brazen attempt at threatening her for the struggle she is leading on various fronts most important being the anti land acquisition struggle in Nagadi for setting up of Indian Institute of Management near Ranchi.

9th biennial convention of NAPM concludes with resolve to fight neo-liberalism and work for its alternatives

9th biennial convention of NAPM

Thrissur, November 19 : “Vikash Chahiye, Vinash Nahi”, (We want development, not destruction) has been the slogan, but the time in post-growth times has come, when we have to say call for 'full stop' to development itself, or else we are doomed, said noted feminist writer and activist, Sara Joseph speaking at the concluding session of the 9th biennial convention of NAPM at Green Salsabeel School here. M P Parmeshwaran, noted marxist and ideologue said, the search for alternatives has to be rooted to the ideas of Gandhi, Kumarappa but it must be in tune with today's reality. The Convention ended on this note with Medha Patkar echoing the same sentiments and calling for an united forum of the social movements working for an alternative to the current political form and development paradigm and develop a blueprint for visions of more equitable and just society. Ashok Chaudhary, of NFFPFW said that the people are ahead of the politics today and we have to listen to the voices of the people, which people's movements are only doing today.

The three day declared their programmatic agenda and concluded at Thrissur today, resolving to take forward the primary mandate of Sangharsh and Nirman [Struggle and Reconstruction] with establishment of a navnirman manch within NAPM. The fight for the control over jal, jungle, zameen by the communities will be fought tooth and nail through the gram sabhas and mohalla sabhas declared the convention and decentralisation of power is the only way out. A new conveners team was constituted with an aim to form a comprehensive National People’s Movement. Desh Bachao Desh Banao and Sansaadan bachao, Sansaadan Banao, as the key visionary slogans, will guide the movement.

NAPM will protest, along with the other movements and groups at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi against the proposed Land Acquisition Bill in the upcoming Parliament session. NAPM will dialogue with India against Corruption with an assertive proposal to discuss the issue of land rights and declare their opposition to the proposed Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Bill, 2012 in their upcoming Delhi convention on 24th November. NAPM will be calling for a roundtable between all political parties on the crucial issue of FDI to understand the different view- points and demand a clear pro-people position.

On the issue of nuclear power and energy, a dialogue between experts, officials, activists and representatives of affected communities of Tamil Nadu along with an expert committee to understand the socioeconomic impacts which will be mediated by NAPM is proposed. A yatra of the urban struggle groups in the southern states has been planned for the last week of December to raise the issues of urban poor. NAPM proposes to bring out specific policy documents with a pro-people perspective in various sectors- especially energy, water, health, education, food sovereignty, land & forest issues, livelihood, climate change, transport and internal & external security.

It is also decided to constitute working groups on various issues including Dalit and Adivasi rights, minorities rights, gender justice, human rights, electoral reforms, cultural initiative etc. NAPM shall work in close association with political parties who are willing to dialogue with people’s movements and take a stand on concerned raised. Besides these common programmes, state levels actions and initiatives have been charted out. The plenary also passed a resolution to ban purchase and use of bottled water, to promote use of public transport, renewable energy alternatives, organic farming, co-operatives and village industry.

Campaigns for amendment of the Panchayati Raj laws and the Sc/ST act shall also be taken up. Workshops with lawyers for social justice shall be organized in various states. Concrete steps to strengthen NAPM within the various states by involving numerous movements, organizations, progressive persons and groups were also spelt out. It was also decided that NAPM will join the Jan Sansad with all other organisations on various issues to raise the relevant issues, with an aim at General Elections of 2014.

