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SACW | July 01-03, 2007

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | July 01-03, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2427 - Year 9 [1] Pakistan: Ideals and expediency (Muneer A. Malik) [2] Nepal s Upcoming Elections
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2007
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | July 01-03, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2427 - Year 9

      [1] Pakistan: Ideals and expediency (Muneer A. Malik)
      [2] Nepal's Upcoming Elections - Full speed ahead (Editorial, Nepali Times)
      [3] Britain isn't worthy of Rushdie (Tarek Fatah)
      [4] India: Kashmir at tipping point again? (Muzamil Jaleel)
      [5] India: Alarming Notes From The Underground (Anuradha Chenoy)
      [6] India: In Security Obsessed Chattissgarh - A People's Doctor in Prison
      (i) Arrest of paediatrician and human rights
      activist Binayak Sen (Anand Zachariah and Sara
      Bhattacharji)
      (ii) This Is Not A Story About Binayak Sen (Subhash Gatade)
      [7] India: Statement on USS Nimitz by Coalition
      for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace
      [8] New Publication: The Evolution and History
      of Human Populations In South Asia
      [9] Announcements:
      (i) Two exhibitions on the great uprising of
      1857 (New Delhi, 3 July - 29 July 2007)
      (ii) National Students' Festival for Peace,
      Justice and Communal Harmony (Ahmedabad, July
      6-8, 2007)


      _______


      [1]

      Dawn
      June 27, 2007

      IDEALS AND EXPEDIENCY

      by Muneer A. Malik
      IN my first article about the current lawyers'
      movement, I had countered skeptics convinced of
      its ultimate futility by reminding them that the
      longest journey starts with a single step.
      Now, as the movement grows from strength to
      strength; as hundreds of thousands of people turn
      up to show their support from Abbottabad to
      Lahore, Peshawar to Chakwal; as an increasingly
      desperate regime seeks refuge behind the corps
      commanders, I have still not been approached by
      any intermediary seeking to broker a compromise.
      To save everyone's time, let me make the bar's
      position absolutely clear. The demands of the bar
      are non-negotiable and brook no compromise. This
      is because of the inherent nature of this
      movement.
      To begin with, what are the objectives of our
      movement? Firstly, it is about changing the
      mindsets of our people. Throughout our history,
      the masses have viewed the bureaucracy, the
      military and the judiciary as part of the same
      ruling elite, cooperating with each other to
      subjugate the people. The minds of the masses
      have been inoculated against the concept of true
      justice. We were taught obedience at the cost of
      our liberty and independence.
      This mindset is a hangover from our colonial
      past. These institutions were created by the
      British as a means of controlling the civilian
      populace. They were manned by Englishmen from the
      same background taught to venerate the same ideal
      - the preservation of the Raj.
      Judges and ICS officers were not meant to empower
      the masses and improve their lot, they were there
      to keep the peace so the British could continue,
      unhindered, with their commercial exploitation
      and empire building. Likewise, the army's primary
      role was internal not external. Their job was to
      quell local rebellions that could threaten
      British dominance. Alas! This role remains the
      same.
      Decentralisation and separation of powers were
      never on the agenda. When a few thousand
      Englishmen set out to establish total control
      over a land of three hundred million people, any
      localised pockets of power could have proved
      fatal. A division of powers between the different
      institutions of state would be suicidal.
      Our fight is for a separation of powers, for
      constitutionalism, for the principle that all men
      are equal before the law and for the ideal that
      the pen is mightier than the sword.
      Thus the DC ruled his district (with the willing
      cooperation of the local elite, the feudal lords)
      with a free hand and without any constraints. His
      basic job was to keep the people quiet and
      subservient to imperial dictates.
      If populist leaders, like Muhammad Ali Jinnah,
      B.G. Tilak or M.K. Gandhi, became too noisy, he
      knew he could always call upon his willing
      brothers in the judiciary to convict them for
      sedition or banish them from the practice of law.
      If matters went further, the likes of General
      Dyer would bail him out by shooting a few hundred
      natives for the restoration of 'peace'.
      The supposed impartiality and independence of
      judges in the colonial era is a complete myth. Of
      course, they were neutral when deciding land
      disputes between two natives. But when the
      interests of the Raj were at stake, when the
      interests of the people collided with those of
      their colonial masters, they never let their
      government down.Unfortunately, our nation's
      independence and the departure of the British did
      not bring their system of governance to an end.
      Rather, a 'coloured' ruling establishment quietly
      stepped into the shoes of their departing masters
      and adopted their practices and beliefs. After
      all, it was more civilised to be an Englishman,
      notwithstanding that you were not admitted to
      their clubs unless you served as a waiter.
      As a result, concepts such as the rule of law or
      the independence of the judiciary never took root
      in the minds of our people. We were never
      convinced that the judiciary's true function was
      to guard the rights of the people and to protect
      the masses from oppression.
      The first aim of our struggle is to change those
      beliefs. We seek to convince the masses that the
      courts are not there only to adjudicate property
      disputes between rich landowners or the competing
      commercial interests of multinational
      corporations, but that a truly independent
      judiciary will allow the common man to realise
      his fundamental rights. That judges with security
      of tenure will be fearless enough to administer
      true justice. That such judges will protect them
      from the abusive exercise of power by the wadera,
      the 'seth' or the SHO.
      We seek to inculcate the belief that laws are not
      meant to be jealously preserved in
      jurisprudential tomes but to be applied, by
      activist judges, for the protection of the common
      man, and that the rule of law is an idea worth
      fighting for.
      To do so, we have to change the mindset of our
      judges about their true duties and functions.
      This is our second aim. For too long they have
      functioned as if they were part of our
      military-bureaucracy, and now the plundering
      capitalist (the attempted sale of the Steel Mills
      being a case in point), establishment. They need
      to realise that they are no longer part of a
      foreign force seeking to forcibly impose its will
      upon the people. They need to end their
      alienation from the masses and align themselves
      with the wishes of the people.
      Why is it that Justice M.R. Kayani considered it
      acceptable to contest elections and become
      president of the Civil Servants of Pakistan
      Association while he was sitting on the bench of
      the high court, particularly when the major
      portion of his duties involved the judicial
      review of the wrongful acts of civil servants?
      It was not because of any particular lack of
      integrity on his part. Rather, he was known as
      an outspoken and honest judge. It is simply the
      pernicious elitism that pervades our entire
      judiciary that leads them to ally themselves with
      the ruling classes rather than with the masses.
      Our judges can easily identify with the causes of
      senior government officials but not those of a
      'kissan'. That is exactly why I call for a
      Supreme Court of the People of Pakistan.
      Why is it that high court and Supreme Court
      judges consider it perfectly acceptable to lunch
      in elitist clubs and exchange views with
      industrialists, government ministers and
      advisers, bureaucrats et al, but shy away from
      sharing a cup of tea with the labourer or
      political worker at a trade union function? Does
      this not distort their perception about the needs
      and aspirations of the people of Pakistan?
      The visit of the governor of Sindh - fresh from
      his debriefing in London - to the Sindh High
      Court is illuminating. Eyebrows were raised when
      seven honourable judges examining the May 12
      tragedy refused to meet him and he was told that
      there could be no discussion on that issue. Why
      should there have been even an iota of surprise?
      The government of Sindh, and the party to which
      the governor belongs, had been directly
      implicated in the tragedy of May 12. I say that
      at the risk of my life and that of my children.

