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SACW | Jan.29-30, 2007

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | January 29-30, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2355 - Year 8 [1] Nepal: RSS s Hindu fanatics fuel the riots - Royalists Fish in Terai Trouble
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2007
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | January 29-30, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2355 - Year 8

      [1] Nepal: RSS's Hindu fanatics fuel the riots -
      Royalists Fish in Terai Trouble (Bharat Bhushan)
      [2] India - Gujarat: Where fascist goons hold sway
      - Non-screening of 'Parzania' in Gujarat is a
      shocking curb on freedom of expression (Soli
      Sorabjee)
      - PUCL condemns the "ban" on film 'Parzania'
      declared by Sangh Parivar's groups
      [3] India: Development as dispossession (Praful Bidwai)
      [4] India: Online Petition 'Presidential
      Clemency For Mohd. Afzal Guru' (deadline extended
      till 7 Feb)
      [5] India: Karnataka - politico - religious row
      over menu of mid-day school meal :
      - The 'Ande Ka Funda' Debate (M. Radhika)
      - Eggs become a bone of contention
      [6] India: Alien and imported Gulf version of
      Islam finding a home in India (Borzou Daragahi)
      [7] Upcoming Events:
      (i) A Convention of the Internally Displaced in
      Gujarat (Ahmedabad, February 1,2007)
      (ii) 1st Walter Sisulu Memorial Lecture by AM
      Kathrada (New Delhi, February 2, 2007)
      ____


      [1]


      The Telegraph
      January 29, 2007

      ROYALISTS FISH IN TERAI TROUBLE
      by Bharat Bhushan

      Madhesi Janadhikar Forum activists demonstrate in Jaleswor, Mahottari

      The April-2006 uprising in Nepal had three
      objectives: a peaceful resolution of the Maoist
      insurgency; an end to the king's autocratic rule;
      and the restructuring of the Nepalese state.While
      the first aim of the popular uprising has
      virtually been achieved, it is the fate of the
      monarchy and the restructuring of the state,
      which continue to pose major political
      challenges. Although in its death throes, the
      Nepalese monarchy is making a last ditch effort
      for survival. There are indications that the
      traditionally marginalized people of the Terai or
      Madhya-desh ("Madhesis") are being used to create
      instability in the country in the hope of
      preventing the constituent assembly elections.

      Nepal's Terai is on fire. There have been
      disturbances in Siraha, Saptari, Janakpur,
      Biratnagar, Inaruwa, Birganj, Rautahat, Bara and
      other districts of the Terai adjoining the Indian
      border. Sectarian violence is being fomented all
      over the Terai between the Paharis (inhabitants
      of the hills) and the Madhesis. The statues of
      the democratic movement - B.P. Koirala, Manmohan
      Adhikary and Ganesh Mansingh - are being
      deliberately targeted and damaged. In Rautahat,
      the ancestral house of Madhav Kumar Nepal,
      general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal
      (United Marxist Leninist), was set on fire. There
      is police firing and dawn-to-dusk curfew in
      several towns. The grievances of the Madhesis are
      genuine. These Maithili, Bhojpuri and
      Awadhi-speaking Nepalese, who look, dress and
      talk like their neighbours in India, are often
      derisively referred to as "Indians". They have
      been systematically excluded from the political
      process and till recently denied Nepalese
      citizenship.

      Brahmins and Rajputs (Bahuns and Chhetris) from
      the hills dominate Nepal's state and politics.
      Although the Madhesis officially comprise 35 per
      cent of the population, they are grossly
      under-represented in the political parties.
      Except the avowedly Madhesi Sadbhavana Party,
      with its two factions led by Anandi Devi and
      Badri Mandal, none of the parties have any
      Madhesis as their national office bearers. The
      presence of Madhesis in their central committee
      or national executive is nowhere near adequate.
      Moreover, the national parties have tended to
      field non-Madhesi candidates from the Terai
      constituencies for parliament. Their district
      presidents in the Terai are mostly Paharis. The
      representation of the Terai in parliament is also
      lopsided because of the size of a constituency
      has no relation to the number of voters. In the
      hilly areas, there are constituencies with only
      5,000 voters, while in the Terai, a single
      constituency can have over 5 lakh voters.

      The Madhesis are also under-represented in the
      army, the police and in civilian administration.
      In the army, there are hardly any Madhesi
      commissioned officers. There are well-educated
      Madhesi doctors and engineers in Nepal but there
      is not a single Madhesi chief district officer in
      any of the 75 districts of the country. However,
      the Madhesis complain of discrimination not only
      based on past experiences. They also fear that in
      the course of building a new Nepal, they may be
      left out once again, as the Paharis may not want
      to share power with them. This fear may be
      unfounded in the new political environment but
      the Madhesis do not want the constituent assembly
      election to be held till the issue of their
      representation is sorted out.

      It is nor surprising, therefore, that there is a
      lot of support among the people of the Terai for
      the struggle for Madhesi rights as well as other
      issues such as a unified Terai, land reforms,
      citizenship, increase in development aid and
      accountability for past discrimination. It is
      unlikely that these agitations will die down
      through police repression, as the issues that are
      being raised are not law and order problems. To
      be fair, it was the Maoists who first organized
      the Madhesis under the Madhesi Rashtriya Mukti
      Morcha. Now, three other groups have come up. The
      Jantantrik Terai Mukti Morcha, led by Jai Krishna
      Goit, first broke away from the Maoists. Then,
      another faction, also called JTMM, and led by
      Jwala Singh, broke away from Goit's group. Both
      were with the Maoists earlier and advocated the
      use of arms to liberate the Terai. Former
      schoolteacher, Upendra Yadav, a former activist
      of CPN (UML), leads the third group called the
      Madhesi Janadhikar Forum.

      The two JTMM groups have also used the cover of
      Madhesi rights to indulge in criminal activities,
      including kidnapping, robberies and smuggling
      across the Indo-Nepal border. Now monarchist
      parties, such as the Lok Janshakti Party led by
      the former prime minister, Surya Bahadur Thapa,
      the two factions of the Rashtriya Prajatantrik
      Party, one led by Pashupati Shamshere Jang
      Bahadur Rana and the other by Kamal Thapa and
      Rabindranath Sharma, and the Sadbhavna Party, are
      believed to be stoking the fire in the Terai.
      While Goit and Jwala Singh's groups may be
      amenable to talks with Kathmandu on Madhesi
      rights, Upendra Yadav's group, allegedly fronting
      for the monarchists, has refused to talk.

