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SACW | August 6-9, 2007

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | August 6-9, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2432 - Year 9 [1] Pakistan: Mad Mullahs are bad for health (i) Anti-polio campaign (edit, The News)
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2007
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | August 6-9, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2432 - Year 9

      [1] Pakistan: Mad Mullahs are bad for health
      (i) Anti-polio campaign (edit, The News)
      (ii) Pakistan polio drive is suspended -
      Islamic hardliners say the vaccine is part of a
      Western plot (BBC)
      [2] US-India Nuke Deal May Spark Asian Arms Race (Thalif Deen)
      [3] Can The Government of Sri Lanka Consolidate Its Gains? (Rohini Hensman)
      [4] Bangladesh: Protecting Rights as Vital as
      Ending Corruption (A letter from Human Rights
      Watch)
      [5] India: Online Petition - Punish the Guilty of
      the 1992-1993 Anti Muslim Pogrom in Bombay
      [6] India: What about the '93 rioters ? (Ram Punyani)
      [7] India: A Special Experience of Protest (Lalita Ramdas)
      [8] A migrants fight for survival (Sanjib Baruah)
      [9] Announcements:
      (i) A Public Discussion: Communal Violence Bill (Ahmedabad, 9 August 2007)
      (ii) Native Women of South India : Manners and
      Customs by Pushpamala N & Clare Arni
      (iii) Call for photos and correspondence for the
      P.C. Joshi Birth Centenary Celebrations Exhibition

      ______


      (i)

      The News
      August 09, 2007
      Editorial

      ANTI-POLIO CAMPAIGN

      Not a day goes by these days without news of
      extremist violence emanating from some corner of
      the country. On Tuesday night, to take just one
      of the incidents of this kind, a police check
      post was destroyed in a bombing in Bannu;
      fortunately, the only casualties were the three
      people hurt in the blast. In the Chamang area of
      Bajaur Agency, meanwhile, 12 health workers were
      taken captive and beaten up, for visiting the
      place to dispense anti-polio drops to children.
      In fact, the team was doubly guilty of the sin -
      for their campaign is "un-Islamic," according to
      local clerics, and intended to keep the local
      population in check -- because its members dared
      to go to Chamang despite warnings in advance from
      the clerics. Tuesday's detention and beatings of
      the team resulted in the anti-polio drive being
      suspended in the Agency. For only a while, let's
      hope, because the effort in Chamang was part of a
      countrywide campaign against the crippling and
      often fatal disease. At last, polio is on the way
      out in the world.

      After Dr Marwat's assassination and the shock
      waves it sent across Pakistan, the government had
      pledged to provide every possible security to
      anti-polio health workers in the tribal areas and
      elsewhere in the NWFP. While this may not be the
      easiest thing to do in that wild region, the ease
      with which the criminals appear to have kidnapped
      the workers shows the local authorities could
      have done far more to keep that promise than they
      actually did. Apart from the aspect of probable
      negligence, there's the element of possible
      politics. It would be naive to assume that the
      incident was solely the result of clerical
      bigotry. It's not unlikely that it was another
      facet of the religious extremists' campaign of
      destabilisation of the province, of keeping Lal
      Masjid alive.


      o o o

      (ii)


      BBC News
      8 August 2007

      PAKISTAN POLIO DRIVE IS SUSPENDED
      A child in neighbouring India receiving the polio vaccine
      Islamic hardliners say the vaccine is part of a Western plot
      A polio vaccination programme in a remote
      Pakistani tribal region has been suspended after
      villagers threatened health workers, officials
      say.

      Hardline clerics in the area are against the
      programme, saying it is a US conspiracy to render
      people incapable of producing children.

      Officials say that up to 4,000 children in two
      villages in the Bajaur tribal region were due to
      be vaccinated.

      Pakistan is one of only five countries where the polio virus still exists.

      Eleven new cases have been reported so far this year.

      Hotbed

      "We have stopped vaccination programme after
      tribesmen threatened our workers and broke their
      equipment in Sarkari Killa and Kotgi Charmang
      villages on Tuesday," Dr Cherag Hussain told the
      Reuters news agency.

      "They have threatened to kill health workers if they visit again."

      On Tuesday officials said that armed men abducted
      and beat 11 health workers sent to Bajaur to
      administer polio vaccinations.

      They said that health workers were held for four
      hours as their captors smashed vaccination kits.

      Dr Hussain said that the work in Bajaur was part
      of a national drive this year to immunise 32
      million children aged under five-years-old.

      The campaign in the Bajaur region - part of North
      West Frontier Province (NWFP) - was also
      suspended early this year after a doctor and a
      health worker were killed in a roadside blast.

      Correspondents say that Bajaur is considered a
      hotbed of support for Islamic militants.

      Health officials in the area have been trying to
      dispel rumours - sometimes spread by radio
      stations and mosques - that the polio campaign is
      a Western conspiracy to reduce Muslim populations.

      The disease has been eliminated in developed
      nations but persists in parts of India, Nigeria,
      Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      ______


      [2]

      Inter Press Service
      1 August 2007

      DISARMAMENT: US-INDIA NUKE DEAL MAY SPARK ASIAN ARMS RACE

      by Thalif Deen, UN Bureau Chief, Inter Press Service

      NEW YORK (IPS) - The U.S. decision last week to
      proceed with a controversial civilian nuclear
      deal with India has triggered strong negative
      responses from peace activists, disarmament
      experts and anti-nuclear groups.

      "The development of a nuclear/strategic alliance
      between the United States and India may promote
      arms racing between India and Pakistan, and
      (between) India and China," says John Burroughs,
      executive director of the New York-based Lawyers'
      Committee on Nuclear Policy.

      The deal, he told IPS, also undermines prospects
      for global agreements on nuclear restraint and
      disarmament.

      An equally negative reaction came from former UN
      Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs
      Jayantha Dhanapala: "It has the dangerous
      potential of triggering a nuclear arms race among
      India, Pakistan and China, with disastrous
      consequences for Asian peace and stability and
      Asia's emerging economic boom."

      But the Indian government argues that the nuclear
      agreement would neither destabilise the region
      nor prompt an arms race.

      Nor will it trigger a "copycat deal" between
      Pakistan and China, India's national security
      adviser N.K. Narayanan told reporters last week.

      "This agreement was not an excuse to enhance our
      strategic capabilities," he told a press briefing
      in New Delhi.

      Zia Mian of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public
      and International Affairs at Princeton University
      says the United States sees strategic and
      economic benefits in the nuclear deal with India.

      "But the people of India and Pakistan will pay
      the price, since the nuclear deal will fuel the
      India-Pakistan nuclear arms race," he added.

      The deal will allow India to increase its
      capacity to make nuclear weapons materiel, and
      Pakistan has already said it will do whatever it
      can to keep up with India.