      Would there have been any astonishment if any
      judge refused to entertain a common litigant who
      wanted to have a cup of tea in the
      judge's chamber and discuss the facts of his
      case? The commendable behaviour of the Sindh High
      Court judges was newsworthy because too often in
      the past our judges have fallen short of this
      standard of rectitude when it comes to the power
      elite.
      The idea that judges interpret the law in
      splendid isolation strictly in accordance with
      recognised and time-tested legal doctrines is
      entirely fallacious. Our Supreme Court has
      repeatedly pointed out that the Constitution is
      an organic document and needs continuous
      reinterpretation in light of changing times and
      needs. So who will inform them about the changing
      needs of the hour? Must it be the generals, the
      industrialists and the bureaucrats?
      Take the example of the reviled doctrine of
      necessity. Blatantly illegal and unconstitutional
      acts were repeatedly justified by our
      Supreme Court on the basis that they were
      necessary for survival of the nation. And who was
      the spokesman for the nation? The generals.

      Why can't the needs of the nation be determined
      by directly listening to the voice of the nation?
      Why must the doctrine of necessity always be
      employed in favour of the military-bureaucracy
      establishment? Can it never be used in the other
      direction - to force a general (even if he has
      invented a specious legal cover for his actions)
      to respect the legitimate desires and aspirations
      of the people?
      I recall discussing this issue with the late
      Justice Dorab Patel. A splendidly honest man, he
      felt compelled, nevertheless, to defend his
      brethren. He justified previous judicial
      decisions based on expediency on the grounds that
      they were made by a few old men left alone in
      face of the entire army's might. This movement
      seeks to reassure our judges that they are not
      alone. If they choose to do the right thing, the
      whole legal community and the entire nation will
      turn out in their support.
      The learned Chief Justice is no charismatic
      politician. His speeches, on purely legal issues,
      do not enthral the nation. But when hundreds of
      thousands of people stand all day in Lahore's
      scorching heat and brave all night Faisalabad's
      thunderstorms waiting to catch a glimpse of him,
      they do so to salute the courage of the man. They
      do so to show their support for a judge who dares
      to say 'no'.
      Our aim is to instil that courage in every judge
      throughout the land. Our aim is to illuminate a
      path that leads beyond the Maulvi Tamizuddin,
      Dosso, Nusrat Bhutto and Zafar Ali Shah cases.
      Our third objective is to restore civilian
      supremacy in Pakistan. We are no longer prepared
      to live under the barrel of the gun. Those guns
      and their wielders must return to their rightful
      positions; facing outwards at the frontiers of
      our land. The people will rule themselves.
      Of course, our elected politicians will make
      mistakes, both honest and dishonest, and there
      will be misrule. But the court of
      accountability must be 170 million Pakistanis and
      not nine corps commanders. Elected governments
      must complete their tenure and face
      up to their failures at the time of polling
      instead of being handed a convenient excuse by
      their forced ouster at the hands of the military.
      Fourthly, our aim is to strengthen all the
      institutions of our state; the executive, the
      legislature, the judiciary as well as the media.
      Only by strengthening these pillars and strictly
      enforcing the limits on their separate powers in
      accordance with the Constitution can we protect
      ourselves from tyranny and secure the rule of
      law. Only then can we rid ourselves of the
      inequities of the past.
      To achieve these goals, we welcome the support of
      every segment of civil society; the media as well
      as labour unions, NGOs as well as political
      parties. But our demands are non-negotiable. We
      will not sacrifice our principles at the altar of
      expediency. Any dialogue with the establishment
      can only begin after they take steps that
      concretely display their commitment to these
      principles.
      Our history is replete with tragic compromises.
      We don't need to go too far. The Zafar Ali Shah
      case was a compromise by the judiciary.
      Musharraf's military takeover was legitimised in
      exchange for a promise that elections would be
      held and a civilian government installed within
      three years.
      Five years have passed since those elections, but
      all power still rests with Musharraf and his
      corps commanders rather than with the prime
      minister and his cabinet. On March 9, 2007, while
      cabinet ministers hunkered under their beds, the
      ISI, MI and IB chiefs wreaked havoc.
      The Seventeenth Amendment was a compromise by the
      politicians. Musharraf was allowed to continue
      as president despite his uniform in exchange for,
      essentially, a verbal promise that he would shed
      it in a year. Characteristically, he reneged and
      four years later he was donning the same uniform
      when he attempted to fire the Chief Justice. No
      amount of apology, no matter how sincere, will
      bring back lost times and opportunities.
      For once in our history, people from every
      segment of civil society, judges and politicians
      alike, need to stand up for ideals and eschew the
      culture of deal-making. The struggle is not for
      tawdry offices and superficial power; it is about
      principles. If we can maintain our united
      commitment to these principles, we shall triumph
      and overwhelm all opposition. But if we fail to
      learn from history, we will be condemned to
      relive it.
      The writer is president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.