      Nepalese political observers also point to the
      role being played by Hindu extremist
      organizations from India in fomenting trouble in
      the Terai to save the king. A high-ranking
      Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh representative from
      Nagpur is believed to have held a meeting in
      Gorakhpur with several royalists, including
      Upendra Yadav and members of the Sadbhavna Party.
      The role played by the local Indian MP, Mahant
      Avaidhyanath, is also being questioned by some in
      this regard. Whether there is any truth to these
      conspiracies or not is difficult to say. But it
      stands to reason that the king will encourage
      these groups because it suits him to destabilize
      the situation in the hope of carving out some
      space for himself. What seems clear to the
      Madhesis, however, is that if there is going to
      be power-sharing in the new Nepal, then they have
      to be accommodated in the constituent assembly.
      Their chance of making their presence felt in
      Nepal's politics and gain fair representation in
      the administration and the political process is
      staring them in the face.

      It makes no sense for the Madhesi leadership to
      now push the royalist agenda. If they fight the
      king's battles, and let this opportunity slip, it
      will be an uphill task to undo the damage. Even
      if they take up arms, no one is going to write
      another interim constitution for them or organize
      another interim parliament. They should ditch the
      royalists, engage in a dialogue with the
      government and help devise new models of
      governance that would make Nepal a strong federal
      and pluralist democracy.

      The debate on the kind of federalism that Nepal
      needs is just beginning. Should the Terai be one
      province or three, based on language and ethnic
      differences? Should Nepalese federalism unite the
      Paharis and the Madhesis or divide them? The
      federal model Nepal chooses should unite the
      masses. Those who seek to divide Nepal should
      look at the mess we have made in India and take
      heed.

      ______


      [2] [ India: Hindutva's assault on freedom of
      expression continues unabated ! ]

      (i)

      Indian Express
      January 30, 2007

      The right to offend

      NON-SCREENING OF 'PARZANIA' IN GUJARAT IS A
      SHOCKING CURB ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

      by Soli Sorabjee

      The film, Parzania, based on the horrific attack
      on Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad in which 39
      people were burnt alive, can be exhibited in any
      place in India except in the state of Gujarat.
      The Gujarat government has not banned its
      exhibition. What is the reason for this strange
      phenomenon?

      The Bajrang Dal has issued veiled intimidatory
      warnings to cinema theatre owners who are
      exhorted to keep the interest of the state in
      mind before screening the movie. Theatre owners
      and exhibitors are hard-headed businessmen, not
      passionate champions of freedom of expression. In
      view of practical ground realities they have
      chosen not to ignore Bajrang Dal's ominous
      admonitions and have taken refuge in
      self-censorship. This is deplorable. It is
      reminiscent of the times when freedom of
      expression was severely threatened by militant
      groups in Punjab and J&K who dictated to the
      press what should or should not be printed upon
      pain of bodily harm. A respected editor in Punjab
      was assassinated for expressing views which were
      unpalatable to the militants. We cannot afford
      even the possibility of recurrence of such sordid
      events.

      Censorship, legal and extra-legal, is a serious
      inroad on freedom of expression. Censorship is
      highly subjective and essentially mindless. The
      main motivation for censorship is intolerance.
      Conventional wisdom and official ideology cannot
      be allowed to be questioned and criticised and
      must suppressed. Portrayal of historical events
      which depict a government or certain persons or
      groups in an unfavourable light cannot be
      tolerated and should therefore be suppressed by
      recourse to censorship. One of the grounds for
      demanding the non-exhibition of the movie is the
      anticipated likelihood of law and order problems
      owing to the revival of painful memories.

      The Supreme Court had to deal with a similar
      issue in connection with the serial, Tamas. A
      writ petition was filed by an advocate in the
      Supreme Court for restraining the serial's
      telecast on the ground that its exhibition which
      depicted communal tension and violence during the
      pre-Partition period could lead to serious law
      and order problems and thus adversely affect
      communal harmony. The Supreme Court rejected the
      plea and held that "Tamas takes us to a
      historical past, unpleasant at times, but
      revealing and instructive". It further ruled:
      "Truth in its proper light indicating the evils
      and the consequences of those evils is
      instructive and that message is there in Tamas -
      and viewed from an average, healthy and common
      sense point of view there cannot be any
      apprehension that Tamas is likely to affect
      public order or incite the commission of any
      offence. On the other hand, it is more likely
      that it will prevent incitement to such offences
      in future by extremists and fundamentalists."

      In the case of the film, Ore Oru Gramathile, a
      determined effort was made to ban its exhibition
      by a group of persons who regarded its theme and
      presentation as hostile to the policy of
      reservation of jobs and seats in educational
      institutions in favour of SCs and backward
      classes. Threats were issued by these groups to
      release snakes and burn down the theatres in
      which the movie was screened. The Madras High
      Court revoked the certificate granted to the
      movie by the Censor Board and restrained its
      exhibition. The SC promptly reversed the high
      court judgment. In its landmark judgment, it
      approved the observations of the European Court
      of Human Rights that "freedom of expression
      protects not merely ideas that are accepted but
      those that offend, shock or disturb the State or
      any sector of the population. Such are the
      demands of the pluralism, tolerance and
      broadmindedness without which there is no
      democratic society." The court laid down an
      extremely important principle that "freedom of
      expression cannot be suppressed on account of
      threats of demonstration and processions or
      threats of violence. That would be tantamount to
      negation of the rule of law and surrender to
      blackmail and intimidation. Freedom of expression
      which is legitimate and constitutionally
      protected cannot be held to ransom by an
      intolerant group of people".

      These salutary principles cannot be
      over-emphasised in view of the alarming rise of
      intolerance. It is depressing that we have
      reached a stage where even a moderate expression
      of a different point of view is met with
      hostility. Of late there have been vociferous
      demands for bans. The banning itch has become
      infectious. Sikhs are offended by certain words
      in the title of a movie, Christians want the
      movie The Da Vinci Code banned because they find
      it hurtful, the production of Deepa Mehta's Water
      had to be abandoned in India because of
      disruptive protests by some intolerant groups.

      The nadir of intolerance was reached when the
      prestigious Bhandarkar Institute at Pune, where
      American author James Laine had done research and
      had written a biography of Shivaji which
      contained some unpalatable references, was
      vandalised by bigots and invaluable manuscripts
      were destroyed. Consider the case of actor Aamir
      Khan. One may disagree with his views or
      criticise him for supporting the Narmada Bachao
      Aandolan movement. However, to burn his posters,
      prohibit the screening of his films and subject
      him in Gujarat to social and economic sanctions
      is terrifying intolerance.