      "This means nuclear establishments in both
      countries will become more powerful, drain even
      greater resources away from social development,
      and increase the nuclear danger in South Asia,"
      Mian told IPS.

      Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state
      who led the negotiations, denied the deal was a
      clear example of political double standards by an
      administration which has been trying to punish
      Iran for its nuclear ambitions but gives its
      blessings to India.

      "This agreement sends a message to outlaw regimes
      such as Iran that if you behave responsibly, you
      will not be penalised," he told reporters last
      week.

      India -- along with Pakistan and Israel -- has
      refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
      Treaty (NPT), but Iran has.

      Called the "123 agreement", last week's nuclear
      deal will help create a civil nuclear enrichment
      facility in India, mostly with U.S.-made reactors
      and expertise.

      Still, in a major speech in February 2004, U.S.
      President George W. Bush said that "enrichment
      and reprocessing are not necessary for nations
      seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful
      purposes."

      "The details of the so-called '123 agreement' are
      still shrouded in secrecy but, on the basis of
      what has been disclosed, it is clear that the
      U.S.-India nuclear cooperation deal is an example
      of crude realpolitik trumping nuclear
      nonproliferation principles in total disregard of
      the NPT," Dhanapala told IPS.

      He warned that it sends "a bad signal to the
      overwhelming majority of NPT parties who have
      faithfully abided by their treaty obligations."

      Last week Burns told reporters that the deal
      would not act as an incentive for other countries
      to develop nuclear weapons outside the NPT.

      Burroughs said that India made it clear when the
      NPT was negotiated that it could not accept a
      world divided into nuclear haves and nuclear
      have-nots, and stayed out of the treaty.

      "The problem with the deal is not that it
      acknowledges that India has nuclear weapons,"
      Burroughs told IPS. "The problem is that both
      India and the United States are showing no signs
      of working towards the elimination of their
      arsenals together with other states possessing
      nuclear weapons."

      Under the deal, neither country agrees to ratify
      the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

      "And while India agrees to work with the United
      States towards a treaty banning production of
      fissile materials for nuclear weapons, India is
      not required to stop producing materials for
      weapons now or to refrain from building
      additional weapons from existing material," he
      added.

      Nor does India assume the obligation the United
      States has under the NPT, to negotiate in good
      faith cessation of the nuclear arms race at an
      early date and the elimination of nuclear
      arsenals.

      In short, the deal seems to certify India as a
      member of a permanent nuclear weapons club,
      Burroughs declared.

      Mian of Princeton University pointed out that the
      deal is also a clear violation of UN Security
      Council Resolution 1172, adopted on 6 June 1998,
      which was passed unanimously, and called upon
      India and Pakistan "immediately to stop their
      nuclear weapon development programmes, to refrain
      from weaponisation or from the deployment of
      nuclear weapons, to cease development of
      ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear
      weapons and any further production of fissile
      material for nuclear weapons."

      That resolution also encouraged all States to
      "prevent the export of equipment, materials or
      technology that could in any way assist programs
      in India or Pakistan for nuclear weapons," said
      Mian who along with M. V. Ramana co-authored
      "Wrong Ends, Means, and Needs: Behind the U.S.
      Nuclear Deal With India", in the January/February
      2006 issue of Arms Control Today. (END)

      ______



      [3]

      CAN THE GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA CONSOLIDATE ITS GAINS?

      by Rohini Hensman

      The elimination of LTTE bases from the Eastern
      Province could be a prelude to its defeat.
      Alternatively, it could just be a temporary
      setback, from which the LTTE will recover: it
      has, after all, lost the East to the government
      in the past, and re-established itself there
      subsequently. The final outcome depends on what
      steps the government takes in the next few
      months. The strategy proposed by the LTTE and the
      brutal strategy currently being imposed by
      Sinhala nationalists with Karuna's complicity
      would both end in disaster for the whole of Sri
      Lanka, not just the North and East. It is vitally
      important that the people of Sri Lanka press for
      the third alternative outlined below.

      The LTTE Proposal

      LTTE spokesman S.P. Thamilchelvan has demanded a
      return to the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) of 2002
      as the only basis for a return to peace talks.
      This would, of course, be a bonanza for the LTTE,
      but would benefit no one else. Fatal flaws in the
      2002 CFA and the ‘peace process' based on it are
      directly responsible for the dirty war that
      engulfs the island today. The absence of any
      agreement on protection of human rights, as well
      as recognition of the LTTE as the sole
      representative of the Tamils in Sri Lanka,
      allowed the LTTE to kill its critics and
      political opponents one by one and persist in the
      abhorrent practice of child conscription, thus
      tightening its totalitarian control over Tamils
      and building up its army. International
      legitimacy and funding from the Norwegian
      government enabled it to step up intimidation of
      Tamils abroad and escalate its levels of
      extortion from them, and also to equip its armed
      forces, including its new Air Wing.

      The impunity with which the LTTE was able to
      violate human rights strengthened the hand of
      Sinhala chauvinists in the South enormously. When
      the LTTE launched Eelam War IV, they felt
      justified in responding in a manner that violated
      human rights just as egregiously, and there was
      nothing anyone could do about it because human
      rights were not part of the peace process. It is
      also notable that not a single serious proposal
      for a political solution was put forward during
      the ceasefire. The ISGA proposal of the LTTE was
      the only one to be presented: a thinly-veiled
      demand for a Tamil state under their own
      totalitarian rule. Appeasement of the Tigers by
      domestic NGOs as well as international actors was
      used by Sinhala nationalists to label ALL
      interventions by NGOs and the international
      community as 'pro-Tiger', even when this was
      patently untrue.

      Going back to the CFA of 2002 would simply allow
      the LTTE to regain lost territory and legitimacy,
      re-arm, regroup and launch Eelam War V. It would
      benefit no one else, least of all the embattled
      people of the North and East. And it would mean
      that all those who have lost their lives fighting
      the LTTE – whether politically or militarily –
      would have died for nothing.

      The Sinhala Nationalist Strategy

      A broad spectrum of Sinhala nationalists, ranging
      from those in the JVP and JHU to leaders of the
      SLFP, seem to think the next step should be an
      assault on the LTTE in the North. They should
      think again. The last time the LTTE was cleared
      out of the East was in 1994. But shortly
      afterwards, the LTTE returned in full strength.
      The reason was that troops were withdrawn from
      the East for Operation Jaya Sikurui in the North.
      More than two years later, after thousands of
      lives had been lost and large quantities of
      military equipment had been captured by the LTTE,
      that operation was abandoned. Not only was the
      Northern campaign a failure, but it also led to
      the recapture of the East by the LTTE.