The new team of national conveners include, Andhra pradesh : Ramakrishna Raju; Bihar / Jharkhand : Kamayani Swami and Mahendra Yadav; Kerala : C R Neelakandan; Gujarat : Krishnakant, Madhya Pradesh : Dr. Sunilam; Asaam : Akhil Gogoi, Orissa : Prafulla Samantara; Tamilnadu : Gabriele Dietrich; Maharashtra : Suniti S R and Vilas Bhongade; Uttar Pradesh : Arundhati Dhuru; and Delhi : Bhupinder Singh Rawat along with Medha Patkar, P Chennaiah, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Sister Celia, Anand Mazgaonkar as Advisers and B.D. Sharma, Aruna Roy, Binayak Sen, Sandeep Pandey as special invitee to the National Convening Team. In addition, Shrikanth, Vimal Bhai and Madhuresh Kumar were appointed as national organisers.

Call for details : Madhuresh 9818905316, C R Neelkandan 9446496332

Globalization and Nuclear Free World

Nov. 18, 2012

Fisher group protest

It is celebrated in Bangalore at St.Anne’s College Compound, Miller’s Road, 1, from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm.on 21-11-2012

The World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) is a world body of Trade Union working in 31 countries in the World fighting for the rights of small scale fisher peoples. Its registered office is in Spain. There are two co-cordinators, one is a woman MS. Sherry Pictou from Canada and another one MR. Naseegh Jaffer from South Africa from South Africa. General Secretary Mohamed Ali Shah is from Pakistan. MS. Natalia Laino, Treasureris from Spain. In all the structures Committees and the General Body 50% should be females. 21st November 1997 WFFP was founded in Delhi and it was declared that every foundation day 21st November is Word Fisheries Day. And every year WFFP selects a theme for the World Fisheries Day.

This year the theme of the WFD is Globalization and Nuclear Free World. Globalization is a free movement of capital to make prfit by a few at the expense of the vast majority who do not have the basic needs in life. There is no question of justice and morality. By hook or by crook they make profit. Corruption and price rise are pat and parcel of this profit making. Destruction of environment and emission of carbon dioxide is organically linked with this profiteering. MNCs, Ruling class and Politicians are the main collaborators in this profiteering.

80% of the wealth are in the hands of 20% of people in the World. Out of this about 6000 billioners are wielding power and politics all over the world. This was the end result of Colonialism The new Globalization is the new competion among the MNCs to take away even the 20% of the wealth in the hands of 80%.

How do the few maintain to keep this accummulation of wealth in the hands of a few? It is through an unreflective educational system. There is no understanding of the structural system of our socio-economic-political system today. So the system has been perpetuated by the ruling class. This is legitimised by the law of private property. Further it is protected by police, army and Mass destructive weapons like nuclear energy and atomic weapons. This is called maintaining law and order.

In 1962 atomic energy act was passed. It comes under defense so that we cannot demand any audited report.Till today only about 4000 MW nuclear energy was produced. On the other hand about one lakh crores of rupees was spent on Atomic Energy Establishments. It is obvious from these that GOI has not been trying to produce nuclear electricity but the interest was to produce atomic weapons.

Nuclear waste and nuclear production are closely connected with sea, fish and fisher people. By 2025 GOI wants to establish 40 plants and produce 20000 MW. By then the entire sea will be under Radiation Cover of Nuclear Plants. Since Chernobyl Accident of Nuclear Plant in Russiain 1986, 92 lakhs Children were born deformed until today. After Fukushima accident in Japan, 2011, Japan is closing down all the nuclear plants. Germany is closing down all the nuclear plants, and many other countries are following their suit except China, India, Russia and Pakistan.

If we want more electricity there are many other ways, If we transmit present 20 lakhs MW electricity is transmitted through underground cable we can save 30% electricity. If we convert lighting to CFL bulbs and LED bulbs we can save 30% electricity. We can easily make Solar Elecrtricity 60000 MW within 5 years if we invest on this. We can produce the same amount of Electricity within 5 years from Wind energy. We can have the cheapest electricity from the Boi-mass waste from the kitchen, toilets and agriculture waste..

All over the World People are celebdrating World Fisheries Day.In India, Tuticorin, Fishing Villages are going on strike protesting against Koodankulam Nuclear Plants. There will be mass rlalies and public meetings in Mumbai,West Bengal, Chennai,Trivandrum, Ernakulam, and many other places.