      Of all the threats to our democracy the gravest
      is the rise of intolerance which is utterly
      incompatible with democratic values and must be
      curbed. The state is under an obligation not to
      infringe the fundamental rights of its citizens.
      This obligation is not merely negative in nature.
      It is a well-settled principle of human rights
      jurisprudence that the state also has a positive
      obligation to promote fundamental rights by
      preventing non-state actors, for example, like
      the Bajrang Dal, from de facto violating freedom
      of expression and also to take necessary steps
      against them. The state cannot remain a mute
      spectator and by its non-action permit freedom of
      expression, a cherished fundamental right
      guaranteed by the Constitution, to be held to
      ransom.

      The Gujarat government has a good record of clean
      and efficient administration. Its able chief
      minister owes it to himself, to the state and to
      the country to curb onslaughts on the precious
      freedom of expression in the state by a bunch of
      bigots and fanatics.

      The writer is a former attorney general for India


      o o o o

      (ii)

      PRESS RELEASE

      DATE: 30th JANUARY 2007

      PUCL CONDEMNS THE "BAN" ON FILM 'PARZANIA'
      DECLARED BY SANGH PARIVAR'S GROUPS AND THE
      "SUPPORT" OF THE GOVERNMENT OF GUJARAT BY KEEPING
      MUM.

      We are also very much disturbed when the
      viewpoints of few groups like Bajrang Dal is
      considered as the viewpoint of 5 crore Gujaratis.
      – People’s Union for Civil Liberties

      It is time for sensible people not to be silent
      spectators but to speak out against such fascist
      attitude of groups like Bajrang Dal.

      We the common people of Gujarat always get
      disturbed on the issue of violence, whether it is
      domestic violence within the family, caste
      violence, communal violence or violence by State
      and Government on the working class. We are also
      very much disturbed when the viewpoints of few
      groups like Bajrang Dal is considered as the
      viewpoint of 5 crore Gujaratis. It is time for
      sensible people not to be silent spectators but
      speak out against fascist attitudes of groups
      like Bajrang Dal.

      On 28th January 2007 an important meeting of PUCL
      discussed in detail regarding the unlawful "ban"
      on film Parzania declared by the Sangh Parivar
      groups. By keeping mum on the issue, the
      Government of Gujarat has endorsed the "ban"
      declared by them. We, the activists of PUCL
      condemn the Sangh Parivar's unlawful "ban" on
      'Parzania'.

      Parzania is a film by the Ahmedabad-based
      director Rahul Dholakia, which portrays the
      shocking story of a Parsi family caught in the
      vortex of violence unleashed on innocent people
      of Gujarat in 2002. This is not the first time
      that groups like Bajrang Dal, backed by the BJP,
      have gotten away with such undemocratic and
      unconstitutional actions in Gujarat.

      This unlawful "ban" on ‘Parzania’ in Gujarat, is
      a slap on the face of all those who uphold the
      values of free speech and justice. We express our
      compassion and solidarity to Dara Modi and
      family, whose son has been missing since the
      massacre in 2002 and on whose experience the film
      is based, and to the hundreds of other families
      in Gujarat and elsewhere who have suffered
      immensely because of mindless violence and hatred.

      We strongly feel that this film needs to be
      screened in Gujarat more than any other State in
      India. The State Government, instead of tacitly
      supporting the unlawful "ban", should encourage
      the screening of this film and ensure total
      protection to cinema owners, distributors and the
      viewers.

      We demand that the Government of Gujarat take
      stern legal action against those who have gone on
      record saying that they will not allow this film
      to be screened. Those who oppose the screening
      should be made to realize that they and their
      methods cannot be tolerated in a democracy. The
      litmus test of a democracy is the right to
      dissent. It is easy for majoritarian views to be
      tolerated. Democracy needs the right to differ,
      debate and dissent like we need the air we
      breathe. The rule of law needs to prevail and
      that means respecting differences.

      Surely, a State that wants to project itself as a
      place that welcomes free enterprise would not
      want to give the impression of encouraging
      lawlessness and intolerance. Diversity needs to
      be appreciated not merely tolerated. In that lies
      our collective welfare. And safety.

      FOR People’s Union for Civil Liberties
      Dr. J. S. Bandukwala
      Rohit Prajapati
      Chinu Srinivasan
      Bharati Pramar
      Johannes Manjrekar
      Dr. Sujat Vali
      Raj Kumar Hans
      Trupti Shah
      Maya Valecha
      Mukesh Semwal
      Tapan Dasgupta
      Naginbhai Patel
      Ziya Pathan
      Jagdish Patel
      Amrish Brahmbhatt
      Manzur Saleri,
      Yusuf Shaikh
      Dhriu Mistry
      Shivani Patel

      ______


      [3]