      Attacking the Northern stronghold now would
      almost certainly have the same consequences.
      Several factors which aided the government
      earlier would not be available to it. Most
      importantly, the assistance of Karuna's forces,
      which played a crucial role in the East, would
      not be available in the North. The split weakened
      the LTTE considerably in the East, but their
      military power in the North remains undamaged.
      Moreover, with their backs against the wall, they
      can be expected to fight ferociously. As in the
      case of Operation Jaya Sikurui, thousands of
      soldiers could be killed in a battle that ends in
      stalemate.

      Worse still, with the security forces shifted
      North, the LTTE could easily stage a comeback in
      the East. As several skirmishes and the
      assassination of a top government official
      demonstrate, they are still active in the East.
      Nor have they lost excessive numbers of cadres or
      military hardware. It is a staple of guerrilla
      strategy to retreat when attacked, and that is
      what they did. But this leaves them free to move
      back when government forces move North. Such a
      return would be facilitated by the brutal
      oppression imposed by Karuna and the government's
      security forces in the East.

      Concentrating on a military solution, the
      government would almost surely continue to
      condone human rights violations by its forces,
      and fail to pursue a political solution
      acceptable to Muslims and moderate Tamils. This
      would antagonise foreign governments. As a result
      of an unremitting campaign waged by anti-LTTE
      Tamils, criticising the LTTE's human rights
      violations and refuting their claim to represent
      the Tamils of Sri Lanka, several countries not
      only declared the LTTE a terrorist organisation,
      but also took action to cut off its sources of
      funding and armaments. More recently, however,
      with the spurt in human rights violations by
      government forces, some of these countries have
      cut aid to the GOSL. More aid could be cut in
      future, especially if it appears that Tamils and
      Muslims are being displaced from their homes in
      the East in order to facilitate Sinhalese
      colonisation drives. This would have an adverse
      impact on the government's development plans for
      the East, not to mention its international
      legitimacy.

      In the South, the euphoria over Thoppigala is
      likely to evaporate rapidly when the war
      continues, prices keep rising, and soldiers keep
      dying. The JVP is now egging on the government to
      attack the North, but would have no compunctions
      about exploiting dissatisfaction in the South as
      the war continues. And the war WILL continue. No
      government can defeat a guerrilla force unless
      the people are with it, and the GOSL is no
      exception; even the most powerful military
      machine in the world, that of the US, was
      defeated in Vietnam, and is currently unable to
      win the war in Iraq. It is not that the people of
      the North and East support the LTTE: far from it.
      They have made it clear that their preferred
      option is peace. But the worst option, for them,
      is being crushed under the jackboots of either
      Sinhala or Tamil fascists. Even war is preferable
      to that. Therefore they will not support the
      government so long as it is dominated by Sinhala
      nationalists. And without their support, the
      government cannot win.

      The Third Alternative
      THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO BOTH THE LTTE AND GOSL

      STRATEGIES. It would involve, first and foremost,
      the government consolidating its position by
      clamping down heavily on human rights violations,
      calling in a UN monitoring mission to verify that
      it is doing so. Secondly, it would have to
      provide maximum assistance to all displaced
      people from the East to return to their original
      homes and rebuild their lives there. At present,
      the GOSL seems to have a conception of ‘security'
      which resembles that of a military dictatorship:
      the ability of the state to crush the people.
      That is why it wants to displace people
      permanently in order to establish High Security
      Zones. But a democratic conception of security
      would be the ability of the state to PROTECT the
      people, and that would entail the security forces
      moving among the people rather than isolating
      themselves in HSZs. Even from a military point of
      view, this would make far more sense, helping to
      ensure that the LTTE does not infiltrate the East
      again.

      If normality and security were restored, the East
      could be a showpiece demonstrating the viability
      of a united Sri Lanka. This would also be a
      precondition for elections and a referendum.
      Unless people have settled back in their homes,
      and a neutral agency like the UN confirms that
      their human and democratic rights are being
      respected, any elections would quite correctly be
      regarded as fraudulent. An important element of
      this programme would be ensuring that every
      government and police official in the East has a
      working knowledge of Tamil; even rank-and-file
      soldiers should be given a crash course in Tamil
      so that they can at least communicate effectively
      in the language, otherwise they will be regarded
      as an army of occupation. The majority of the
      population in the Eastern Province is
      Tamil-speaking, and that should be the language
      of administration. With an astonishing lack of
      sense and sensitivity, the development programme
      for the East has been called ‘Nagenahira
      Navodaya'; this could be its subtitle, but
      certainly not its title. Until we have Tamil
      titles for programmes in Tamil-majority areas,
      suspicions of a Sinhala-supremacist agenda will
      persist.

      Thirdly, the government would have to present as
      soon as possible a political solution that in its
      broad outlines is acceptable to the minorities
      (not the LTTE). This was achieved months ago by
      the Majority Report of the panel of experts and
      Tissa Vitharana's proposals; while these would
      still need to be elaborated, they constitute the
      basis for a viable solution. Setting up the All
      Party Representative Committee and initiating a
      debate on a political solution was one of the
      best things done under the Rajapakse persidency,
      and one would have expected the SLFP to make
      political capital out of it. Normally it is the
      opposition party that sabotages such efforts;
      this is the first time that the ruling party has
      performed the acrobatic feat of stabbing itself
      in the back by presenting proposals that, if
      accepted, would ensure the failure of its own
      initiative! The SLFP would be well advised to
      withdraw its proposals in order to ensure the
      success of the APRC process.

      If, in addition, efforts are made to ease the
      humanitarian crisis in the Jaffna peninsula by
      ensuring adequate supplies of essential
      commodities at the same prices that prevail in
      the South, both Tamils and the international
      community would put heavy pressure on the LTTE to
      agree to the political solution and lay down
      their arms, stepping up sanctions against it if
      its leaders refused. Unilaterally declaring a
      ceasefire, while reserving the right of security
      forces to defend themselves if attacked, would
      send out a clear message that the GOSL does not
      wish to kill LTTE conscripts, many of whom are
      children. Instead of attacking the LTTE's
      stronghold, the security forces could lay siege
      to it instead, allowing food to move in freely
      but enforcing a strict embargo on arms,
      ammunition and any fuel that could be used for
      its combat vehicles, especially its aircraft.
      Starved of ammunition, its guns would eventually
      fall silent, and it would either be forced to
      surrender, or, if its leaders wished to fight to
      the last, it could be defeated with minimal
      casualties.

      A Critical Juncture
      What happens in the next few months is critically
      important for Sri Lanka's future. If the
      government consolidates the gains in the East as
      outlined above, the end of the war could be in
      sight. If, on the other hand, it pursues a
      military assault on the LTTE stronghold in the
      North, it would be inviting political and
      military disaster. President Rajapakse could be
      remembered as the president who ended the war
      during his term in office, or he could go down
      ignominiously as the leader who snatched defeat
      out of the jaws of victory.