You are cordially invited to the Millers Road, St. Anne;s College ground, Bangalore. Thomas Kocherry,,, +91 9360545772.


Medha Patkar, SunIti S R, Mukesh Bagoriya, Braj Kishore Chaurasia and others released unconditionally

Nov. 11, 2012

Medha Patkar coming out of CJM Court. See huge police bandobast. Is she really such a big threat to MP State?

•Chindwara Administration Presents Worst Face of Police and State; Violates all Procedural Guidelines in D K Basu Case •Medha Patkar, Mukesh Bagoriya, Braj Kishore Chaurasia and 20 others released unconditionally from Chindwara Jail. No Demand for Bail was Made. •Suniti S R and 34 Women Released from Pune Jail; 46 Men not Released Since Release Order could not Reach on Time. No Demand for Bail was Made. •Kishan Sangharsh Samiti Leader, Advocate Aradhana Bhargava's Bail Plea to be Heard Tomorrow in Chaurai Tehsil Court; Charged with Section 110 for Habitual Offenders, generally a preserve of Rapists and History Sheeter Criminals. Shame on Administration.

Chindwara, November 7 : Today afternoon, Medha Patkar and others were presented infront of the Chief Judicial Magistrate on charges under Section 188, in a packed Court room in heavy presence of police. The town remained tense due to unavoidable and unnecessary situation created by the District Collector and Superintendent of Police. Medha Patkar, stated to CJM Chindwara that the charges under Section 188 has been promulgated much after, the initial arrest was made under section 151. She recorded her statement in the court and alleged several violations by the police of D K Basu Guidelines : using force while arrest from a peaceful gathering inside a private house late in the night; not producing infront of any executive or judicial magistrate after arrest; not informing the nearest friend or family of arrest or allowing meeting them; putting in jail first and then issuing the arrest memos to many others. She accused the administration of collusion with the government in keeping her in illegal detention and pressuring the Executive Magistrate not to even admit the bail application. It was only after a Habeaus Corpus application moved in Jabalpur High Court that she was produced in Court on trumped up charges.

CJM in its order said the alleged violations are beyond the authority of his Court but it is not desirable that the accused be kept in detention any longer and ordered their immediate release. On plea of the Prosecution that they should be further remanded for till 20th November, Judge said there is no ground for that and it will be injustice to them.

At 2:30 pm Jabalpur High Court heard the Habeaus Corpus Petition and said since the police has already produced them in Court the HC application's purpose has been solved, however, applicant is at liberty to add to it all the charges of illegal detention and arrest which will be heard separately. Later at 7:00 pm all the people were released from the Chindwara Jail.

Advocate Aradhana Bhargava's case for hearing will come tomorrow at Chaurai tehsil Court. It needs to be noted that she was arrested from her house in Chindwara however, police has showed in jail diary that she was arrested in Chaurai Tehsil. Today we also learnt that she has been charged with Section 110, for which she can also be debarred from the district. It is extremely shameful and highly condemnable that charges reserved for habitual offenders like history sheeter criminals, rapists and others has been imposed on a committed social activist and lawyer. The administration is certainly acting on behalf of the Adnai Thermal Power Plant and State Governmnt's who has been threatened by the agitation led by Kisan Sanghrash Samiti under her leadership. NAPM condemns such vindictive move of the administration and will continue to fight the legal battle as well the ground battle in Chindwara.

In Pune, today afternoon, all the women prisoners were produced infront of the Executive Magistrate, who released them saying that they can't be kept any longer in the jail under the current circumstances. Release order was passed and they were released later in the evening at 6:30pm. However, the Pune police which was extremely quick to arrest and put them in jail late in evening could not deliver the release order for all the men on time, as a result they continue to be in Yeravada jail. Shame on Pune Police ! They will be released tomorrow morning at 10 am.