      Kashmir Times
      29 January 2007

      From Singur to Nandigram and beyond
      DEVELOPMENT AS DISPOSSESSION

      by Praful Bidwai

      If and when ordinary mortals like you and me buy
      land, we search high and low for an affordable
      piece, hire brokers, make several trips to
      different sites, and borrow bank loans, which we
      must repay through our nose over 10 or 15 years.
      Besides these high transaction costs in time and
      money, we also pay stamp duty to the government,
      which is usually a good eight percent of the
      land's value.
      None of this applies to India's biggest business
      house (and one of its oldest industrial
      families), namely, the Tatas-at least as far as
      the Singur car project is concerned. The Tatas
      are no ordinary mortals. In fact so special are
      they that West Bengal's Left Front woos them with
      the choice of six different sites, besides the
      Uttarakhand and Orissa governments. They choose
      one at Singur, next to an expressway, in one of
      Bengal's most fertile tracts, just 45 km from
      Kolkata. But they do so after stipulating a
      series of conditions.
       The government must procure the land for them.
      This will cost it Rs 140 crores. But the Tatas
      will pay only Rs 20 crores, after five years.
       They will pay no stamp duty.
       They must have a contiguous plot of 997 acres
      (almost 400 hectares, or 40 lakh square metres).
      No Indian car factory has anything approaching
      this area. (Even Tata Motors's giant Pune factory
      has only 188 acres, including housing for
      employees.)
       The factory proper, say the Tatas, will have a
      built-up area of only 1.5 lakh sq m, or under 4
      percent of the land acquired.
       The land must be fenced off and protests
      suppressed. The Tatas mendaciously accused their
      "competitors" of fomenting the protests, but
      couldn't name them when challenged.
      That's not all. The Tatas demanded "compensation"
      for "sacrificing" the 16 percent excise duty
      exemption offered by Uttarakhand for locating the
      car factory. This means "upfront infrastructural
      assistance" worth Rs 160 crore on a Rs
      1,000-crore project. Besides, the hyped-up "Rs 1
      lakh car" will probably cost a fair bit more. It
      be must be "cross-subsidised."
      So, says The Statesman, the Left Front government
      has gifted 50 acres of prime land to the Tatas in
      Rajarhat New Town and another 200 acres in the
      Bhangar-Rajarhat Area Development Authority for
      building IT and residential townships.
      This is an obnoxious "sweetheart deal". The Left
      Front government isn't promoting healthy
      development or even straightforward risk-taking
      capitalism. It's the most detestable form of
      risk-free investment which dispossesses people to
      generate super-profits.
      The Tatas claim the project will directly
      generate 2,000 jobs and indirectly, 8,000. But
      noted economist Amit Bhaduri estimates it will
      produce just about 300, besides indirect
      employment for 1,000. In the process, Singur's
      flourishing economy, where two-thirds of land is
      multi-cropped with vegetables and paddy, will be
      devastated, along with the livelihoods-of
      landowners, sharecroppers (bargadars), but of
      landless workers and rural artisans.
      Singur will witness counter-reform, a reversal of
      the most successful land reform ever undertaken
      in West Bengal. Even the bargadars' share in the
      land (75 percent, against the absentee landlord's
      25 percent) will be reversed in the land
      compensation formula. No wonder, the West Bengal
      government had to resort to repression, including
      mass arrests, Sec 144 and physical attacks, to
      enforce the "sweetheart deal".
      Singur's injustice was soon compounded by the
      government's ham-handed attempt to take over an
      even larger 10,000 acres at Nandigram for a
      Special Economic Zone for Indonesia's unsavoury
      Selim Group. Here, the resistance was even more
      fierce. It came not from the Trinamool Congress,
      but from the Left, including the Communist Party
      of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and
      the Far Left. Nandigram, at the heart of the
      Tebhaga movement of the 1940s, is a CPI
      stronghold.
      Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee had to
      admit that Nandigram was a mistake. But he blamed
      the Haldia Development Authority for it: for
      issuing the land acquisition notification without
      "authorisation". This won't wash. The involvement
      of Communist Party (Marxist) cadres, the police,
      and the very composition of the Authority,
      militate against the explanation.
      Nandigram is part of the larger SEZ syndrome
      which afflicts India. SEZs have become the main
      instrument of dispossession of peasant farmers.
      They are a despicable combination of private
      greed and state collusion. SEZs, as this Column
      argued in mid-September, are costly ways of
      promoting enclave-style elitist export-oriented
      industrialisation. They'll grant wholly
      undeserved tax cuts to promoters and inflict a
      loss upon the exchequer, estimated by the Finance
      Ministry, at a horrifying Rs 160,000 crores.
      Yet, the government has approved 237 SEZs with
      34,509 hectares and notified 63 of them. Another
      165 SEZs have been approved in principle, for
      which another 148,663 hectares is to be acquired.
      Applications for another 300 are pending.
      SEZs have not proved a success in most countries,
      including China. In fact, Shenzhen, China's
      best-known SEZ, has turned out a nightmare for
      workers. The mere loss of an identity card can
      turn them into destitute overnight. Above all,
      SEZs are a gigantic real estate scam. Most are
      meant to grab land close to the big cities and
      extract monopoly profits.
      SEZs also put the cart before the horse:
      displacement without prior rehabilitation, with
      potentially disastrous social, cultural and
      political consequences. Prime Minister Manmohan
      Singh has himself acknowledged this by calling
      for a "humane" approach to resettlement. The
      government is now redrafting the National Policy
      for Resettlement and Rehabilitation.
      Its Group of Ministers has temporarily put the
      SEZ land acquisition process on hold. It knows
      pushing acquisition could cost the United
      Progressive Alliance dearly in the coming
      elections. The Congress party has made an
      internal assessment of SEZs in a 16-page document
      prepared by Mr N Veerappa Moily. This says that
      SEZs will create conflict due to "dispossession
      and displacement", including urban conflicts
      through infrastructure bottlenecks. "They (SEZs)
      have the potential to cause embarrassment to the
      government of the day."
      The publication of a story quoting this
      assessment has certainly embarrassed the UPA!
      Although Mr Moily has publicly dissociated
      himself from it, the judgment is basically sound.
      But the UPA is fighting shy of radically revising
      its SEZ policy. It has only called for a cap on
      the number of SEZs. What is needed is the
      scrapping of SEZs altogether because they are
      economically irrational, socially divisive, and
      thoroughly inequitable.
      This is not to argue against industrial projects
      per se. We must vigorously promote industry, but
      with a balanced, reasoned approach. We must make
      it mandatory for the government to consult the
      people likely to be affected in advance, and
      establish institutional norms for compensation,
      resettlement and rehabilitation. Equally crucial
      is thorough socio-economic examination of the
      consequences of industrial projects and strict
      environment regulation.
      It won't do to commandeer land first and then
      look for ways of compensating the affected
      people. It's especially inadvisable to offer them
      equity shares in companies related to the
      projects that take away their land. This will, in
      most cases, transfer risks to vulnerable groups
      who are least capable of making decisions about
      stocks and shares. The number of shareholders in
      India is a minuscule 30 million; most people
      don't understand share markets.
      Offering shares could be an option in rare cases,
      where organised cooperatives exist, which are run
      by financially literate volunteers accountable to
      the gram sabha, and who have a proven commitment
      to collective welfare. That concept includes not
      just landowners, but also the landless and other
      economic actors, from the sanitation worker to
      the mechanic, and from the ironsmith to the
      barber, whose livelihood depends on the rural
      economy.
      However, supporters of
      industrialisation-at-any-cost, including Mr
      Bhattacharjee, contend that very little fallow
      land is available in India (in West Bengal, only
      one percent of the total), and hence cultivable
      land must be "sacrificed" to industry.
      Historically, they say, industrialisation has
      never been painless. It has always extracted a
      price from peasants-even in the USSR and China.
      India follow that model of expropriation.
      This argument is profoundly mistaken-not only
      because it imposes pain disproportionately on the
      weak. Industrialisation in much of the West did
      expropriate the peasantry through "enclosures",
      systematic impoverishment, and mass-scale human
      rights violations. The same happened in the
      Soviet Union under Stalin. But we should not
      imitate and repeat the blunders of a period when
      democracy was non-existent and human rights
      unknown.
      In India, we have launched a Grand
      Endeavour-based on the aspiration to modernise
      society and develop the economy in balanced,
      equitable ways within a robustly democratic and
      inclusive framework which respects human rights
      and social justice. We have a unique opportunity
      to create a shining example of inclusive
      industrialisation for the world. We must not turn
      our face against the Grand Endeavour.