      ______


      [2]

      Nepali Times
      29 June 07 - 05 July 07

      Editorial

      FULL SPEED AHEAD

      Prime Minister Girijababu wanted the polls to be
      held on Monday, 26 November. Chief Election
      Commissioner Bhoj Rajji thought Friday the 23rd
      would be more appropriate. Ignoring both
      suggestions, the cabinet picked Thursday, 22
      November.

      Superstition may have had something to do with
      the date. Thursday is dedicated to Brihaspati, a
      sage worshipped for his sagacity towards rebels.
      What better day to let Maoists test their
      strength in free and fair elections?

      The hue and cry over YCL excesses has been
      largely justified. But it requires more than
      media rebukes to counter the Red Guard menace in
      the coming months. The district administration
      needs to be energised and the morale of Nepal
      Police boosted. This may necessitate a change of
      leadership in the Home Ministry right away.
      Creating faith in the machinery of the government
      is the best antidote to Maoist vigilante
      prosecution and kangaroo justice.

      Engaging rebellious groups in meaningful
      negotiations, through intermediaries if
      necessary, needs top priority of the political
      leadership. It will be difficult to conduct
      peaceful polls without at least the passive
      acquiescence of armed groups creating mayhem in
      the madhes.

      It's getting late for the political parties to
      launch a full-scale political mobilisation.
      Political training for party officials, voter
      education and consensus-building are all fine and
      dandy but there is no substitute to a
      door-to-door electoral campaign. The monsoon
      isn't the best time to venture into Nepali
      countryside, but urban-dwellers have no rice
      planting to do. We can't put this forcefully
      enough: parties have to go back to their voters,
      ask their forgiveness, promise to mend their
      ways, and show that they are serious about
      building the future.

      The Nepali people have been duped so often in the
      past that they will need some convincing to
      accept that the November polls are for real.
      While the election juggernaut moves full speed
      ahead, a perceptible improvement in service
      delivery is necessary. It shouldn't be too
      difficult to augment water supply, reduce
      blackout hours, repair roads, or crackdown on
      crime. Reducing the petroleum shortage is urgent
      to restore faith in the system.

      In the countryside, the people don't expect
      change overnight. But they want to see a sign
      that there is a change in attitude among
      Kathmandu-based politicos. Mainstreaming the
      Maoists and addressing the concerns of the
      marginalised is essential, as is law and order.

      But what the people need the most is at least the
      perception that the elections will mean an
      improvement in their lives and the lives of their
      children.

      ______


      [3]

      National Post, Toronto
      28 June 2007

      BRITAIN ISN'T WORTHY OF RUSHDIE
      by Tarek Fatah

      Sunday, Oct. 1, 1989 was a typically chilly
      morning in London. That did not dampen the
      enthusiasm of thousands of angry British Muslims
      who were heading toward the Royal Albert Hall to
      hear a South African orator, Ahmed Deedat, rip
      into Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic
      Verses.

      Nearly 6,000 men, some bussed in from as far as
      Birmingham, jammed the hall. What happened at the
      start of the event tells us a lot about the
      Rushdie saga, which it seems, will not die until
      the man they now call Sir Salman is sent to his
      death.

      The first speaker read a piece from Rushdie's
      Satanic Verses and asked The audience how many
      were familiar with that passage or had read the
      book. Only one person raised his hand. One man
      out of 6,000! They had come to demand the banning
      of The Satanic Verses, but had not read the book.

      That has been the story of the Rushdie affair for
      the last 18 years. If Rushdie had intended to
      defame Islam, his naysayers have helped him do so.

      Now he has been given a knighthood by the Queen
      for his life's work as a writer, and parts of the
      Islamic world are revisiting the rage from 1989.

      Many are familiar with comments by Ijaz ul-Haq,
      the Religious Affairs Minister of Pakistan,
      justifying suicide attacks against Rushdie
      because he had "insulted Islam."

      But an equally repugnant threat from the Speaker
      of the legislative assembly of the Pakistani
      province of Punjab has gone largely unnoticed.
      The Speaker, Chaudhry Mohammad Afzal Sahi, while
      presiding over the legislature, said he would
      kill Salman Rushdie if he came face to face with
      him.

      This is standard and predictable fare. What has
      changed, however, between 1989 and today is the
      impact these extremists have had on the U.K. In
      1989 politicians of all stripes stood up to
      defend Rushdie; this time the response has been
      at best cowardly, and at worst an attempt to
      appease the Islamists.

      Members of Britain's Parliament representing
      large Muslim populations were the first to
      surrender any sense of dignity or self-respect.
      The Cabinet minister Jack Straw, still smarting
      from the reactions to his remarks on the Burqa,
      cozied up to his Islamist constituents. He cast
      doubt on the value of knighting Rushdie, by
      mocking the author's literary worth. He was
      quoted as saying, "I'm afraid I found his books
      rather difficult and I've never managed to get to
      the end of any of them...I'm afraid his writing
      has defeated me."

      A Conservative MP, Stewart Jackson, launched a
      furious attack on Rushdie, suggesting the
      knighthood had "threatened anti-terrorism
      co-operation." Jackson did not disclose the fact
      that in the last election, he had narrowly
      defeated the Labour candidate and on the night of
      his victory had said he had won by "gaining the
      trust of a large percentage of the city's Muslim
      population." Jackson, who leads the Friends of
      Islam group, also questioned the merits of
      Rushdie1s literary worth, saying his books are
      "rubbish."

      Not to be outdone in this clamour to appease the
      Islamist vote bank, the Liberal-Democrats'
      Shirley Williams went on BBC's Question Time to
      condemn the government for honouring the
      novelist, without a word of protest against the
      goons issuing the death threats.

      In London, Lord Ahmed, Britain's first Muslim
      peer, said he had been appalled by the award to a
      man he accused of having "blood on his hands."
      Not satisfied with his vitriol, Lord Ahmed, who
      had no hesitation accepting membership of the
      House of Lords, compared the knighthood of
      Rushdie to the honouring of the 9/11 terrorists.