Support poured in from movements, supporters and well wishers from across the country and world. NAPM acknowledges their support and vows to continue fighting the struggle for people's rights over the natural resources and for equity and justice. We will challenge the misuse of the law by the police in High Court and see to it that action is taken against erring officials.

We would also like to extend an invitation to you all to our 9th biennial National Convention at Salsabeel Green School, Thrissur, Kerala from November 17-19 on theme, “Development and Politics : Alternatives,” where we will collectively strategise for our future struggles and challenge the state and corporate authoritarianism and violence unleashed on people's movements. Nearly a thousand activists from more than 20 states are expected to join the event. We look forward to meeting you all there.

Sandeep Pandey, Ulka Mahajan, Prafulla Samantara, Akhil Gogoi, Arundhati Dhuru, Maj. Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere, Sister Celia, Gabriele Dietrich, Roma, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Vimal Bhai, Rajendra Ravi, Ramakrishna Raju, Saraswati Kavula, Gautam Bandopahdyay, Shrikanth, Madhuresh Kumar for details call : 9818905316

NAPM condemns UPA reeling under Reliance Pressure

Nov 1, 2012

Mukesh Ambani

Challenges transfer and pricing of Natural Resources against Nation’s Interest... No Privatization of Minerals and No forcible Acquisition for Private Projects

The news that the Petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy is again to be replaced by someone else, repeating the incidence that took place few years ago when Mani Shankar aiyar was replaced by Murli Deora, Ambani’s childhood friend. The very fact that Jaipal Reddy was the one who questioned the irrational demand by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on escalating the prices of natural gas ,irrespective of the decision and agreement by the union government and RIL on the price to be steady till 2014, this is one more example, just one of many related to RIL, one of the largest corporates in the country, pulling strings to change the player in the political domain that challenges its activities ,especially huge or even vulgar profit making.

NAPM condemns this, as an evidence of politician-corporate nexus and joint crime against people, who are left deprived when not the State exchequer but the corporates’ accounts are filled and swelling. It is Shocking and disgusting that even when the congress and NCP leaders are challenged at the center and in states, for their involvement in illegal allocation and transfer of land and other resources, at the cost of the public interest; they still have guts to take such an action mainly to give the Ambani’s a clean field. A strategy to counter this will be worked out in its upcoming National Convention (9th biennial), from 17th to 19th November, at village Kiraloor, 15 Kms from Thrissur, Kerala.

While the loss that would occur if the price hike was accepted is quoted to be $ 6.3 billion, with the undue spread and spell of the RIL across the country and the sectors ranging from Oil & Gas to Infrastructure, telecommunications, theaters, retail, health, education.. right up to Satyamev Jayate, there is no doubt that it may go much beyond even the DLF’s swell, already exposed. It is the wicked game of acquisition of lands, with minerals attached to land, allocation of deep sea blocks, or transfer of the richest of our Nation’s Natural Resources to these private players; that is the worst and the highest level of misappropriation by the present rulers.

The millionaires such as Ambanis have been putting all undue pressures either through PMO, Minister or even through media, seeking concessions; while farmers without subsidy are compelled to commit suicides. It is high time that country demands total nationalization of our mineral resources, the only wealth that is luxuriously expended without any concern, neither for the State’s earning, nor for the environmental impacts and loss of livelihoods to the local populations of farmers and fish workers.

The Krishna Godavari basin issue was distortedly and deliberately presented as if the RIL were to limit its extraction of Natural gas worth approx $ 3 billion dollars, very recently. The fact is that on one hand this has been the tactic to get higher and higher price for their “Natural Product”, while on other hand it is the high incidence of subsidence (sinking of land) in the KG basin that should have compelled them to do so. Resulting in the sea ingress and destruction of paddy lands, as also threatening the habitats and livelihood of millions of people in the Basin, such an ecological impact should have been monitored by the Ministry of Environment and Forest. MOEF, just as other ministries have also been relying upon not laws or policies, nor public hearings but the RIL to plan its targets and profits, violating the laws.