      ______



      [4]


      [ Please, endorse the petition to the President
      of India ; Sign on petition open for signature at:
      http://www.petitiononline.com/CMAG/petition.html

      THE 31 JANUARY 2007 DEADLINE FOR SIGNATURES HAS
      BEEN EXTENDED BY ONE WEEK, TILL 7 FEBRUARY 2007 ]

      o o o

      PRESIDENTIAL CLEMENCY FOR MOHD. AFZAL GURU

      19 January 2007

      Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
      President of India
      Rashtrapati Bhavan
      New Delhi

      Dear Dr. Abdul Kalam,

      When the then President of India rejected the
      mercy petition of Kehar Singh, sentenced to death
      in the Indira Gandhi assassination case, the
      statement of the government was this: "The
      President is of the opinion that he cannot go
      into the merits of a case finally decided by the
      Highest Court of the Land."

      This was challenged by Kehar Singh, and a
      five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court (AIR 1989
      SC 653) held that the opinion formed by the then
      President was wrong because a decision of the
      Supreme Court can also be wrong.

      The President, the Supreme Court held, can
      determine whether or not a convict is guilty--the
      findings of the courts, including the Supreme
      Court, notwithstanding.

      Here are a few excerpts from the full-bench judgment:

      "... To any civilized society, there can be no
      attributes more important than the life and
      personal liberty of its members. That is evident
      from the paramount position given by the courts
      to Article 21 of the Constitution. These twin
      attributes enjoy a fundamental ascendancy over
      all other attributes of the political and social
      order and consequently, the Legislature, the
      Executive and the Judiciary are more sensitive to
      them than to the other attributes of daily
      existence. The deprivation of personal liberty
      and the threat of deprivation of life by the
      action of the State is in most civilized
      societies regarded seriously and recourse, either
      under express constitutional provision or through
      legislative enactment, is provided to the
      judicial organ. But, fallibility of human
      judgement being undeniable even in the most
      trained mind, ... it has been considered
      appropriate that in the matter of life and
      personal liberty, the protection should be
      extended by entrusting power further to some high
      authority to scrutinize the validity of the
      threatened denial of life or the threatened or
      continued denial of personal liberty. The power
      so entrusted is a power belonging to the people
      and reposed in the highest dignitary of the state.

      "... It is open to the President in the exercise
      of the power vested in him by Article 72 of the
      Constitution to scrutinize the evidence on the
      record of the criminal case and come to a
      different conclusion from that recorded by the
      court in regard to the guilt of, and sentence
      imposed on, the accused.

      "... It is apparent that the power under Article
      72 entitles the President to examine the record
      of evidence of the criminal case and to determine
      for himself whether the case is one deserving the
      grant of relief falling within that power. The
      President is entitled to go into the merits of
      the case notwithstanding that it has been
      judicially concluded by the consideration given
      to it by the Supreme Court."

      You will be aware, Sir, that the Supreme Court
      has without explanation rejected the curative
      petition filed by Mohd. Afzal Guru, sentenced to
      death in the Parliament attack case. That
      petition was the last option available to him
      through the courts. Now his only hope of living
      is the mercy petition which is with you.

      As we have seen, the Supreme Court itself has
      said, in a full-bench judgment, that it is in the
      nature of things that it can be wrong. We know
      that Mohd. Afzal Guru was convicted on the basis
      of circumstantial evidence and that from the
      start he had no effective legal defence. We know
      also that he was the victim of a shrill media
      campaign.

      The President has the power to re-examine the
      evidence and come to a conclusion different even
      from that of the Supreme Court. While a court is
      limited to examining the material placed before
      it, the President can take into account a wide
      range of considerations, including political,
      social and moral ones.

      The Supreme Court has referred only to the
      President's power under Article 72 of the
      Constitution. We wish to go further and say that
      it is the President's moral responsibility to
      ensure that injustice is not done to a citizen by
      depriving him of life or personal liberty.

      We urge you, Sir, to exercise your constitutional
      power in the matter of Mohd. Afzal Guru's mercy
      petition keeping in mind your moral
      responsibility and also the fact that your power
      was entrusted to you by us, your fellow citizens.


      Yours truly,

      Mukul Dube, N. D. Pancholi and Harsh Kapoor

      ______


      [5]


      Tehelka
      February 03 , 2007

      KARNATAKA : THE ANDE KA FUNDA DEBATE

      Eggs or bananas or milk? The Janata Dal (Secular)
      and the BJP are at loggerheads over what to
      include in the mid-day meal scheme

      M. Radhika
      Bangalore

      Ever thought eggs and bananas can trigger a
      clash? If you are still wondering, they have - in
      Karnataka. The humble egg has suddenly become the
      symbol of casteist purity following a controversy
      over supplying eggs to school children as part of
      the government-sponsored mid-day meal scheme.

      The controversy began recently when Chief
      Minister HD Kumaraswamy announced that eggs would
      be made a weekly item under the scheme for its
      nutrient value. Deputy Chief Minister BS
      Yediyurappa, a Lingayat leader, strongly opposed
      the move. The Lingayats are professedly
      vegetarian and the community pontiffs, who
      command a strong base in the northern districts
      of Karnataka, are spearheading the anti-egg
      campaign. They have formed a coalition with
      Jains, Buddhists and also Sikhs to oppose the
      'non-vegetarian move'. Others have supported the
      idea of giving away bananas instead of eggs. The
      state's dalits, on the other hand, are demanding
      that eggs be introduced as proposed. As a result
      of the egg-banana uproar, the mid-day meal
      scheme's implementation has been put on hold.

      By January 20, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy buckled
      under the pressure and opted for another option -
      milk. That too, "in the interest of farmers who
      depended on cows for livelihood."
      Karnataka is one of the most successful states in
      implementing the mid-day meal scheme that was
      introduced by the SM Krishna regime in 2002, for
      school children in Classes i to v in seven
      districts. It was extended to all the districts
      and children from Classes vi and vii were also
      made eligible for it. Currently, the scheme
      covers 55 lakh children and is funded by the
      Centre and the state government with the Centre
      contributing Re 1 per child per day and the state
      pitching in with Rs 2.02 per child per day. The
      scheme costs Rs 354 crore with the Central
      exchequer bearing Rs 65 crore of it. Also, 58
      ngos help the state government implement the
      programme, the most prominent of them being the
      International Society for Krishna Consciousness
      (iskcon). When the Centre increased its
      contribution from Re 1 to Rs 1.50 per child last
      year, the state government decided to distribute
      eggs.

      There were no protests when the state government
      announced it in October 2006. Over the past few
      weeks however, religious institutions, many of
      which support the BJP, as also ngos backed by
      religious bodies, threatened an agitation unless
      the government withdrew its egg order.