      One would have expected the British government to
      haul in the Pakistani and Iranian ambassadors and
      protest the criminal death threats against a
      British knight, Sir Salman. But no. The British
      establishment had neither the integrity nor the
      resolve to stand up to the bullies. Instead,
      British ambassadors were hauled in to hear
      protests by Iranian and Pakistani officials.

      It is time that the world recognized that the
      threat to Salman Rushdie is not just to him, but
      to all of us. And it is not just the Islamists
      who need to be condemned, but also the flaccid
      British response to these would-be murderers.

      A country that has to apologize and bend over
      backward to distance itself from the person it
      seeks to honour, is not worthy of having a knight
      called Sir Salman. My message to Salman Rushdie
      is that he should say to the Queen, "Thanks, but
      no thanks."

      [Tarek Fatah is founder of the Muslim Canadian
      Congress and is author of Chasing a Mirage: An
      Islamic State or a State of Islam, to be
      published by John Wiley & Sons in 2008]

      ______


      [4]

      Indian Express
      July 03, 2007

      KASHMIR AT TIPPING POINT AGAIN?

      by Muzamil Jaleel

      Last Tuesday was a tumultuous day in Bandipore,
      a little valley on the banks of Wular lake in
      north Kashmir. Two incidents took place here in a
      matter of a few hours which together may
      symbolise the beginning of a new paradigm shift
      in J&K. They signal a renewed phase of violence
      with the sluggish peace process.

      Two men from a local Rashtriya Rifles unit barged
      into a house in a small neighbourhood of Gurjjars
      in Kunan village. They were in plainclothes and
      carried a grenade. The family alleged that the
      two had asked the male members to leave and then
      attempted to rape their daughter. The family
      raised an alarm and, within minutes, the entire
      village encircled the house. The angry villagers
      overpowered the two armymen and started thrashing
      them. Their faces were then blackened and they
      were taken in a procession to Bandipore market.
      This is one of the first incidents since
      militancy began in Kashmir in 1990 of common
      people taking the law into their own hands.
      Interestingly, the villagers didn't even mask
      their faces.

      A few miles away, an interesting incident was
      taking place around the same time in another
      village. The villagers were returning to their
      homes after burying a local boy who had joined
      the militants recently and was killed in an
      encounter with the army. A group of separatist
      leaders from the moderate Hurriyat faction had
      come to join the funeral ceremony. But as soon as
      they started addressing the villagers, there were
      angry shouts from the crowd. The Hurriyat leaders
      were told to stop "doing business on dead
      bodies". The incident indicated that this
      village, known for its separatist leanings, had
      transcended another fear.

      The two incidents have no apparent connection but
      they clearly suggest that the silent majority,
      driven by desperation, is beginning to assert
      itself. This may well signify a shift in the
      Valley, where the situation is once again getting
      fraught. The UPA government at the Centre has not
      done anything tangible to sustain the tempo of
      the few confidence-building measures on the
      ground, like the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus or
      direct talks with Kashmiri separatist groups. As
      for Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, he is clearly feeling
      the pressure of losing out to the hawks and has
      started drifting towards hardline posturing as
      well. Meanwhile, the Peoples Conference leader,
      Sajjad Lone, has exploded something of a
      political bombshell by talking about the "opt out
      option" - making the district a unit for the
      internal reorganisation of the state. This new
      formula has come as a direct response to the
      demand for a separate state of Jammu, raised by
      the Jammu Mukti Morcha, a group which has the
      overt and covert support of the BJP and Congress.
      Lone's salvo is popular in the Valley and other
      Muslim-dominated regions of the state where
      people constantly complain of discrimination in
      development projects and in getting
      administrative jobs.

      In fact, the Centre's dialogue process with
      Srinagar does not include a single separatist
      leader. The only direct measure the Centre has
      taken to push its peace process forward was to
      hold a few working group meetings. Not only was
      the political representation in these meetings
      inadequate, the government is being extremely
      tardy in implementing its recommendations.

      The Centre's manner of handling this process has
      added to this new disenchantment. A few months
      ago, when the PDP had threatened to walk out of
      the ruling J&K coalition, demanding troop
      withdrawal from the state, the Centre intervened
      and framed a high-level committee led by Defence
      Minister A.K. Antony to investigate the
      feasibility of a troop cut on the ground. But
      before the committee started its work and arrived
      at a conclusion, the defence minister publicly
      ruled out even a modest cut in troops. The
      unexpected intervention of J&K Governor, Lt Gen
      (retd) S.K. Sinha in the debate, did not help. He
      termed the PDP's demand as "obnoxious".

      From all indications it does seem that the period
      of relative tranquillity that saw Kashmir move
      towards peace may well be coming to an end. It is
      a fact that the infiltration levels have come
      down to an all-time low - seen as a fall-out of
      the Indo-Pak peace process. However, the sudden
      increase in activity across the LoC and a spurt
      of violence in the frontier district of Kupwara
      suggests the Pakistan establishment seems to have
      turned on the tap again. The security agencies
      say that more than 200 militants have already
      entered Kupwara district alone, even as a dozen
      infiltration bids were foiled along the LoC in
      the districts of Kupwara and Baramulla recently.

      Kashmir has entered a critical phase and if
      immediate measures are not taken to push the
      Indo-Pak peace process forward, with visible
      outcomes on the ground, there is every likelihood
      that the earlier atmosphere of hope will be soon
      be overtaken by renewed bloodshed.


      ______


      [5]

      The Telegraph
      June 28, 2007

      ALARMING NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND
      The use of maximum force in dealing with the
      Naxalite menace is destined to fail unless it is
      backed by constructive development that involves
      the local population, writes Anuradha Chenoy

      The author is professor, School of International Studies, JNU

      Parallel force

      The districts of Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, known
      as the Naxal-affected belts, are areas where the
      scheduled tribes and castes make up more than 60
      per cent of the population. Poverty is endemic in
      this region. The government is carrying out two
      types of development. The first is based on
      industries, mining and commercialization, and the
      second is linked with the National Rural
      Employment Guarantee Act, the mid-day meal scheme
      and primary education. As far as the Naxal
      problem is concerned, the policy is to use
      'maximum force'. Which of these development
      models and policies is working is a critical
      question for the future of these states and their
      people.

