SACW | August 31 - Sept. 1, 2007 | Sri Lanka: Public letter to the President / P
- South Asia Citizens Wire | August 31 - September 1, 2007 | Dispatch
No. 2443 - Year 9
 Sri Lanka: Submissions to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry
and public on human rights violations
+ Public letter to the President - on International day of the
disappeared - 30th August 2007
(i) Democracy is Much More Than Elections (Naeem Sarfraz)
(ii) How Pakistanis see India (Kamila Shamsie)
 India - US Nuclear Deal:
(i) The perils of non-proliferation amnesia (William C. Potter and
(ii) India struggles to solve N-deal crisis (Praful Bidwai)
 India: Fear of Contempt (Prashant Bhushan, Campaign for Judicial
Accountability and Reforms)
 India: Nab Mumbai's guilty (Jyoti Punwani)
 Publication Announcement: Sites and Practices - an exercise in
 Book Review: Trespassers will be persecuted (Vineeta Kalbag)
 Upcoming Events:
(i) "Beyond Partition" - A Film Screening and Interactive Discussion
(Karachi, 1 September 2007)
(ii) Seminar On Dissent and Debate in Society (Ahmedabad, 8 September
(iii) Lecture by Bapsi Sidhwa 'History and Women's Rights Issues'
(Texas, 11 September 2007)
(iv) Independent People's Tribunal on the Impact of the World Bank
Group in India. (New Delhi, 21-24 Sept 2007)
 SRI LANKA
Civil Monitoring Commission
Free Media Movement
Law & Society Trust
FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
23 August 2007
First in a series of submissions to the Presidential Commission of
Inquiry and public on human rights violations in Sri Lanka
The Law & Society Trust, in collaboration with four local partners
including the Civil Monitoring Commission and the Free Media Movement,
has compiled a working document listing 547 persons killed and 396 persons
disappeared during the period January to June 2007. The complete
confidential document, with names, locations of incidents and all
available data, has been submitted to the Presidential Commission of
Inquiry ("the Commission") as well as relevant members of Government.
This public letter is the first in a series on the island-wide
situation in relation to killings, missing persons and other human
rights violations. It will be updated hereafter on a regular basis.
Please note that this is not, nor is it intended to be, an exhaustive
list. Though the Commission has been asked to look specifically at 16
plus the assassination of TNA MP N Raviraj, we note that the wording
of the Commission's mandate - "to obtain information, investigate and
inquire into alleged serious human rights violations arising since 1st
2005" - provides an omnibus clause which permits consideration of
cases outside of those specified in the mandate.
We have submitted this information to the Commission so that it may
examine the attached documents and investigate these incidents. This
is of vital importance in the absence of an acknowledgement of these
and disappearances by the government and other statutory bodies with a
mandate for human rights protection in the country.
The attached analysis is based on the information obtained from local
partners, some of whom did not wish to be named to ensure that they
remain free to document violations. Wherever possible, this
information has been cross-checked and verified to ensure that there
is no multiple reporting of the same incident.
The largest proportion of people killed in the first six months of
2007 were Tamil - 70.7% across the island, as compared with 9.1%
Sinhalese and 5.9% Muslims. The gravity of this situation becomes even
more pronounced when considered against the fact that the Tamil people
make up only 16% of the total population. Men were killed in much
larger numbers than women 89.9% vs. 9.7%.
By district, Jaffna was worst affected by killings (23.2%), followed
by Batticaloa and Vavuniya (21.5% and 21.3 respectively). The data on
humanitarian workers and religious leaders killed reflects the overall
trends in killings, with Tamils disproportionately affected as
compared with Muslim and Sinhalese. Killings of this category of
persons were highest in Trincomalee, during the period 1 January 2006
to 21 August 2007. However, it is notable that religious leaders of
three of the four main faiths of the island have been killed since
last year - Father Jim Brown (August 2006), Selliah Parameshwaran
Kurukkal (February 2007) and Ven Handungamuwe Nandarathna Thero (March
As with killings, Tamils suffered disproportionately from abductions -
64.6%, compared with 3% Sinhalese and 3% Muslims. Men represented
nearly 98% of all missing persons.