      It would not be an exaggeration to describe the
      LTTE leadership as psychopaths, sending thousands
      of people, including their own cadres, to their
      deaths with no remorse whatsoever. But the
      Sinhala nationalists, no less psychopathic, have
      also sent tens of thousands to their deaths
      without any remorse. Despite paying lip-service
      to the Buddha, they treat the first of his five
      precepts – ‘to abstain from taking life' – with
      utter contempt. None of these leaders, Sinhalese
      or Tamil, can be trusted to make humane decisions.

      If it were mandatory for those who back an
      offensive strategy to go to the battlefront
      immediately, or, if they are too old, to send
      their children there, we could be sure that steps
      would be taken to end the war. Unfortunately, it
      is not the political leaders who suffer the
      consequences of war; it is not they or their
      children who get killed or crippled, and they
      continue to live in luxury while ordinary working
      people go hungry. This is why the decisions
      should not be left to them. If Sri Lanka is a
      democracy, it is the people who should choose
      between a military strategy that leaves thousands
      dead and ends in stalemate, or a political
      strategy that defeats the LTTE and ends the war.

      ______


      [4]

      BANGLADESH: PROTECTING RIGHTS AS VITAL AS ENDING CORRUPTION

      August 1, 2007

      Mr. Fakhruddin Ahmed
      Chief Advisor
      Government of Bangladesh
      Dhaka

      Re: Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh

      Dear Chief Advisor:

      When your caretaker government was established in
      Bangladesh on January 11, 2007, many Bangladeshis
      and international actors were reassured by the
      appointment of apparently non-partisan and
      competent officials. The initiative largely had
      the support of Bangladesh's influential civil
      society as well as the international community.
      Many had despaired at the state of near political
      anarchy, widespread corruption, and severe human
      rights abuses that had emerged in the country in
      recent years. The promise of free and fair
      elections in the light of attempts to rig
      elections was also welcomed.

      Your government has taken some strong initiatives
      to clean up corruption and hold political and
      business leaders accountable for their actions.
      Measures to reform the civil service and
      bureaucracy have been welcomed by many
      Bangladeshis, though we caution that due process
      for civil servants must be observed. And, unlike
      the previous government, you have made it clear
      that you will not tolerate or condone the actions
      of violent militants.

      However, we are deeply concerned that the
      laudable goals of fighting corruption and
      reforming the political system are not being
      matched by efforts to protect human rights.
      Serious and systemic human rights abuses are
      taking place on your watch. Many of these, such
      as torture and feigned "crossfire killings," were
      serious problems before you took office and
      continue today. Others, such as emergency rules
      that do not respect basic due process rights, or
      the large number of arbitrary arrests and
      detention without proper judicial oversight or
      public accountability, are a direct result of
      your government's policies.

      Since your administration took over, torture of
      persons in the custody of the security forces has
      continued to be routine. Many people have died in
      custody in unexplained circumstances. Your
      government has not put into place the most basic
      safeguards to ensure proper independent access to
      places of detention, requiring all persons to be
      held in official places of detention, and
      establishing a process whereby independent
      investigations are routinely undertaken when
      deaths in custody occur.

      The joint forces, led by the army, have shown
      almost complete disregard for established legal
      norms conducting arrests and holding people in
      detention. Instead of being brought immediately
      before a magistrate, detainees are routinely
      taken to army barracks and other unofficial
      places of detention and tortured, both as
      punishment and to force them to sign confessions.
      Many people are being picked up in the middle of
      the night without warrant. Led by Bangladesh's
      military intelligence unit, the DGFI, the
      security forces are often in plainclothes and
      offer no identification. When asked, they claim
      they can do anything they want because they are
      thus empowered under Bangladesh's emergency laws.

      Bangladeshi civil society and the media, which
      have often been celebrated in the past for
      courage and freedom, are under severe threat.
      Activists and journalists have been summoned by
      members of the army, particularly those claiming
      to be members of the DGFI, and threatened. Many
      have been silenced for fear of arbitrary arrest
      because they know of other cases of arbitrary
      detention, torture, and death.

      We are particularly concerned because the rule of
      law appears to be breaking down under your
      administration. Under the emergency laws, the
      right to bail and the right to appeal are
      routinely denied. Court decisions are regularly
      ignored. Bangladesh's many fine judges and
      lawyers are not being allowed to play their
      legitimate roles in the legal and judicial
      process. When some judges began ordering bail
      when habeas corpus petitions were filed, public
      prosecutors have secured contrary rulings from
      the Appellate Division, even in cases where there
      is clearly no threat to public security or risk
      of flight. This is all happening under an
      administration that claims to be committed to
      reform.

      Illegal acts by the security forces are being
      enabled by the sweeping emergency rules your
      administration has put in place, which are being
      misused on a daily basis by the armed forces.
      Under emergency rules that ban protests and limit
      effective legal remedies, the security forces
      believe they can commit abuses with impunity.

      The International Covenant on Civil and Political
      Rights, to which Bangladesh is a party, permits
      limitations on some rights during properly
      declared states of national emergency. However,
      such measures are limited to "the extent strictly
      required by the exigencies of the situation."
      Certain basic rights, such as the right to life
      and the prohibition on torture and other cruel,
      inhuman or degrading treatment, may never be
      restricted. The principles of legality and the
      rule of law require that the fundamental
      requirements of a fair trial be respected even
      under emergency regulations.

      Because the sweeping emergency regulations under
      the state of emergency now in force do not comply
      with international requirements and have been
      misused in practice, we urge you to repeal them
      immediately. All persons currently detained under
      the emergency regulations should be charged with
      a cognizable criminal offense or released. Those
      mistreated in detention should be able to seek
      legal remedies through competent authorities.

      When challenged about the human rights situation,
      officials of your government cite the commitment
      to create a national human rights commission.
      Creating an independent and competent national
      human rights commission in accordance with the
      UN's Paris Principles on national institutions
      for the promotion and protection of human rights
      would be an important step, one in which Human
      Rights Watch would be happy to offer advice.
      However, a national human rights commission will
      take years to set up and act effectively. With so
      many arbitrary arrests, torture and extrajudicial
      killings, much more has to be done, and without
      delay (see recommendations below).

      We would particularly like to use this
      opportunity to remind you of the case of
      journalist Tasneem Khalil, who has worked as a
      consultant for Human Rights Watch and as a
      stringer for CNN. On May 11, 2007, Mr. Khalil was
      taken into custody after midnight by men in
      plainclothes claiming to be Bangladesh's "joint
      task force." Mr. Khalil was taken from his home
      in front of his wife and child, blindfolded and
      driven to an interrogation center, where he was
      tortured and questioned about his work as a
      journalist, writings on his blog, as well as his
      employment with Human Rights Watch and CNN. Many
      of Mr. Khalil's possessions, including computers,
      phones and passport, were confiscated when his
      home was ransacked. We immediately contacted your
      government for help, and Mr. Khalil was
      eventually released after more than 22 hours in
      custody.