      But Mate Mahadevi, who heads a Lingayat
      institution in Bidar, denies any political motive
      behind the protests. "We are apolitical. We have
      an ideology to fight for, unlike political
      parties. Lingayats constitute one-third of the
      state's population and are vegetarians. No
      attempt should be made to hurt their traditional
      values," she told Tehelka.

      Her institution has formed the Federation of
      Vegetarian Communities and Organisations with
      other religious bodies to whip the egg in the
      mid-day meal. "If the state government implements
      the scheme, we will carry out a statewide
      agitation," said Mahadevi, even as she was
      awaiting news from a Cabinet meeting to discuss
      the issue. The federation has succeeded for a
      while, at least.

      Education department officials are miffed and
      blame it all on politics. "Why else did they not
      protest last October when the scheme was
      announced," asks an official requesting anonymity.
      The political twist to the controversy cannot be
      ignored. After losing face in the Chamundeshwari
      bypoll where former party leader Siddaramaiah
      defeated the official Janata Dal (Secular)
      candidate, it is ally BJP's turn to dominate the
      coalition.

      If not dramatically, differences have markedly
      increased between the ruling allies. The ruckus
      about the egg then boils down to a conflict
      between the egg-favouring Vokkaliga
      (Kumaraswamy's caste) and the Lingayat
      Yediyurappa.

      The reason for opting for the egg against milk,
      bananas or other pulses is logistics, says
      Commissioner of Public Instruction Madan Gopal,
      as cooking, transporting and storing eggs is far
      easier than having to deal with thousands of
      litres of milk. "It is not as if we are forcing
      eggs on children who do not want them. The school
      development and management committees that
      constitute parents are part of the process and
      only those children who want eggs will be given
      them. Many of them want eggs,'' says Madan Gopal.

      Nutritionists vouch for eggs among children.
      "There is no food that can equal eggs for
      protein. May be milk, dal and pulses put
      together, to an extent, but not as much,'' says
      Diet counsellor and consultant Lisa Sarah John.

      The problem, is that even religious institutions
      are divided on the egg issue - depending on which
      caste they belong to. Dalit organisations oppose
      the religious argument against eggs. "Egg is not
      about caste, as these religious bodies are trying
      to bring about. It's a wrong conception. Why
      should there be rules to eat eggs? In fact, I
      know many Lingayats who have eggs," says Bahujan
      Samajwadi Party state general secretary Vaijanath
      Suryavanshi. Mate Mahadavi disagrees. She insists
      that like school uniforms, food should be uniform
      too.

      With the number of egg supporters growing
      considerably, it is unlikely that Kumaraswamy can
      rid himself of the controversy easily.

      Basavaraj of the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi at
      the Indian Institute of Science, that takes up
      the cause of science for the people, blames
      politicians for opposing the egg move. "We cannot
      understand why people oppose it when eggs are
      already being supplied to children at some
      schools" he notes, adding, "it is political
      forces that want to benefit from this."

      A voice shriller than the rest is of
      Kumaraswamy's brother HD Revanna who attacked the
      government over eggs. "If you give eggs,
      attendants will love to gobble them up before the
      students. If you give milk, teachers will drink
      it," Revanna told the media. Revanna, is eyeing
      the deputy chief minister's post once the BJP's
      term to rule comes about as per the arrangement.
      Currently, he sounds more like the Opposition.
      Eggs are only an excuse for political posturing
      therefore

      o o o

      The Hindu - Jan 26, 2007

      Karnataka - Bangalore
      EGG HAS BECOME A BONE OF CONTENTION

      Staff Reporter

      Two groups stage protests in Bangalore justifying their stand

      # `State's plan on egg is in the best interests of children'
      # Religious heads favour milk, fruit

      DIVIDED: Members of the Federation of Indian
      Vegetarian Communities and Organisations staging
      a protest against the plan to include egg in the
      midday meal scheme, at Nehru Park ground in
      Bangalore on Thursday. (Right) Members of the
      Joint Action Foru m of Child Rights Alliances
      holding a demonstration in front of Town Hall in
      support of egg. - Photos: K. Gopinathan

      BANGALORE: A day before the State Government was
      expected to decide on including egg in midday
      meal scheme, groups holding divergent views on
      the issue staged separate demonstrations in
      Bangalore.

      The Joint Action Forum of Child Rights Alliances
      Karnataka held a protest in front of Town Hall in
      support of the Government's plan to provide egg
      to those who are willing to have it and milk or
      fruits to the other children. Hailing the
      Government's plan, the forum said it was in the
      best interests of children.

      Addressing the gathering, U.R. Ananthamurthy,
      writer, said, "Politics and religion should not
      be mixed and the Chief Minister should not yield
      to pressure. Egg should be given to those who
      would like to have it and undiluted milk to those
      who did not wish to have eggs."

      `Violation of rights'

      V.P. Niranjanaradhya of the School Development
      and Monitoring Committee Coordination Forum,
      said, "Development issues should not be mixed
      with politics and religion. Denying egg would be
      a violation of child rights."

      In fact, he pointed out, a survey conducted by
      the Department of Education had revealed that 84
      per cent of the children wanted egg in the midday
      meal scheme.

      Chairman of PUCL Hasan Mansoor, Amrose Pinto, writer, and others spoke.

      Another protest

      Heads of several religious institutions also
      staged a demonstration at Nehru Park Ground in
      Seshadripuram seeking a Government Order against
      providing egg permanently in midday meal scheme.

      They pointed out that milk should be given instead of egg.

      The demonstration organised by the Akhila
      Karnataka Prani Daya Sangha and Federation of
      Indian Vegetarian Communities and Organisations
      was attended by religious leaders, including
      Mathe Mahadevi of Basava Dharma Peetha.

      Justifying the role of religious leaders in the
      no-egg campaign, Mathe Mahadevi said, "Writers
      and intellectuals should not have a
      uni-dimensional approach to the problem.
      Religious heads have the responsibility of
      guiding society in religious and spiritual
      matters. Politicians should not involve
      themselves in religious matters."

      Mathe Mahadevi said several communities had
      restricted the use of egg in their dietary
      practices, and members of many communities had
      become vegetarians voluntarily.

      Stating that a communal colour was being given to
      the struggle, she said, opposition to providing
      egg in midday meal scheme was not based on any
      religion.

      She said, "Milk and fruits can be given to
      children whose religious beliefs do not allow
      consumption of egg."

      ______


      [6]


      Los Angeles Times
      January 28, 2007

      AUSTERE VERSION OF ISLAM FINDING A HOME IN INDIA
      Migrants returning from the Persian Gulf with
      stricter views are altering the melting pot in an
      Indian province.