By district, Jaffna was again worst affected by disappearances
(49.5%). However Colombo was next worst affected, at 17.7%,
underlining the concern expressed by many local NGOs at the situation
with respect to this particular violation. Nearly 19% of persons
abducted were taken from their homes. The vast majority of these were
in Jaffna, however there were a few abductions from home in other
parts of the country. Where times were specified, these were for
persons who disappeared in Jaffna, which has been under curfew since
before January 2007. Roughly 5% of all persons abducted were persons
abducted from home during curfew in Jaffna - in an area allegedly
under government control, this points to the possibility of government
inability or unwillingness to keep all its citizens safe.
It is our hope that the investigations by the Commission, with
assistance of the IIGEP, lead to identification of perpetrators and
prosecution, thereby ensuring justice to victims and their family
members, as well as directly addressing the prevailing culture of
Also attached to this letter is a compilation of published material,
where detailed information is not available, from reliable and
credible sources such as the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and
UNICEF for the period January to June 2007 on killings and missing
persons as well as recruitment of child soldiers. Killings and
abductions of aid workers, religious leaders and media personnel -
the latter drawn from the Free Media Movement - are also covered.
As stated above, this is not intended to be an exhaustive list.
Rather, we hope that by bringing together information from a range of
reliable sources on killings, missing persons, and other rights
violations, this document may give readers some sense of the enormity
and shape of the current human rights crisis in Sri Lanka.
Though we call on the Commission to use their mandate to investigate
these violations, fully utilizing the available expertise and
assistance of the IIGEP, in the long term we believe it is not ad hoc
bodies such as the Commission that should address these violations,
but statutory domestic human rights protection mechanisms, cooperating
with and assisted by the international community, particularly the
United Nations. In the absence of adequate and visible steps taken so
far by domestic bodies to address the violations, there are clear
indications that this trend will continue in the coming months.
o o o
30th August 2007
His Excellency the Hon. Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse
President Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka
C/o Office of the President
Commemoration of the International day of the disappeared - 30th
We write in solidarity and bring greetings on this important day
commemorating the global cause of justice for the disappeared and
We appreciate the leadership you had taken as far back as late 1980s
to eradicate this dreaded phenomenon in our country, and also note the
several steps you have initiated as the President, such as the one man
Presidential Commission of Inquiry, to address the rise of this grave
crime against humanity.
We understand that the Chairman, Mr. Tillekeratne has submitted the
final report of the Commission to you. As you know, one of the worst
aspects of a disappearance, from the point of view of the family, is
the unending grief, due to the non acknowledgement of the fact that
your loved ones have actually disappeared, leaving no trace of what
happens to them. The publication of Justice Tillekeratne's report will
be a step towards addressing this great grief and we urge you to and
we urge you to take
immediate steps in this regard.
We also note the recent arrests of persons suspected of masterminding
abductions in Colombo, but we continue to be concerned that this
practice has not been completely eradicated in our country and note
with dismay that according to the Human Rights Commission, in the
first two weeks of August alone, 18 people disappeared and 11 people
were unlawfully killed in Jaffna. We expect you to continue your keen
interest in this matter by requesting the highest level investigations
into the alleged disappearances in the North East as well as rest of
the country and by supporting all attempts at prosecuting the
miscreants. You maybe unaware that there are many families of people
who disappeared almost twenty years ago who have yet to even be given
access to the minimum programmes that were spearheaded by you like the
compensation programmes. Many have also not received justice despite
the court proceedings and in many of the Commissions created to
inquire into enforced disappearances. Some families experience
difficulties in befitting from this scheme due to the inability to
obtain a death certificates. Discrimination based on the region and
other considerations such as civilian and government servant of the
victim also remains a key concern for family members. Your election to
the office of the President had raised expectations of many such
families, and we trust that you strive to fulfill their just
aspirations by reviving these programmes and systematize them so that
families who have no hope of any justice for the wrong done to them
may at least feel that the state hears their pain and remains in
solidarity with them.
At the same time, we also request you to make public the unpublished
sections of the report handed over to the then President in 2002, by
the All Island Presidential Commission of Inquiry to inquire into
enforced disappearances that was appointed in 1998, which has
identified details of what actually happened to people who had
disappeared and those responsible. This too, will go a long way in
providing a sense of support and solidarity to family members of those
who had disappeared. Considering that the dreaded phenomenon of
enforced disappearances are again being reported on a large scale
throughout the country, we call on you to take immediate steps to
implement the recommendations made by the various Presidential
Commission of Inquiries appointed to investigate enforced
disappearances and the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary
Further, as you are aware, one of the blocks in our search for justice
has been the lack of recognition of disappearances as a crime in Sri
Lanka and the prohibition on examination of the command structures and
determination of criminal culpability of the architects of the systems
that perpetuate these crimes in our country. Thus, we request you to
take steps towards amending our Penal Code to include the crime of
disappearance and the concept of command responsibility within it.