      We have since learned that Mr. Khalil had been
      held and tortured by the DGFI. The interrogation
      center Mr. Khalil was taken to is an extension of
      the DGFI headquarters in Dhaka cantonment that
      houses at least one torture chamber and a
      detention facility. This is a full-time illegal
      detention and torture facility. Mr. Khalil saw
      sophisticated torture equipment and could hear
      other detainees screaming in pain. At least five
      DGFI officers took part in the torture sessions
      that left Mr. Khalil with severe injuries. At one
      point he was photographed with a revolver and
      some bullets placed before him, suggesting that
      he was being set up for a faked "crossfire
      killing." Before his release, Mr. Khalil was
      forced to make false confessions, and asked to
      sign documents and testify on video admitting to
      acts that could be considered treasonous. We have
      received other credible reports of the same type
      of activities by DGFI.

      As you know, Bangladesh's military forces have
      become notorious for taking people into custody,
      torturing them to death or executing them in
      faked "crossfire killings." We were concerned
      that Mr. Khalil would meet a similar fate even
      after his release. He had to remain in hiding
      until, after long and unnecessary negotiations,
      his passport was eventually returned and he and
      his family were able to leave Bangladesh for
      safety abroad.

      In a sense Mr. Khalil was fortunate. He had the
      advantage of foreign friends, colleagues, and
      diplomats who were in a position to appeal to
      your government for help. However, there are
      thousands now in custody, unable to secure bail
      and often subjected to torture, who are not so
      well connected. We do not know who is being
      tortured at this very minute by DGFI or others,
      but we do know that it is happening.

      We appreciate your personal intervention and that
      of other government officials to ensure Mr.
      Khalil's release and safe exit from the country.
      But as his case makes clear, arbitrary arrest and
      detention and torture are a significant problem
      in Bangladesh today.

      Your government knows who was responsible for Mr.
      Khalil's torture - and that of many other victims
      - where they work, and where the torture centers
      are located. Your government knows that these are
      not isolated cases - an untold number of people
      are being tortured every day. As a matter of
      basic human decency as well as your obligations
      under international law, you must act to close
      down such torture centers without delay. We look
      forward to public statements from you and members
      of your government on this subject, as well as
      action.

      We take your government's claims to be
      reform-minded seriously. For that reason, you
      would expect nothing less than to be held to the
      domestic and international standards that
      Bangladesh has long committed itself to uphold.
      It is therefore time for your administration to
      act with the same sense of urgency to end human
      rights abuses as it has to end corruption.

      Specifically, Human Rights Watch urges your
      government and the armed forces to take steps to
      protect human rights and follow the rule of law
      by:


      * Immediately repealing the emergency
      regulations under the state of emergency and
      restoring fundamental rights guaranteed by the
      constitution.
      * Charging or releasing those detained and
      give them access to legal counsel and family
      members.
      * Restoring the right to petition for bail and challenge detentions.
      * Using only official places of detention and
      end the use of irregular sites, such as the one
      maintained by DGFI, to prevent torture.
      * Ensuring that those whose rights have been
      violated have an effective remedy before
      competent authorities.
      * Allowing access by independent monitors to all places of detention.
      * Prosecuting members of the army, RAB,
      police and other government officials responsible
      for human rights violations.

      While some in your government claim that the
      human rights situation is no worse than under the
      previous democratically elected government, I'm
      sure you will agree that this is not an
      appropriate standard. You and your colleagues
      have chosen to lead the government. We are
      certain that you did not take your positions in
      order to preside over a government and security
      forces that routinely abuse human rights, but
      that is the reality in Bangladesh today.

      It is now your responsibility to ensure that the
      rights of all persons in Bangladesh are
      respected. We are disappointed that we have not
      seen any significant signs that your government
      is attempting to tackle these problems. This is
      surprising given your stated commitment to
      reform. We look forward to a public and strong
      commitment to making the protection of human
      rights the highest priority of your time in
      office.

      Thank you for your consideration. We would be
      pleased to meet with you and appropriate
      officials in your government to address these
      matters further.

      Yours sincerely,

      Brad Adams
      Asia Director, Human Rights Watch

      ______


      [5]

      JUSTICE FOR ALL: PUNISH THE GUILTY OF THE
      1992-1993 ANTI MUSLIM POGROM IN BOMBAY

      Do Sign this petition to implement the
      recommendations of the Srikrishna commission and
      prosecute those guilty in the 1992-1993 riots.
      Signatures are being collected to submit to the High Court.

      http://www.PetitionOnline.com/jus4all/petition.html

      ______


      [6]

      Hindustan Times
      2 August 2007

      WHAT ABOUT THE '93 RIOTERS ?

      by Ram Punyani






      SANJAY DUTT'S defence for keeping
      an AK-56 rifle and an 9 mm pistol was that they
      were for protecting his family as they were
      getting threatening calls during the 1993 Mumbai
      riots. His father, the late Sunil Dutt, was
      amongst the few trying to save the colonies under
      siege by hooligans. Sanjay Dutt's mother was the
      legendary actor Nargis, a Muslim. The Dutts got
      many threatening phone calls. Sanjay Dutt did
      procure the rifle illegally, but all the same it
      was not used at any point. As one saw the glum
      face of Sanjay Dutt after the verdict was
      pronounced, one remembered another case of
      violation of the Arms Act. During the 1992-93
      riots, Shiv Sena leader Madhukar Sarpotdar was
      caught carrying revolvers, pistols, choppers and
      hockey sticks. The role of this Shiv Sainik, who
      became an MP, was outlined by the Srikrishna
      Commission of inquiry: "Šthe other two pistols
      were unlicensed. (Sarpotdar's) explanation (was
      that) they were carrying them for
      self-defenceŠThis explanation strains credulity."

      Further, the Commission pointed out, "It took
      police two days to register an offense against
      SarpotdarŠThe mere possession of unlicensed
      firearms in a 'notified area' would have
      attracted penal liability under TADA (but) there
      was neither an attempt to (do this) nor to oppose
      bail." Sarpotdar was not even served a
      chargesheet. The Shiv Sena Government
      dropped all cases against him. The Congress
      alliance, which came to power after this, on
      the promise of implementing the Srikrishna
      Commission report, not only failed to reopen the
      case but shamelessly proclaimed that the
      recommendations of the commission have to be
      implemented in letter and spirit.