Other examples of this include the power projects granted to Ambani, one in the name of Common wealth games and others without checking the economic feasibility and environmental sustainability, in fact the Reliance work in a threatened Eco system of KG basin must come to a halt and this giant monstrous corporate must be prevented from any further investment and favours to facilitation for adding to its unconstitutional wealth, that is costing crores of toiling citizens in the country, destitution, malnourishment, unemployment to homelessness and hunger.

In this regard the Supreme Court can if it wishes to take a suo moto cognizance of the CAG reports to media reports, even in the frame work of its own judgment on 2G spectrum and beyond. If it does not, the People’s Movements that are fighting for no forcible acquisition of natural resources by the State for the private and PPP projects, simultaneously questioning pushing of plans and projects that transfer the resources from people to profiteers; will have to raise voice against “Unreliable Reliance”.

The new Bill soon to be put up before the parliament is another attempt to continue the forcible acquisition for the private corporates and builders; bypassing the unanimous report by the all party parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development. This needs to be questioned and plans of, not only Ambanis but of Jindals, Tatas, Mittals, Adanis, Hiranandani to DLFs all are to be curtailed.

In Place of a weak Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Bill; National Alliance of People’s Movements demands a Democratic Development Planning Act following the constitutional frame work of local self governance.

Medha Patkar, B.Ramakrishnam Raju, Saraswati Kavula, Shashank Rajwadi, For Details contact Madhuresh - 09818905316

Sri Lankan Government should release the list of UN personnel, Diplomats, Ambassadors and other VIPS involved in state sponsored sex for favours.

Special Contribution
By Massey Subra
Oct. 25, 2012

Srilanka's minister Mervyn Silva's son Malaka

The story of Zumba Instructress Ms.Alexis Wright hit the fan yesterday. It has no serious political significance but in Sri Lanka the internationally prominent persons who prostituted moral justice for personal sex favours still remain at large. They did not know they were being watched and videoed!. How can people attired like high society compromise moral duties to immoral acts of patronage? How could they even imagine of doing injustice to ordinary innocent people who were being abused and beaten by state sponsored criminals? It is beyond human nature and comprehension.

The Sri Lankan government or whoever who have those videos must release them to the press so that the world knows who is who on the list. Serious Human rights violation has happened and no efforts have been made to bring those responsible to justice; this amount to serious violation and prostitution of international justice.

It may be hard to get the list published for the Government of Rajapaksa where Gothabaya Rajapaksa owns most of the hotels and his son Namal Rajapaksa supplies the whores for the entertainment industry. When the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches are under the control of head honcho Mahinda Rajapaksa, it is unlikely any news will be released or leaked out.

But some where someone has some videos that can be released. The million dollar question for those people who visited Sri Lanka' is your name on the list and are you on the video? It is hard to get to the bottom of the list when the government is the sponsor of the whole episode.

You all know the saying, “Either it is his wife or the wife is not watching television.”

THAILAND: Police compensated for committing murder in the line of "duty"

Oct 19, 2012

Thai Polices

The Asian Human Rights Commission is shocked to learn that a regional police commander in Thailand has recently given a substantial financial gift to five police officers convicted of murdering a teenager, Kiettisak Thitboonkrong, during the 2004 "war on drugs".

AHRC-STM-207-2012.JPGOn 25 September 2012, Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong Khongpetchsak, the Police Region 4 commander, presented Pol. Lt. Col. Sumitr Nanthasathit and his four colleagues with 100,000 baht (USD3265). This news was posted on the website of Police Region 4 (see here). According to the website, this money is intended as welfare support to the five police for "having been found guilty resulting from carrying about their duties at the Kalasin police station". (photo source: Royal Thai Police Region 4)

In a statement released shortly after the court decision in this case (AHRC-STM-157-2012), the AHRC welcomed the landmark conviction as a clear sign that the judiciary in Thailand was at last willing to hold the police to account for their use of extrajudicial violence against citizens. The action by Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong Khongpetchsak, by contrast, indicates a clear unwillingness of the police to draw a line between duty and extrajudicial violence, and also indicates unequivocal support of the police leadership for the use of extrajudicial violence against citizens.