Finally, given your own personal role in pushing for a strong
international action against enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka and
all over the world, we hope that your government will accept the
assistance offered by the international community to Sri Lanka,
particularly by extending an invitation to the UN Working Group on
Enforced Disappearances to visit the country and assist you and your
government to address the large number of disappearances which are
reported as having occurred since 2006.
In order to prevent enforced disappearances, and in solidarity with
families of the disappeared in Sri Lanka and world over, we trust
that Your Excellency will also continue the support Sri Lanka extended
towards the cause of international struggle against disappearances by
taking immediate steps to ratify UN International Convention Against
Together in solidarity with families of the disappeared,
Association of Family Members of the Disappeared (AFMD)
Association of War Affected Women
Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)
Centre for Peace and Human Rights Culture (CEPAHRC)
Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation (Cpbr)
Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA)
Families of the Disappeared (FOD)
Free Media Movement (FMM)
INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism
Home for Human Rights (HHR)
Human Development Organization
Human Rights Media Resource Centre
Law & Society Trust (LST)
Mothers and Daughters of Lanka
Muslim Informational Centre
National Christian Council of Sri Lanka Commission for Justice and Peace
National Peace Council (NPC)
Parents of Servicemen Missing in Action
Right to Life
22 August 2007
DEMOCRACY IS MUCH MORE THAN ELECTIONS
by Naeem Sarfraz
There is a huge misconception that free and fair elections will lead
to democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Several times
in the last 60 years Pakistanis have gone to the polls with great
expectations, only to have their hopes shattered. In theory each new
Parliament was expected to bring about new legislation for the common
good; and each new government expected to work for the security and
well being of the masses.
Reality was different. Promises were broken. Morals were set aside.
Fresh waves of loot and plunder began, with new parliamentarians at
the forefront. Issues of the public good received lip service---
education, health care, jobs, housing, security ---- but the lot of
the common man got worse. To stem the rot, in stepped the powerful
colonial establishment, represented initially by bureaucrats Ghulam
Mohammad and Iskandar Mirza and later by generals Ayub, Yahya, Zia and
Musharaff. The four generals ruled the country as dictators for 33 of
its 60 years history. Tragically, each left the country in no better
shape than before.
Each time a general took over, he claimed democracy had failed. He
would promise to save the nation and then restore democracy. How naive
such thinking proved to be. Today a general is desperately trying to
retain power in the face of fierce opposition. He would like to
"manage" the elections or at least to cut a sweatheart "deal" with one
or more unscrupulous political leaders and hold on to power. Everyone
else is dreaming of free and fair elections and a swift return to
democracy. But elections alone do not bring about democracy, no matter
how fair and free. Democracy is a whole lot more.
Democracy is about values. It is a mindset, where citizens have to
fight to defend their rights and freedoms. Democracy needs a vibrant
civil society, conscious of its responsibilities as well as its power.
Civil society itself is driven by ideas and ideals; by writers and
poets. These thinkers and philosophers are the true custodians of
democracy, the fountainhead of freedom. They blossom in a free
environment, where the media fiercely guards its own freedom.
Democracy is also about the daily life of a citizen. Does the state do
enough for his welfare and security? Is he shown respect and provided
succor when he interacts with state functionaries? Or is he treated
with contempt and intimidation by overbearing bureaucrats and
policemen? Is he really getting a fair deal?
In Pakistan the three pillars of democracy --- executive, judiciary
and legislature --- have long been manipulated by ruthless civil and
military leaders. But things are obviously changing. A handful of
lawyers have suddenly fired the nation's imagination, cracking open
the long-barricaded door to democracy. Indignant at the shameful
handling of their Chief Justice, 100,000 lawyers across Pakistan stood
up to dictatorship. Led by the charismatic Aitzaz Ahsan, Hamid Khan,
Munir Malik and Ali Ahmad Kurd they freed the Chief Justice from
virtual bondage and elevated the judiciary to heights never seen before.
A vibrant civil society, activist lawyers and a courageous media have
unshackled the judiciary and taken arguably the first concrete step
towards establishing genuine freedom in Pakistan. For this they have
earned the everlasting gratitude of the nation.
The next step certainly is to ensure free and fair elections.