      These two cases in a way show as to how the
      justice delivery system in the country is
      turning politically schizophrenic. The Mumbai
      riots took place in the aftermath of the
      demolition of the Babri Masjid. The riots were
      followed by the bomb blasts. The verdict on those
      involved in the cases is close to complete by
      now. During the Mumbai violence the police not
      only participated and aided in the anti-minority
      violence, it deliberately refused to register the
      First Information Reports (FIR). And where the
      FIRs did get registered they were neither
      recorded properly nor pursued. Later the cases
      were closed on one pretext or the other. The
      Srikrishna Commission clearly indicted the Shiv
      Sena and BJP leaders. It also named several
      police personnel for their crimes. Forget
      punishing them, some of the policemen even got
      promotions in due course. The commission was
      initially stalled midway and later its findings
      were withheld on the ground that they would
      reopen old wounds. Finally, the findings were
      rejected by the Shiv Sena- BJP government.

      The Gujarat violence is still being
      investigated by the inquiry commission, but as
      far as the police is concerned nothing had
      happened. Here matters go one step further: the
      complainants are threatened and asked to withdraw
      the cases, witnesses turn hostile and the victims
      are reduced to second-class citizens. Now the
      police are coming into 'efficiency mode' again
      and are ready to launch cases against the
      culprits of the July 2006 blasts. The rioters of
      the Gujarat carnage are moving with pride at
      "having taught them a lesson".

      In April 2006, two activists belonging to
      Bajrang Dal died while making bombs in Nanded, as
      confirmed by the Maharashtra Anti-terrorist Squad
      Chief K.P. Raghuvanshi. One of them, Himanshu
      Panse, had stated that unless Hindus bomb
      mosques, it would be perceived that Hindus are
      hijras (eunuchs). The blasts are the only way to
      stop attacks like the ones in Varanasi and Delhi.
      The Malegaon blast, the blast in a Hyderabad
      mosque and the Samjhauta Express followed this
      pattern. It is explained away as thework of an
      external hand in league with local minority
      elements to foment trouble.

      One can see the emergence of a clear pattern in
      dealing with communal crimes and acts of
      terrorism. While the communal parties proactively
      pursue a divisive agenda, most other parties have
      compromised their principles of fair play At one
      level they are . infected by this communal virus
      and at another most of the police and
      bureaucratic system have succeeded in demonising
      Islam as the propagator of violence and projected
      Muslims as a violent, terrorist community. Seeing
      the fate of justice in the case of the Mumbai and
      Gujarat riots and many other scattered acts where
      minorities were the victims, and conflating them
      with the way justice is meted out in acts of
      terrorism, a uniform pattern seems to be
      emerging: punish those involved in acts of
      terrorism and exonerate those indulging in
      communal violence.

      Ram Punyani is secretary, All India Secular Forum

      ______


      [7]

      Bhaimala - Alibag Taluka
      Raigad Dist, Konkan, Maharashtra

      Sunday July 29 2007
      A SPECIAL EXPERIENCE OF PROTEST

      One week ago we sent round an update about what
      was happening in Raigad - the coming together of
      groups to protest the policies of the Govt of
      Maharashtra and the Govt of India with regard to
      the Special Economic Zones; the fast unto death
      by the group of men and women in PEN.

      The fast was called off on Monday 23, on
      receiving assurances [so far only verbal!] from
      the Chief Minister of Maharashtra that the 22
      villages will be excluded from acquisition on the
      basis of their being categorized as`irrigated'.
      However, the bigger question of why SEZ - why
      forcible acquisition - and who would benefit,
      still remains unanswered. And so it was that in
      an unparalleled show of solidarity, strength and
      peoples power, OVER A HUNDRED THOUSAND people
      from all over the District, came together in a
      massive demonstration on July 27th, outside the
      headquarters of the Commissioner for Konkan - in
      Belapur in New Mumbai.

      Despite the deluge that set in that very morning
      after a dry spell of over two weeks - people came
      in trucks and tempos - on foot - and in three
      wheelers - many of them traveling up to 50 kms to
      get to the venue. By and large, these were no
      paid crowds -these were people who were willing
      to do whatever it took to fight for their
      survival - and for each one, their land was their
      hope for survival - for livelihood - and
      supported and fed the extended families. Women
      and children came out in large numbers - and
      they did not need to be PhDs in economics to
      raise fundamental issues regarding the hollow
      promises made by governments and corporates - you
      will have jobs; your homes will be safe - just
      give us your fields! "Where will we go they asked
      in anger - to the footpaths and pavements of the
      cities -to beg, to work as sweepers and servants?
      Or to be thrown into the sea" - said the large
      numbers of fisherfolk from Uran.

      Truck loads carried their fishing nets, clumps of
      paddy, other produce from their fields and farms
      - brandishing them proudly and asking what kind
      of government it was that declared their
      productive lands [su-pick jameen], as na-pick
      [no-crops]?

      For over two hours, this mighty crowd stood in
      pouring rain, drenched to the skin - as were we
      all - listening as speaker after speaker from
      each of the local organisations spoke of their
      grief, their sense of betrayal, and their
      determination not to yield an inch of their land
      - not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Slogans and
      cries rent the air - and it was an inspiring
      sight indeed to see their determination and their
      discipline - no riots - no stone throwing - no
      violence . `Jameen apna hakka chi - nahin thumsa
      bappa chi!' [This land is ours by right - and
      does not belong to your fathers] .
      "NO - NA - NEVER - Amcha Jameen Denaar Nahin" - we will not give up our land."
      People smiled and waved at the police who had
      turned out in their hundreds - with riot control
      vehicles and other equipment - and asked them to
      join us or go home.
      A group of youngsters staged a mock funeral
      ceremony of an effigy of the CM - and at least a
      dozen young men shaved off their heads in protest.

      The final message was clear - we will continue
      our protests until SEZ is rolled back,
      notifications are withdrawn, and section 6 under
      which land acquisition has begun is removed. So
      far we have been peaceful - but make no mistake,
      do not underestimate us - this could change if no
      one is listening to us. Beware of the touts,
      agents and intermediaries who are acting on
      behalf of the Companies - and no one minced word
      as to how they felt about RELIANCE INDUSTRIES.

      WE GIVE YOU TWO WEEKS IN WHICH TO GIVE US AN
      ANSWER. Throw out the CM and his government was
      the other unambiguous message - and all local
      political parties, with the exception of
      Congress, were quick to demonstrate their support
      to the people - well aware that 2009 is not too
      far away.