      The first developmental policy regarding the
      increase of private investment and ownership in
      mining, forestry, and so on is not new. This type
      of development was the initial reason behind the
      alienation of tribals since they saw their
      communal methods of ownership and freedom being
      curtailed. As large areas are cordoned off to
      make mines, large dams and special economic
      zones, tribals are displaced and turned into
      migrant labour. Tribal customs, like the making
      of local brew from Mahua trees, have been banned
      and foreign liquor shops have come up. The
      Naxalites have thrived in such an iniquitous
      environment.

      The second developmental model, connected with
      social and economic schemes, is becoming
      increasingly popular, although it is using only
      25-30 per cent of its capacity. Recent surveys by
      the Right to Food Group have revealed many
      problems with these schemes which need correction
      to make them effective and beneficial to more
      people. Yet, these schemes work in the
      'Naxal-affected' areas and because of their
      popularity even the Naxals support these
      programmes, testifying to their importance. The
      government argues that Naxals "impede
      development". But when development is positive
      and supported at the ground level, anyone wanting
      political legitimacy is forced to support it.

      The Naxals work on small-time development issues
      like running some schools, health centres, dams,
      foodgrain banks, and so on. This gives them local
      level support, without which they would not be
      able to survive. The Maoists levy taxes and
      extort money from contractors and the locals for
      such work and for procuring the wide range of
      weapons that they possess. The level of support
      to Naxals in Jharkhand, where they are fast
      spreading, however varies.

      In areas where the local population sees that
      significant efforts are being made by the
      government for improvement, the Naxals are not
      popular. Who would want to go to a Naxal school
      if the government school functioned? But in most
      places people are fed up with the police.
      Villagers say that if the Naxals come at night
      and want to be fed, the police invariably turn up
      next morning and want to be bribed. The choice
      then is between the "Maowadi and Khaowadi".

      Anyone interested in these areas, from the local
      member of parliament or that of the state
      legislature, to contractors and businessmen, has
      to have some alliance with the Maoists. How else
      would elections be held? And how else would
      contracts be completed? The Naxals argue, "In our
      zones, anyone can pass through if their identity
      is clear." Maoists, in fact, no longer believe in
      'liberated zones' but in 'zones of influence',
      where they co-exist with others and where they
      have parallel judicial and executive structures -
      the jan adalat (peoples' court) and their militia
      that executes. The smallest unit is the two-man
      village unit; then there is the area secretary
      and the area commander. Area decisions are taken
      together by the area commander and secretary. The
      sub-zonal committee is overseen by the zonal
      committee and the zonal commander. They are
      assisted by a local guerilla squad and a special
      guerilla squad. Leaders and guerilla squads do
      not comprise all locals. They can be from any
      other region. The entire party is underground.

      It is known that women have functioned as
      supporters, couriers and leaders, but very few
      come up for the 'risky work'. The women's
      organization, the Nari Mukti Sangh, functions at
      all levels, including in the armed squad, where
      women get full military training. Most women join
      this movement because of poverty and some because
      of ideology. The major work of politicization is
      undertaken by them.

      The police have little knowledge of the
      functioning, except when Naxals are caught and
      then named 'commander', whatever their real
      status. Thus the local people often suffer police
      brutalities as there is little to distinguish
      between them and the Maoists. This is especially
      so in Jharkhand, where the Naxals are more local.

      In the meantime, the police have killed hundreds
      of alleged Naxalites in 'encounters'. They do not
      allow first information reports to be registered
      and give no compensation to families. The fear of
      the contesting militia has divided villages and
      caused fear and internal displacement, forcing
      villagers to evacuate their houses and camps,
      leading to unending personal tragedies.

      Like the special security forces created earlier
      to deal with insurgency in the North-east and in
      Kashmir, the Salwa Judam was created in
      Chattisgarh. This government-sponsored force of
      well-armed local volunteers comprises former
      insurgents and the local youth. This state-armed
      unofficial militia has caused much harm and
      turned more people towards insurgency. It has
      helped militarize the society, where children now
      dream of guns, and the use of force is the
      accepted method of negotiation. This militia is
      unable to distinguish between ordinary civilians
      and insurgents. They see the entire community as
      'enemy', similar to the 'bounty killers' who are
      used in all local disputes.

      Many human rights groups have recorded the
      excesses of this militia. Such reports, however,
      have been ignored. Instead, journalists and
      activists have been branded as 'sympathizers'.
      Meanwhile, the Salwa Judam model is being copied
      in other areas like Jharkhand, where the Nagrik
      Rakshak Samiti or Narsu has been working along
      the same lines and all local sources testify to
      its unpopularity and criminality.

      Maximum force has been officially justified
      because of the killing and looting by the Naxals.
      Local officials say that once Naxals are caught,
      torture is essential to extract information.
      Figures, however, show that the number of
      Naxal-related incidents has not decreased, rather
      the number of human rights violations by both
      sides have significantly increased. Further, if
      the incidents and violations decrease in one area
      they simultaneously increase in another. For
      example, incidents of Naxalite strikes have gone
      down in Andhra Pradesh, but if nine out of 16
      districts were affected in Chattisgarh, 18 out of
      22 districts are affected in Jharkhand today.

      In these circumstances, the schemes like the
      NREGA are all the more important. Yet they are
      still to be fully implemented. The Right to Food
      group witnessed that while there was increasing
      awareness of the act, the staff to implement it
      was still inadequate. There were delays in wage
      payments, there was lack of institutional
      arrangements (for example, Jharkhand has no
      panchayat elections), a monitoring system and
      accountability.

      The outcome is thus already quite clear. People
      support ideas that benefit them and involve them.
      The idea of development based on human rights has
      become rooted in the minds of the people. To deny
      this is to lead to more conflict on all sides.