Let us briefly revisit the facts of the case, in order to situate the actions of the regional police commander in compensating subordinates for an act of murder committed in the line of "duty". On 30 July 2012, in Black Case No. 3252/2552, 3466/2552, the Criminal Court found five out of the six police officers accused of murdering Kiettisak Thitboonkrong, age 17, in 2004. The six defendants were Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Angkarn Kammoonna, Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Sutthinant Noenthing, Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Phansilp Uppanant, Pol. Lt. Col. Samphao Indee, Pol. Col. Montree Sriboonloue, and Pol. Lt. Col. Sumitr Nanthasathit, all officers stationed in Kalasin Province, northeast Thailand. The police had arrested Kiettisak on 16 July 2004 for allegedly stealing a motorcycle. When his family heard this news, they went to the police station and attempted to talk to him. After returning multiple times, his grandmother was allowed to witness his interrogation on 22 July 2004 and told to wait for him to be bailed out later that day. But Kiettisak never came home and several days later his mutilated body was found in a neighbouring province. Following his death, his family launched a campaign to campaign to investigate and hold the police in Kalasin accountable for his murder and the murders of 27 other individuals by police of the same station during and following the so-called "war on drugs". After an extraordinary effort on their part, the court finally reached its verdict and sentenced three police officers to death for their actions, while one it sentenced to life imprisonment, and one to seven years in prison.

Rather than holding state officials who used extrajudicial violence against these citizens to account, in Thailand the perpetrators of crimes have often been rewarded. The alleged police abductors and killers of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, for instance, obtained promotions even as a criminal case was proceeding against them in court. Others accused of torture and killings have been transferred to "inactive" postings, considered discipline enough in cases that obtain a large amount of public attention and outcry. But in most cases, the perpetrators have enjoyed impunity by the expediency of inaction. They are tacitly and conveniently ignored. Consequently, one of the long-term effects of these cumulative practices has been the further consolidation of impunity for state violence in Thailand.

Therefore, the case of Kiettisak Thitboonkrong stands out among other cases of extrajudicial killing in Thailand over the last ten years, in which courts have been unwilling to hold state officials to account, including the cases of the mass deaths in custody following the Tak Bai incident of October 2004, and the April-May 2010 killings in Bangkok. Even in cases in which courts have ruled that a citizen has died in custody due to the actions of state officials, such as the March 2009 torture and death of Imam Yapa Kaseng, the actions of officials have been classed as matters of official "duty" and the perpetrators have thereby been exempted from prosecution.

The action by Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong Khongpetchsak is an attempt to undo the courageous stand taken by the Criminal Court and thereby restore the "normal" order of things, in which police enjoy impunity for torture, killing, enforced disappearance and other gross abuses of human rights. Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong’s financial gift to the five police officers, and the assertion that it is to aid them in facing a conviction that arose from actions they took while carrying out their duty speaks to a culture of non-accountability that pervades the Royal Thai Police. It is an act that defies the court's attempt to place the police under the very laws that they claim to enforce. Indeed, it is an act that erases the line between law and extrajudicial violence altogether, by implying that to torture and murder a young man are acts that are consonant with the normal course of a police officer's duty, and not acts for which he ought to be punished.

Further, the lack of clarity as to whether or not the financial gift was an official gift by the police force or a personal gift by Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong raises an additional concern about the form of impunity present within the Thai police. The report about the gift on the Police Region 4 website included a text description of the gift as well as three photographs, including one which showed the presentation of the money from Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong to the five police officers. Notably, the five police officers were still in uniform, since they are remaining in the police service while on bail pending appeal, despite the fact that they are convicted criminals. Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong, on the other hand, was out of uniform. While this choice of clothing may have been meant to signal that the gift was an unofficial, personal one, by posting the photos and news on the Police Region 4 website, the message of official approval for the gift is clear. Whether impunity for extrajudicial violence is ensured through official police policy, or through unofficial-yet-acknowledged networks of patronage, the message from the police to citizens is "we will protect ourselves, not you". It is a message with which the people of Thailand are all too familiar.