      The Konkan Bhavan Morcha demonstrated also the
      richness of a way of life - of culture and
      language and song and poetry - all of which stand
      to be destroyed so that this vast hinterland can
      be converted into a series of Foreign dominated
      SEZs. All promises of retaining the so-called
      `Gauthans' - the homes of villagers is itself a
      big lie ! One of our senior leaders graphically
      described to a community meeting last week how
      systematically the large builders and
      conglomerates operate to destroy the small
      homesteads over time and force the families off
      the tiny enclaves which will be surrounded by a
      sea of sanitized pockets of gated communities -
      living the `good life' - of malls and resorts and
      golf courses and hotels of flying in and out of
      the new airports so conveniently located. And the
      rice bowl of Konkan - the orchards of alphonso
      mangoes - ah well - no problem - we will have
      WALMART and RELIANCE FRESH to feed us!

      So - what next - ? One might well ask the
      questions: Do these many small pockets of
      resistance spell any kind of real threat to the
      might of governments, corporates and global
      financial institutions put together? Can we ever
      match the staying power of the state and
      corporations combined? since popular wisdom has
      it that almost every party today has
      unquestioningly `bought -in' to the idea that the
      SEZ is the road to economic salvation, the basic
      question continues to haunt - namely to what
      extent are politicians and their parties to be
      trusted? How do people cope with the temptations
      of the middle men who stalk them day and night?

      That's still a difficult question - but certainly
      there is a different and incredible kind of
      power in seeing physically the impact of 100000
      human beings marching down both sides of the
      highway into Mumbai - like some kind of an
      awesome phalanx, a Peoples' Army - and
      effectively blocking traffic for over two hours.
      And this was only a representative section of the
      people of the district.

      A personal account - Lalita Ramdas - Village Bhaimala - Alibag Taluka

      ______


      [8]

      The Telegraph (Guwahati edition)
      July 26, 2007

      A MIGRANTS FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL

      GUEST COLUMN -SANJIB BARUAH

      The name Jamir Ali is perhaps fictional. But his
      story, recounted in the 2005 Arunachal Pradesh
      Human Development Report, might throw some light
      on the phenomenon of suspected Bangladeshi
      nationals currently being expelled from that
      state as the result of actions by the states
      student organisations.

      Barely two years ago, this Arunachal government
      report had chosen to recount Jamir Alis story to
      underscore a remarkable economic phenomenon in
      the state: a quiet agricultural revolution led by
      migrant sharecroppers.
      Ali lived in the Dikrong river valley and,
      according to the report, he had moved to
      Arunachal from Lakhimpur district of Assam.
      Bringing with them the technology of wet rice
      cultivation, Ali and other migrant sharecroppers
      are described as pioneers of settled cultivation
      in Arunachal Pradesh. Their bullock-driven plough
      is the main instrument for extending settled
      cultivation and is therefore the symbol of the
      states agricultural modernisation. Thus huts that
      belong to migrant sharecroppers dot the entire
      valley and people like Jamir Ali are increasingly
      becoming common in the other valleys of Arunachal
      as well. They are now an important segment of the
      peasantry extending settled cultivation to
      Arunachal. Despite their significant contribution
      to Arunachals economy, however, the report also
      indicates that political and economic status of
      this odd group of agricultural modernisers is
      extremely vulnerable.

      Banal existence

      Ali, for instance, leased five acres of land on a
      sharecropping arrangement, and his family of
      seven lived in a thatched hut he built on that
      land. Apart from the share of the crop, earnings
      from seasonal labour, including the part of his
      wages as a rickshawpuller that he can keep
      another part he pays as rent to the rickshaw
      owner were the familys sources of livelihood. He
      cannot think of sending his children to school.
      For a group heralded as agricultural modernisers,
      the vulnerability of the legal status of Jamir
      Ali and his peers perhaps has few parallels in
      the world.

      The contract between sharecroppers and landlords
      says the report, is only short-term and eviction
      may take place any time. Since access to land in
      Arunachal is governed by customary law, the oral
      leases that allow them to live and cultivate
      after all the residential rights of most
      outsiders in Arunachal are severely restricted
      under the inner-line permit (ILP) regime.

      Not surprisingly, the drive against suspected
      Bangladeshis in Arunachal Pradesh has resulted in
      an exodus to Assam and the political parties and
      other organisations in Assam have reacted along
      predictable lines.
      The All Assam Students Union and the youth wing
      of the BJP have urged the state government to
      ensure that these displaced suspected
      Bangladeshis do not settle in Assam. The All Bodo
      Students Union and the All Assam Koch Rajbongshi
      Students Union, too, have raised their voice on
      the same lines. The Bodoland Territorial Councils
      chief executive Hagrama Mohilary said, no
      foreigner will be allowed to settle in the BTC
      area at any cost.
      On the opposite camp is the Congress-led state
      government that describes those expelled from
      Arunachal Pradesh as residents of Assam. The
      Assam United Democratic Fronts president
      Badruddin Ajmal calls them Bengali- speaking
      Indian Muslims, and has said only a judicial
      authority can determine the citizenship status of
      each individual. But who is right and who is
      wrong in this debate? Since no one doubts that
      there are large numbers of illegal immigrants
      from Bangla-desh in the Northeast, given the
      highly porous international border, it is perhaps
      safe to guess that some of them are indeed
      Bangladeshi nationals.

      But such a guess can hardly be a basis for a
      programme of action. For it is equally clear that
      since India has no mandatory personal
      identification system, it would be impossible to
      say with certainty who is a Bangladeshi national
      and who is not.

      The dangers of the conflation between
      Bangladeshis and the descendants of earlier
      settlers are real. After all, given that many of
      these immigrants of an earlier generation had
      settled in erosion-prone chars and other
      vulnerable lands, mobility is essential for their
      strategies of survival.
      For instance, many older generation migrants had
      settled in char areas despite the hazards of
      floods, erosion and submergence since sediments
      make for very fertile soil. Yet most chars are
      notoriously inhospitable to round-the-year
      living. Thus over the years, descendants of those
      settled in chars of Assam have dispersed to all
      parts of the Northeast and beyond in search of
      economic opportunities.

      For instance, Jamir Alis great grandfather,
      according to the account in the human development
      report, migrated to Assam from Mymensingh
      district of East Bengal (todays Bangladesh) in
      the early part of the 20th century. But this
      fourth generation immigrant from East Bengal
      could easily be labelled a Bangladeshi today.
      Indeed the Bangladeshi discourse could be an
      alternative framing of the reports story on
      migrant sharecroppers as agricultural modernisers
      in Arunachal Pradesh.

      Descent matters

      The exclusive focus on citizenship status
      obscures the economic forces that attract them to
      Arunachal Pradesh and the inescapable fact that
      the impact of immigration to the Northeast today
      internal and cross-national, legal as well as
      illegal -- is not the same everywhere. While
      continuing immigration produces acute stress
      ecological, political and economic in the Assam
      plains, Alis story also suggests that from an
      economic point of view, additional population is
      not a problem but a solution for places like
      Arunachal Pradesh.