      ______


      [6] [India: Binayak Sen is a celebrated
      people's doctor who deserves the highest honour
      for his long years of service of the
      underprivileged has been imprisoned on trumped up
      charges. The security hawks who run the show in
      Chhattissgarh have been petitioned by concerned
      citizens and human rights activists from all over
      India and with growing support internationally.
      -- see articles below.-SACW Editor ]

      o o o

      (i)

      The Lancet
      30 June 2007

      ARREST OF PAEDIATRICIAN AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST BINAYAK SEN

      by Anand Zachariah and Sara Bhattacharji

      We are writing to make known to the international
      medical community the shocking imprisonment of
      Binayak Sen on May 14, 2007, in the central
      Indian state of Chhattisgarh. A well known
      paediatrician and public-health specialist, Sen's
      is a rare example of the cost of involvement in
      civil rights activism by physicians. He is being
      charged by the local police with illicit
      communication with Maoists in custody.

      After a distinguished academic career at
      Christian Medical College, Vellore, during his
      undergraduate and postgraduate training, Sen
      joined the faculty of the Centre for Social
      Medicine and Public Health at the Jawaharlal
      Nehru University, New Delhi (1976-78).

      For the past 30 years, Sen has been developing
      models of primary health in Madhya Pradesh and
      subsequently in the new state of Chhattisgarh. He
      is well known for setting up a self-funded
      cooperative hospital for mine workers, the
      Shaheed hospital, and he had a significant role
      in evolving the statewide "Mitanin" programme of
      training community health workers. In 2004, the
      Christian Medical College conferred on him the
      Paul Harrison Award-the highest recognition
      accorded to an alumnus for distinguished work in
      rural areas.

      Apart from these socially relevant health-care
      activities, what sets Sen apart has been his deep
      commitment to the defence of civil liberties,
      including fact-finding missions into human rights
      violations such as custodial deaths,
      extra-judicial killings by state police, and
      hunger deaths in remote and politically turbulent
      communities. In recent times, he has worked
      ceaselessly to focus national and international
      attention on large-scale oppression and
      malgovernance within the Salwa Judoom (which has
      become a kind of non-state militia) in the
      Dantewara district of Chhattisgarh. He has given
      leadership to the nationwide People's Union for
      Civil Liberties as General Secretary in
      Chhattisgarh and as Vice President at the
      national level.

      Sen is a man of impeccable integrity,
      self-denial, and peace who has worked steadfastly
      for the rights and wellbeing of ordinary people,
      particularly the tribals. We feel that the
      allegations of unlawful activities on his part
      are aimed at silencing an inconvenient voice in
      defence of the oppressed.

      The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act,
      2005, under which he is imprisoned, permits
      arbitrary detention with no remedy of appeal or
      review for a maximum period of imprisonment of 7
      years for any expression or act which the state
      may deem as disturbing public order. The
      repressive features of this law make us concerned
      about his safety and wellbeing.

      We urge the international medical community to
      raise their voice to demand the release of this
      distinguished doctor and civil rights activist.

      We are colleagues of Binayak Sen.

      o o o

      (ii)

      THIS IS NOT A STORY ABOUT BINAYAK SEN
      by Subhash Gatade

      This is not a story of the fifty plus Children's
      doctor Binayak Sen from Raipur, Chattisgarh who
      is at present languishing in jail under draconian
      provisions of a law which has declared him a
      'terrorist' because he had the courage to speak
      truth to power.

      This is not meant to be a story of two young
      daughters of this man who are eagerly waiting for
      their father who is one of their closest friends
      and with whom they have shared all secrets of the
      world.

      This is not a story of Illina, whose
      companionship with Binayak exceeds more than
      three decades, and who recently penned down her
      experiences at the jail gate, where ordinary
      people - who want to have a glimpse of their near
      and dear ones lodged in the jail - are even
      robbed of their last Penny by the custodians of
      law and order.

      This is also not a story of those kids from
      nearby villages who joined a protest
      demonstration held in Raipur to express their
      bewilderment over the arrest of their doctoruncle
      who use to tell them interesting stories when he
      could find some free time at the community
      clinics.

      This is also not meant to tell you my first
      meeting with this gem of a man way back in 1981
      in Dalli Rajhara, District Durg where the
      legendary Shankar Guha Niyogi had charted a new
      path in worker's struggle and where the idea to
      start a Shahid Hospital - a hospital started by
      workers of the mines for the other toiling masses
      of the area - was germinating then.

      This is also not a story of the institution
      called Vellore Medical College which felt
      honoured to have produced a student of such
      calibre and felicitated him for his conscious
      decision to work for the poor and downtrodden.

      This is also not a story of the manner in which
      ex-students of this college who are spread in
      different parts of the world have taken the
      initiative to mobilise the medical community of
      the world to tell the powers that be that the
      proper place for a children's doctor should be
      among childern and their parents and not the
      confines of a jail.

      This is also not a story of the work Dr Sen did
      as an adviser to the community health scheme of
      the state called 'Mitanin' nor a description of
      the program wherein he was awarded the
      prestigious Paul Harrison award for his
      commendable work in community health.

      This is also not a story of the appeal sent by
      world renowned individuals/activists like Noam
      Chomsky, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib etc. who felt
      'dismayed' at the 'continued detention of Sen'
      and who have demanded that all charges against Dr
      Sen be dropped immediately and he be released
      forthwith.

      Of course nor it is a report of the widening
      ambit of state harassment which today includes
      Illina Sen, Gautam Bandopadhyaya and Rashmi
      Dwivedi, Rajendra Sail - members of People's
      Union For Civil Liberties and other organisations
      who have refused to bow before the machinations
      of the state machinery. It is the same state
      machinery which has acquired the dracula like
      qualities of bumping off innocents and which did
      not have any qualms going to the ridiculous
      extent of arresting Dr Sen as an 'emissary of a
      naxalite' when the said meetings were held in the
      presence of police themselves.

      This is not a critique of the manner in which a
      broad section of the media preferred to toe the
      government line and putting all journalistic
      ethical norms to the winds presented sensational,
      juicy stories to demonise this ex-adviser to the
      state government on its community health schemes.