      By Borzou Daragahi
      Times Staff Writer

      Vengara, India - The change came several years
      ago for Maryam Arrakal. Her husband brought a
      black, all-covering abaya back to this steamy,
      subtropical town from the desert sands of Saudi
      Arabia.

      It contrasted starkly with the pastel saris she normally wore.

      But in the 12 years that her husband, Kunchava,
      had been running a Saudi fabric shop, he had
      become detached from this melting pot of Muslims,
      Hindus and Christians, and more drawn to the
      Saudis' strict version of Islam.

      "I used to dress much more colorfully," said
      Arrakal, standing amid diesel fumes and frenetic
      auto-rickshaw drivers in Vengara's one-street
      downtown, a 7-month-old baby in her arms and a
      black cloak shrouding her figure. "But my husband
      brought this for me and prefers me to wear it."

      The migration to oil-rich Persian Gulf monarchies
      of as many as one in five men from India's Kerala
      province has brought an influx of money that pays
      for food, shelter and education. It also funds
      dowries for their daughters and gifts for their
      wives.

      But like many of the world's millions of economic
      migrants, the men bring back more than money.

      In this case, they brim with provocative ideas
      about the proper way to worship. And they pay for
      plain green mosques with minarets and Arabic
      writing that are far different than the ornate
      and bulbous temples where Muslims have long
      worshiped here.

      In Kerala, where Muslims are traditionally the
      poorest residents, those returning from the
      Persian Gulf say they are building pride in their
      community and connecting its members to the
      broader Islamic world. But others see the growth
      of sectarian politics and scattered religious
      violence as warning signs.

      "Kerala was a place in India known for communal
      harmony," said Hameed Chennamangloor, a writer
      and former professor of English at the Government
      Arts and Science College in Calicut, the main
      city in the province's heavily Muslim north.

      Historically, when rioting between Hindus and
      Muslims swept through India, Kerala remained calm.

      Now, Chennamangloor said, "There has been a rise
      in fundamentalist tendencies among a certain
      segment of Muslims."

      >From 40 days to 4 hours
      Trade winds across the Arabian Sea have carried
      merchants between the Persian Gulf and southern
      India since antiquity.

      When they arrived after 40 days at sea, Arab
      traders would stow their ships within Kerala's
      network of inland waterways.

      As the ships were loaded, the traders introduced
      local people to new ideas, melding the teachings
      of the Koran with local practices.

      Over the centuries, Kerala developed a relaxed
      mix of cultures and religions. The old mosques
      where Muslims worshiped were indistinguishable
      from Hindu temples. Muslims, Hindus and
      Christians attended one another's ceremonies and
      festivals. The region's colorful Sufi-influenced
      Islam includes such customs as visits to jungle
      shrines and reverence for local saints.

      But the weak economy forced many men to leave to
      find work. Filmmaker Abbas Pannakal said his late
      father boarded a rickety ship in 1970 for a
      journey to the United Arab Emirates that took two
      months and cost the lives of 17 passengers.

      "At first only Muslims went," said Pannakal, who
      is making a documentary about Indian-Arab
      relations. "They were willing to risk everything
      because they had so little to lose."

      As successive oil booms caused the Persian Gulf
      economy to soar, South Asians started migrating
      in droves. Air connections expanded. A trip to
      Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar or the
      United Arab Emirates was whittled to four hours.

      Scholars and government officials in India
      estimate that expatriate workers send back at
      least $20 billion a year. About 50% of Persian
      Gulf migrants from India come from Kerala.

      Transforming faith
      From the moment they arrive, migrants from Kerala
      are introduced to attitudes unknown at home. Some
      housing is for Hindus only; some employers openly
      prefer Muslims over Hindus or Christians.

      Some migrant workers are invigorated by living in
      a country with a Muslim majority. Others less
      enthusiastic about their new home cling to their
      faith out of loneliness and a sense of isolation.
      But they find a different interpretation of Islam.

      Arrakal's husband, Kunchava, 49, had little to do
      in his free time in Saudi Arabia but attend
      prayers and read the Koran. He gradually changed
      his views about life and faith, including how his
      wife dressed.

      "In traditional Indian garb, the woman's stomach
      is bare," he said. "Islamic dress covers up all
      the body parts."

      In study groups and at prayer gatherings
      throughout the Persian Gulf region, men such as
      Abdul Rahman Mohammed Peetee hammer away at
      Kerala's traditions. For them, paying homage to
      local saints or anyone other than God is
      sacrilege: The Koran and the sayings of the
      prophet Muhammad contain all that any Muslim
      needs.

      "You must study the Arab culture," Peetee, a
      Kerala native, told a gathering on the sixth
      floor of an office tower in Dubai, United Arab
      Emirates.

      The men howled in protest.

      "Some Arabs behave worse than us!" one cried.
      "Why should we study them? We have our own
      practices and culture."

      Peetee, a stout man with a collarless shirt
      buttoned to his neck, was relentless.

      "These practices are established by society," he said. "Not by the Koran."

      Religious foundations and wealthy individuals in
      countries such as Saudi Arabia also promote a
      more rigid version of Islam. Qatar and Saudi
      Arabia have government agencies devoted to the
      religious lives of Asian expatriates, often
      administered by preachers from their own
      communities.

      The Persian Gulf version of Islam fits the
      expatriate lifestyle: They can practice their
      faith in drab dormitories and on breaks during
      long work shifts. And it sanctifies their
      newfound riches. The wealth obtained by South
      Asian Muslims in the Persian Gulf is interpreted
      by many as a reward for service to God.

      "Being in the gulf you can see the miracles of
      God," said Mohammed Ismayli Olshery Kalathingal,
      a Kerala computer specialist at a Dubai bank.
      "You can see all the things here that you can't
      see in Kerala."

      Back home
      When it started out 28 years ago, the Markaz
      Sunni Cultural Center just east of Calicut was a
      tiny orphanage supporting 21 children. It has
      grown into an empire, with a complex of religious
      schools and colleges educating 10,000 students.
      Its orphanage is home to 1,700 children.

      Indian law requires that the white-clad students
      take classes in math, science and religion. But
      after school, they fan out across Calicut
      proselytizing in favor of an austere version of
      Islam.

      Though a charity, Markaz has real estate
      holdings, including shopping centers and hotels.
      Each year it sends 1,000 of its most devout
      students to the Persian Gulf region, mostly to
      work in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

      Increasingly, new mosques are led by clerics who
      trained in the Persian Gulf, though most are
      graduates of Indian seminaries.

      More wealth has meant that more Kerala Muslims
      have the time to pray five times a day and more
      can afford a religious education for their
      children. The new mosques enforce strict
      separation of the sexes.