      Development is bound to bring more people to
      Arunachal and other parts of the Northeast that
      are still sparsely populated. For instance, if
      the goal is to bring about a transition from
      shifting cultivation to settled cultivation, it
      cannot be done without significant expansion of
      the labour force.

      The story of migrant sharecroppers like Ali, who
      makes intensive use of family labour, simply
      illustrates this economic logic.
      The expansion of the labour force is even more of
      a prerequisite when it comes to other economic
      activities such as building roads or introducing
      modern businesses, industry or services.
      It is a new world of informal land markets and
      economic opportunities growing behind the legal
      fictions of community ownership of land and
      customary law that attract immigrants like Ali to
      Arunachal Pradesh.

      Calling the shots

      While our public discourse continues to be shaped
      by the image of migrant settlers taking advantage
      of the misery of a poor tribal, there are many
      places in the Northeast today where a tribal
      landlord, often empowered by positions in or
      connections to the state government, is in a
      position of power and dominance vis--vis the
      migrant sharecropper informally leasing his land
      to foreigners as well as Indian citizens. The
      informality of the arrangements exposes a large
      number of poor people to a more vulnerable legal
      position than that already implied in the
      marginal nature of the economic niches they
      occupy. The exodus from Arunachal Pradesh is a
      dramatic illustration of that.

      There is a remarkable symbiosis between the
      mobility-intensive livelihood strategies of
      generations of char settlers in Assam, and the
      new economic niches opening up in Arunachal
      Pradesh and other historically sparsely populated
      parts of the Northeast.

      It is important to address this dimension of the
      problem raised by the exodus from Arunachal
      Pradesh. Should we not begin thinking about
      legalising and formalising the land rental
      markets that bring the
      Jamir Alis to Arunachal Pradesh?

      In a political democracy, is it too much to ask
      that we begin working towards giving people like
      Ali a permanent stake in the regions economic
      future and more equal citizenship rights than
      what they could have under the colonial-era ILP
      regime?

      The writer is a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Tech

      ______



      [9] Announcements:

      (i)

      COMMUNAL VIOLENCE BILL

      PUBLIC MEETING

      Mehendi Nawab Jung Hall, Paldi, Ahmedabad

      9th August 2007 : 4.30 - 7.30 pm.


      As all of us are aware, the UPA Government had
      promised the nation a comprehensive legislation
      to combat communal violence. This legislation
      would be expected to address the root causes of
      such violence and enable the State to take
      decisive action to prevent it. We should not also
      forget the fact that such legislation was
      expected to have been conceived in the context of
      Gujarat genocide of 2002. Mass crimes, sexual
      crimes against women, total impunity of state as
      well as non-state perpetrators of such violence,
      victims languishing for years without any
      entitlements or reparations - all these have
      become part and parcel of our national scenario
      today. All these dimensions should have been
      addressed by the comprehensive legislation that
      we were waiting for. Instead we have been given a
      half-baked, ill-conceived Bill which in the
      present form would not only be ineffective, but
      could be dangerous. This Bill does not take
      cognizance of the politically motivated,
      conspiratorial process of build up towards any
      sequence of communal violence; instead reduces
      such violence to discrete events. It neither
      defines mass crimes / gender-based crimes nor
      provides for new punitive measures. The impunity
      of the state officials and the political class
      would still remain intact. This legislation,
      which should have empowered the citizens, made
      them feel more secure, strengthened the secular
      fabric of our nation, and given the victims
      broader avenues for justice, instead, has nothing
      to offer at all.

      The Ministry of Home Affairs has presented this
      Bill to the Parliament. However due to excellent
      advocacy done by several groups and activists
      from across the country, the Bill may not be
      passed in its present form during the current
      session of the Parliament. Alternative drafts
      also have been prepared by different groups.
      However it is important that we as civil society
      organizations and activists raise our voice
      against the Bill and also engage in the process
      of developing a citizen's draft of the Communal
      Violence Bill.

      The public meeting on the 9 th of August is an
      opportunity for all of us to deliberate on this
      legislation, update ourselves as to the efforts
      being made to stall this Bill from being passed
      in the current form, and also exchange notes
      regarding the alternative drafts which have been
      developed. If we all agree we could also draft a
      resolution to be sent to the PM and the HM
      registering our total disagreement with the Bill
      in its present form, exhorting them not to pass
      the Bill and urging them to have wider
      consultations at the civil society level in order
      to draft an effective legislation. We request you
      to be present in this meeting.

      In solidarity,

      Hiren Gandhi, Fr. Cedric Prakash, Shabnam
      Hashmi, Gagan Sethi, Zakia Jowher,

      Hanif Lakadawala, Sheeba George, Prasad Chacko, Persis Ginwalla



      o o o

      (ii)

      NATIVE WOMEN OF SOUTH INDIA : MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
      a photo-performance project by

      by Pushpamala N & Clare Arni

      With essays by Susie Tharu & Ashish Rajadhyaksha

      Hard Bound with dust jacket

      150 pages with more than 300 full colour illustrations

      "Goddesses, political satire, film stills,
      calendar icons, votive and high art images,
      anthropometrical and ethnographic records, news
      and documentary photographs and a host of other
      images and image formats are cited and wittily
      cross-fertilized. The artists create a virtual
      population explosion that mimics the mood, energy
      and
      genius of the visual vernacular in contemporary India."- Susie Tharu

      Price from Nature Morte or Gallery Chemould in India Rs. 1500 + VAT
      Shipping in India + Rs. 500/- International Shipping + Rs. 1000/-

      Price in New York US$40. + Sales Tax. Shipping extra.

      Enquiries to Publishers
      Gallery Nature Morte, New Delhi
      A-1, Neeti Bagh, New Delhi-110049
      91-11-41740215 / info@...

      Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
      Chemould Prescott Road,
      Queens Mansion, 3rd Floor,
      G. Talwatkar Marg (Above Yantra)
      Fort, Mumbai-400001
      91-22-22844356 / art@...

      Bose Pacia, New York
      508, West, 26th Street, 11th Floor,
      New York, NY-10001
      1-212 9897074 / mail@...


      o o o

      (iii)


      P.C. Joshi Birth Centenary Celebrations Committee
      has decided to prepare an exhibition to be put on
      display from the first week of November 2007. The
      work for preparing the exhibition would begin
      from the first week of September 2007.

      We request comrades and friends who are in
      possession of any photographs, correspondence of
      articles of P.C. Joshi, to send them to us by
      August 30, 2007. The originals, if they so wish,
      would be returned to them.

      Prof. Arjun Dev Convenor P.C. Joshi Birth
      Centenary Celebrations Committee 4 Windsor Place,
      New Delhi -110001 Tel.: 23711732/
      9810329473/9810144958


      _/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

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