      This is also not a story of the frightening
      message on wireless sent by a Superintendent of
      Police stationed in one of those 'troubled
      districts' in Chattisgarh itself which clearly
      instructed the armed police to target
      journalists, individuals who seem to be
      overzealous about the question of human rights.

      This also does not deal with the so called Peace
      Campaign called Salwa Judum - where a section of
      the tribals have been armed at the behest of the
      government- who have become a law unto
      themselves, where they have been found to be
      burning villages and abusing their women. It also
      does not deal with the manner in which this
      'Peace Campaign' has uprooted more than 40,000
      villagers and placed them in camps along the
      road, reminding people of the failed “strategic
      hamlets” used by the US military in South Vietnam
      more than forty years ago.

      The following writeup does not intend to once
      again bring to the fore the grief of a mother
      called Madiyam Soni ( there are thousands of such
      women ) from a non-descript village Ponjer whose
      son's life was snuffed out by the security forces
      and whose body was found with similar eleven
      bodies at a place called Santoshpur much farther
      from her village.

      To be very frank all such insignificant sounding
      details about ordinary people's ordinary lives,
      their travails and tribulations, and the response
      of the powers that be towards their attempts to
      aspire for a normal life with dignity is not the
      crux of this writeup. One very well knows that
      neither do they carry any import for the
      custodians of this country nor the articulate
      sections of our society. Perhaps all such details
      from the hinterland of India are meaningless for
      the young generation also which is busy
      networking with friends from the other part of
      the globe thanks to the various websites which
      have sprung up.

      This is in fact a story of all those people who
      have rather stopped thinking about all these
      relevant things.

      This is in fact a story of the continuous
      bombardment of messages through various channels
      which has rather desensitised a greater lot among
      us towards the mundane looking sufferings of the
      people.

      This is in fact a story of the criminal silence
      which all such stories, reports normally
      encounter - may it be the declaration of a
      children's doctor as 'Public Enemy No. 1' or for
      that matter fake encounter killings in some
      hinterland of India .
      This is in fact a story of reassessing whose
      lives we should value and prioritize.

      This is in fact a story of getting ready to ask
      some discomforting questions about the system in
      which we live.

      Perhaps the need of the hour seems to be starting
      with a simple query : When would the two
      daughters meet their father ?



      ______


      [7]



      South Asians Against Nukes
      June 28, 2007
      URL: groups.yahoo.com/group/SAAN_/message/1052

      o o o o

      June 30, 2007 12:08 PM

      STATEMENT ON USS NIMITZ BY COALITION FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT AND PEACE (CNDP)

      We are distressed that the Indian government has
      granted permission to the United States aircraft
      carrier Nimitz to make a call at Chennai port for
      rest and recreation. The government claims that
      the nuclear-powered ship is "not known to be
      carrying nuclear weapons" on board, and hence
      that its call does not violate India's
      well-established, often-reiterated policy of
      disallowing foreign nuclear weapons into its
      territorial waters.

      This claim flies in the face of the U.S.'s
      well-reiterated policy to "neither deny nor
      confirm" the presence of nuclear weapons on its
      warships under any circumstances, and its
      standing instructions to military personnel. The
      fact that New Delhi has gratuitously granted this
      certificate to the U.S., when Washington itself
      does not do so, speaks poorly of our foreign and
      security policies.

      It also marks a reversal of India’s past policy
      opposing the transit of nuclear weapons in its
      neighbourhood and the U.S. base at Diego Garcia,
      and its demand for a Zone of Peace in the Indian
      Ocean.

      The contention that the visit of USS Nimitz
      should be condoned because 10 other
      nuclear-powered ships/submarines have visited
      Indian ports in recent years lacks logic. Such
      precedents cannot justify a policy violation. It
      is known that the nuclear weapons-states usually
      base some or all their nuclear warheads on
      nuclear-powered vessels.

      A visit to India of the Nimitz, one of two U.S.
      aircraft carriers recently mobilised in the
      Persian Gulf to threaten Iran, will send out a
      negative international signal in the context of
      the destabilisation of West Asia caused by the
      U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

      Such "military interactions" point to an erosion
      of foreign policy independence and a departure
      from the United Progressive Alliance's promise to
      work for a balanced, multipolar world free of
      nuclear weapons.


      CNDP Statement Commitee Members,

      Achin Vanaik
      Chirstopher Fonseca
      Admiral Ramdas (Retd)
      Praful Bidwai
      Kamal Mitra Chenoy
      Prabir Purkayastha
      J.Sri Raman


      ______


      [8]



      THE EVOLUTION AND HISTORY OF HUMAN POPULATIONS IN SOUTH ASIA
      Petraglia, Michael D.; Allchin, Bridget (Eds.)
      (Inter-disciplinary Studies in Archaeology, Biological Anthropology,
      Linguistics and Genetics)
      2007, XIII, 464 p., Hardcover
      ISBN: 978-1-4020-5561-4

      http://www.springer.com/
      Social Sciences / Anthropology & Archaeology


      Table of contents

      1. Human Evolution and Culture Change in the Indian Subcontinent

      Michael D. Petraglia and Bridget Allchin

      Part I. Setting Foundations

      2. Afro-Eurasian Mammalian Fauna and Early Hominin Dispersals

      Alan Turner and Hannah J. O'Regan

      3. "Resource-Rich, Stone Poor": Early Hominin
      Land Use in Large River Systems of Northern India
      and Pakistan

      Robin Dennell

      4. Toward Developing a Basin Model for
      Paleolithic Settlement of the Indian Subcontinent:

      Geodynamics, Monsoon Dynamics, Habitat Diversity and Dispersal Routes.