      Impressed by the power of education, many
      returnees urge their daughters and sons to attend
      high school and college. But to placate their
      parents, women raised in conservative families
      often must abide by strict Islamic dress codes.

      By the 1990s, Kerala clothiers began
      mass-producing cheap Persian Gulf-style religious
      coverings for women. Now they are worn even at
      universities.

      "What the women wear depends on the trend in the
      gulf," said Fazel Kizhekkedath, a 24-year-old
      salesman at the Hoorulyn clothing wholesaler.
      "Now the trend is the abaya. Black is the new
      fashion now."

      Men also are being told by religious groups what
      to wear. One Islamic organization recently
      demanded that Muslim youths stop watching soccer
      and wearing T-shirts with team logos.

      N.G.S. Narayan, author of the foremost book on
      Calicut history, said he came face-to-face with
      the new attitude when he tried to conduct
      research at an old mosque. Thirty years ago he
      was welcome to restore and decipher ancient
      tablets. Recently he was turned away; non-Muslims
      were no longer allowed.

      Once Hindus used to head Muslim organizations and
      vice versa. Now Muslim groups urge followers to
      keep their children away from Hindu ceremonies.

      Muslim Indian scholars of the Deobandi school
      have preached similar ideas. But critics say the
      latest wave, fueled by Persian Gulf money,
      represents an Arab colonization of Kerala.

      "I am scared," said one moderate Muslim newspaper
      editor, who asked that his name not be published
      because it could harm his community standing.
      "The liberal Muslims, the moderate Muslims, are
      scared."

      Identity politics
      The religious awakening also has given rise to a new political assertiveness.

      Critics say Muslim organizations have set up de
      facto political machines, forcing parties on the
      left and right to woo extreme Islamic groups
      funded by Persian Gulf riches.

      Although it denies any active political
      involvement, Markaz and its leader, Kanthapuram
      Abu Bakr Musaliar, have become major players in
      southern India.

      "Now he's a kingmaker," Chennamangloor said. "He's got a vote bank."

      Kerala's elders often boasted that Hindus,
      Muslims, Christians and a smattering of smaller
      religious groups were Indians first. Religious
      identity took a back seat to class interests. The
      Communist Party and the conservative Indian
      National Congress dominated elections.

      During recent ballots in a Muslim enclave near
      Calicut, both the Communist Party and
      conservatives plastered walls with pictures of
      Saddam Hussein. Even before the controversy over
      his execution, Hussein's trial had become a cause
      celebre among Muslims, largely because of the
      region's connection to the Persian Gulf.

      "Social life has been politicized," Narayan said.
      "Muslim community organizations found that they
      could corner all the Muslim votes."

      Many worry that the status quo has begun to unravel.

      In January 2002 and May 2003, 14 people were
      killed in riots between Muslims and Hindus in
      Calicut. And in February 2005, suspected Hindu
      nationalists attacked a mosque in the town of
      Vallikunnam at the end of evening prayers,
      killing one and injuring two.

      "Muslims themselves are worried by the rise of
      the militant Islamic organizations," said Ajai
      Mangat, Calicut correspondent for the Malayalam
      Manorama, the province's largest daily newspaper.
      "If they become more powerful, the Hindu
      nationalists become more powerful."

      ______


      [7] UPCOMING EVENTS:

      (i)

      The Uprooted: Caught between Existence and Denial

      A CONVENTION OF THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED IN GUJARAT

      February 1,2007

      Heerak Mahotsav Hall
      Gujarat Vidyapeeth
      Ahmedabad, Gujarat


      Nearly five years to the carnage in Gujarat in
      2002, the wounds refuse to heal. And the battle
      against collective, national amnesia must
      continue. It bears repeating that this was a
      massacre unprecedented in independent India. For
      it was a massacre openly led by the State against
      its own citizens, which left over 2000 dead and
      lakhs displaced, terrorized, and scarred. At a
      conservative estimate, well over 300 women were
      sexually brutalized in horrific ways, raped and
      killed in full public view. This was an attempt
      to annihilate Hindutva's 'constructed enemy', the
      Muslim, physically and symbolically, as person,
      citizen and community. The constitutional promise
      of India lay in tatters. And so long as justice
      eludes the survivors, so long as their scars
      remain unacknowledged, and the State does not
      come forward with reparations for harms inflicted
      on scores of innocents, that constitutional
      promise remains violated.

      Even as people's struggle seeking justice for the
      death of loved ones occasionally enters public
      consciousness, what has remained hidden from view
      for five years, is the slow death inflicted upon
      the scores of internally displaced Muslims -
      people who fled their homes, villages and towns
      at the height of the violence in 2002 and have
      never been able to return.

      Some families returned to their original places
      of residence, many condemned to a life of
      permanent compromise and second-class
      citizenship. Numerous cases were reported of
      Muslims being "allowed" to return only if they
      withdrew legal cases, stopped using loudspeakers
      for the azaan, quietly moved out of certain
      businesses, and basically learned to live with
      downcast eyes. Many of these compromises were
      brokered by public officials carrying out the
      State's mandate of forcing 'normalcy' and
      creating an illusion of public order.

      Many families, however, were never able to
      return. Today these internally displaced families
      number approximately 5000. Even as the nation
      appears to have moved on in these five years, and
      public imagination is apparently occupied with
      other pressing matters, these people are still
      surviving in no-man's land, caught between
      existence and denial. They live in makeshift
      colonies hastily constructed by NGOs and
      community organization, on the outskirts of towns
      and villages, both literally and symbolically, on
      the margins of society. Their futures are
      uncertain.

      Thousands of these families are gathering in
      Ahmedabad on February 1, 2007 to ask for
      acknowledgment as internally displaced people, to
      tell the world that they exist and to demand
      recognition, reparation and rehabilitation from
      the Indian State.

      In the space of a few months( December
      2006-january 2007), several colonies that house
      survivors have formed committees of the
      internally displaced (Antarik Visthapit Samitis).
      Each district has formed a coordination committee
      and a State coordination forum has been formed.


      o o o

      (ii)

      Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution
      Jamia Millia Islamia,
      New Delhi-110025.
      (INDIA)

      cordially invites you to the

      FIRST WALTER SISULU MEMORIAL LECTURE
      to be delivered by A.M. Kathrada

      on February 2, 2007 at 11 am

      Venue:
      at the Edward Said Hall,
      Administrative Block, Jamia Milia Islamia
      New Delhi

      Professor Mushirul Hasan will preside

      For more information contact:
      Prof. Radha Kumar
      Director
      Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution
      Phone: 269 854 73 / 269 817 17 Exten: 4361


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      Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), on
      matters of peace and democratisation in South
      Asia. SACW is an independent & non-profit
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