The Asian Human Rights Commission calls on Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong specifically, and the Thai police apparatus broadly, to take a clear stand against extrajudicial violence in the case of the murder of Kiettisak Thitboonkrong and in so doing, make the distinction between duty and murder. It calls on Pol. Lt. Gen. Sompong to take back his financial gift. It calls on the Royal Thai Police force to suspend without pay the five policemen found guilty of heinous criminal offences subject to the outcome of their appeal cases, and to cease rewarding and instead begin punishing those in its ranks who are known torturers and killers. Unfortunately, the number of such policemen in Thailand is not small, and the process of rooting them out of the ranks will be long and arduous, but it must begin somewhere. The Criminal Court has given the police force an opportunity in this case to do just that. The Royal Thai Police ought to seize this opportunity to at last start acting like a professional force, rather than like a criminal gang in uniform, and join with the court to oppose murderous policemen, instead of defying the court to protect the killers in its ranks who justify their every deed in the name of "duty".

Farmers Suicide in Maharashtra

Special Report
By Soheb Lokhandwala

Protest in India

Parliamentary committee on agriculture visited on 2nd March 2012 to the suicide-prone areas of Vidarbha& termed the spiraling suicides by farmers as 'National Shame'.

The worst hit region is both Marthwada and Vidarbha as this region lack the basic facility of irrigation and crop failure due to ‘false seed’ supply (BT cotton). The agrarian crisis still persists the farmers are still debt ridden; the year 2011 saw nearly 900 farmers’ suicides cases and this year about 70 farmers and every day at least one or two farmers die alone in entire State which is sad and shocking.

MPJ‘s demand to implement Dr Narendra Jadhav report on Dec 2010 & for the same a rally was taken to Nagpur Assembly on 7th Dec 2010 to highlight the plights of our farmers and demanding the implementation of Dr Narendra Jadhav report and the memorandum was submitted to the minister. If the Govt of Mahrashtra had then accepted the demands made by MPJ regards to progress of farmers and agriculture as a whole, we would had seen a better prospect in our State now.

Farmers in Maharashtra Vidarbha& Marathwada region have been committing suicides unfailingly, this in-spite of the debt waiver packages.MPJ had even that time protested that the land holding for debt waiver to be increased for dry land farmers and that merely the debt waiver will not liberate the farmers and farm crisis unless farming becomes profitable and a long term solution is mooted out. Seeking the long term vision to make our State progressive and stop the farmer’s suicide. We are again demanding the implementation of Dr. Narendra Jadhav committee report in Mah. Dr.N.Jadhav has given various recommendations for the benefit of farmers like:-

Irrigation Facilities: - For accelerating the annual agricultural growth rate to 4.4%&above in the State of Maharashtra, a very substantial improvement in the irrigation facilities in a balanced manner would be necessary.

Supply of Credit:-Reorganization of Rural Financial Institutions. Reasonable Prices for Agricultural Produce. Creation of Agent-free Marketing System. Supply of Good Quality Seeds. Improved Crop Insurance Scheme. Coupon-based Grants for Fertilizers and Pesticides. Medication for Crop-Diseases. Infrastructural Facilities- Setting up of rural warehouses and cold storage facilities. 10) Appropriate Technology, Distribution and Marketing.

For Food security, progress of Agriculture and its development, farmers must be protected which is only possible when our planning are farmer’s centric. If the report is not implemented MPJ will pressurize the Govt of Mah. in all democratic ways.

Jul-Sep 2012

Apr-Jun 2012

Jan-Mar 2012

Oct-Dec 2011

Oct-Dec 2011

Jul-Sep 2011

Apr-June, 2011

Jan-Mar 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008