      Ravi Korisettar

      5. The Acheulean of Peninsular India with Special
      Reference to the Hunsgi and Baichbal Valleys of
      the Lower Deccan

      K. Paddayya

      6. Changing Trends in the Study of a Paleolithic
      Site in India: A Century of Research at
      Attirampakkam

      Shanti Pappu

      7. Was Homo heidelbergensis in South Asia? A test
      using the Narmada fossil from Central India

      Sheela Athreya

      Part II. The Modern Scene

      8. The Toba Supervolcanic Eruption: Tephra-Fall
      Deposits in India and Paleoanthropological
      Implications

      Sacha C. Jones

      9. The Emergence of Modern Human Behavior in
      South Asia: A Review of the Current Evidence and
      Discussion of its Possible Implications

      Hannah V.A. James

      10. Genetic evidence on modern human dispersals
      in South Asia: Y Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA
      perspectives: The World through the eyes of two
      haploid genome.

      Phillip Endicott, Mait Metspalu and Toomas Kivisild

      11. Crania diversity in South Asia relative to
      modern human dispersals and global patterns of
      human variation

      Jay T. Stock, Marta Mirazón Lahr and Samanti Kulatilake

      Part III. New Worlds in the Holocene

      12. Interpreting Biological Diversity in South
      Asian Prehistory: Early Holocene Population
      Affinities and Subsistence Adaptations

      John R. Lukacs

      13. Population Movements in the Indian
      Subcontinent during the Protohistoric Period:
      Physical Anthropological Assessment

      S.R. Walimbe

      14. Foragers and Forager-Traders in South Asian
      Worlds: Some Thoughts from the Last 10,000 Years

      Kathleen D. Morrison

      15. Anthropological, Historical, Archaeological
      and Genetic Perspectives on the Origins of Caste
      in South Asia

      Nicole L. Boivin

      16. Language Families and Quantitative Methods in South Asia and Elsewhere

      April McMahon and Robert McMahon

      17. Duality in Bos indicus mtDNA Diversity:
      Support for Geographical Complexity in Zebu
      Domestication

      David A. Magee, Hideyuki Mannen, Daniel G. Bradley

      18. Non-Human Genetics, Agricultural Origins and
      Historical Linguistics in South Asia

      Dorian Q. Fuller

      Part IV. Concluding Remarks

      19. Thoughts on The Evolution and History of Human Populations in South Asia

      Gregory L. Possehl


      ______

      [9] ANNOUNCEMENTS:

      (i)

      Sahmat, The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust has
      mounted two exhibitions on the great uprising of
      1857. The exhibition in Hindi titled "Ajab Saal
      Tha Wo" and the English "Red the Earth" are being
      put up at Gandhi Smriti & Darshan Samiti at Birla
      House,

      Gandhi Smriti,
      5 Tees January Marg,
      New Delhi-110011.
      Ph: 23012843; 23011480
      The exhibitions will be on view from the 3rd of
      July to 29th July, 2007 from 10am to 5 pm (except
      Mondays).

      SAHMAT is remounting it's exhibition on 1857, RED
      THE EARTH, made for the 140th anniversary of the
      rebellion in 1997. Researched by historians Irfan
      Habib, the Late Ravinder Kumar, Amar Farooqui,
      Shireen Moosvi in collaboration with The Centre
      for Advanced History, AMU, Aligarh, Nehru
      Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti, Delhi,
      ICHR, Delhi. The Visual material was researched
      by Ram Rahman, with generous help from Prof
      Narayani Gupta, Professor Jim Masselos, the Late
      Ravi Dayal, PK Shukla, BN Sahai and Dr SB Roy.
      The exhibition has been updated with extensive
      new material, some never seen in public for many
      years, including a rare photo of Rani Lakshmibai.
      Many of the proclamations which were issued
      during the rebellion are in the original and in
      translations. There is an entire section with
      maps and photographs on the destruction of Delhi
      by the British after their victory.


      o o o

      (ii)

      CREATING DEMOCRACY, CELEBRATING DIVERSITY

      July 6-8, 2007
      Ahmedabad


      Anhad is organising a National Students' Festival
      for Peace, Justice and Communal Harmony from July
      6th to 8th, 2007 in Ahmadabad.

      The festival is dedicated to the memory of Vasant
      Rav and Rajab Ali. Vasant and Rajab were two
      friends who were killed in 1946 on July 1 while
      trying to stop a riot in the Ahmadabad city.
      Anhad has been observing their martyrdom day as
      the Day for Communal Harmony every year since its
      inception in 2003.

      Anhad had announced a National Competition
      'Creating Democracy, Celebrating Diversity' for
      media, film, school and college students in
      February 2007.

      The festival is showcasing the winning entries. A
      total of 60 paintings by school children, 80
      poster designs and product designs ( t-shirts,
      mugs, book marks etc) will be displayed at the
      exhibition. 45 documentary films made by students
      from various media institutes of India will be
      screened. A set of new peace posters will be
      released on the ocassion. A Cd of new peace songs
      selected from different schools will also be
      released. This music cd will also contain a
      song: gar ho sake to ab koye shamma jalayeye.
      Indian Ocean's Rahul Ram has specially sung this
      song for the music cd.

      Shivji Panikkar will inaugurate the exhibition on
      July 6th at 10.30am at the Father Erviti Memorial
      Hall, St Xaviers' Social Service Society, Opp
      Loyola School, Naranpura, Ahmedabad. Shri Prakash
      Shah will preside and speak on the occasion.

      Nafisa Ali will inaugurate the Student's Film
      Festival on July 6th at 11.30 at the Diamond
      Jubilee Auditorium, Loyola Hall, St Xavier's High
      School Campus, Naranpura, Ahmedabad. Gagan Sethi
      will speak on the occasion.

      Documentary filmmakers Rakesh Sharma, Gauhar Raza
      and advertising professional Harsh Purohit (all
      three were part of the Jury) will give away the
      merit certificates at the Closing ceremony on
      July 8, 2007 at 4pm.

      You are most cordially invited to the Festival. The entry is free.

      We request all the organizations to encourage
      young activists to attend the festival.


      [See] The detailed programme [at :
      www.sacw.net/DC/CommunalismCollection/ArticlesArchive/Anhadstudentfestival.jpg
      ]

      Shabnam Hashmi/ Sanjay Sharma/ Manisha / Masooma / Ravi
      Anhad Collective
      Ahmedabad
      25500844/ 25500772/ anhadgujarat@...



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