Tragically, rigging has already started. Imagine the audacity of the
Election Commission which has so innocently disenfranchised 25 million
voters. They would have got away with it, had it not been for the
timely intervention of the Chief Justice. Bureaucrats and the
intelligence agencies must never again be allowed to rig elections.
Those involved in rigging must be exposed and punished. Concerned
citizens, an alert media and a proactive judiciary collectively can
stop electoral malpractices, far better than the usual bevy of foreign
Civil society must also ensure that political parties do not again
give tickets to known scoundrels, for the Presidency or for
Parliament. (Strangely, with Presidential Elections around the corner,
the Opposition has no candidate). Free and fair elections become
meaningless if selfish leaders award party tickets to crooks. Indeed,
the main cause of President Musharraf's own undoing has been his
political alliance with known charlatans. While ensuring free
elections, civil society must also force political parties to nominate
clean candidates. That will be the second important step towards
democracy, the first having been unshackling of the judiciary.
But even that is not enough. The joker in the pack is the third pillar
of the State, the executive. At partition we inherited an executive
which had been trained to rule the country in the name of the
King-Emperor. Its exclusive function was to keep the colony and its
people totally subservient to the King-Emperor. Soldiers, policemen
and bureaucrats were trained to ruthlessly suppress the natives and
enforce the King's writ. Tragically this mindset has not changed. The
civil servant is neither civil nor anyone's servant. From Patwari and
Thanedar upwards the civil servant ruthlessly lords it over the
public. He uses outmoded draconian laws and procedures to trample the
citizen, shamelessly violating fundamental rights and human dignity,
enshrined both in our religion and in our Constitution, in order to
serve his master of the day.
In a democracy, civil society as guardians of people's rights, must
work with lawyers, judges, the media and Parliamentarians to curb the
excesses of a colonial bureaucracy and a Bonapartist military.
But first and foremost, for democracy to function the military
government must hand over power. The President has declared that his
uniform is his second skin which he cannot shed. That can also be
resolved. Perhaps the "Q" League cabinet, hugely beholden to him for
his largesse, can promote him Field Marshal. He can then keep his
uniform on, as Field Marshals traditionally do not retire, and remain
Pakistan's top soldier for the rest of his life. In return he can
dissolve Parliament even before 15th September. As there would then be
no electoral college for Presidential elections (15 September to 15
October) he can legally continue as President well into the New Year,
avoiding another crises which otherwise will surely occur next month.
Elections under a caretaker set-up with no "deals" and no rigging can
follow. The people of Pakistan can decide their own destiny, with a
new President, new federal and provincial governments, a new Army
Chief, a rejuvenated judiciary, a free media, a chastened military, a
humbled bureaucracy and a powerful civil society to face the
challenges of a new Millennium. Then alone will democracy flourish.
The alternatives are grim.
o o o
August 23, 2007
HOW PAKISTANIS SEE INDIA
by Kamila Shamsie
Whatever the consolations of India's inefficiency, it's impossible to
ignore the fact that Pakistan's position in the world centres around
its murky role in the `war on terror' while India's centres around
Earlier this year, while in Delhi for a writers' conference, I met one
of my compatriots from across the border. "It's such a relief, isn't
it?" he said.
"Coming to India and discovering that, despite the hype of the past
couple of years, it's still just another inefficient, dirty, Third
World country like ours." The subtext was clear: a truly shining India
would make Pakistan feel very dim by comparison.
But whatever the consolations of India's inefficiency, it's impossible
to ignore the fact that Pakistan's position in the world centres
around its murky role in the `war on terror' while India's centres
It was not always like this. Pakistan has long been in the habit of
feeling superior to India in economic terms. At the start of the `90s
when I was taking A-level economics in Karachi, our teacher taught us
all we needed to know about India's protectionist economy with the
sentence: "The only part of Indian cars which doesn't make a noise is
What, then, is the impact of the reversal of fortunes of the past
decade? For the more thoughtful segments of Pakistani society it is
reason to take a critical look at the failures of Pakistan's policies.
Nayyara Rahman, a business student, told me she envies the Indians
"because their growth is not frothy like ours; it's more sustainable,
because it includes the wider spheres of the population, and not just
the fringed elite".
And Ameena Saiyid, the MD of Oxford University Press, Pakistan, also
admits to envy particularly over India's refusal to allow "its cows
and elephants and other religious symbols and beliefs to impede their
march to economic growth while we have got totally entangled in our
burqas and beards".
But for a number of Pakistanis there remains doubt about whether the
reversal of India's fortunes is real or just a giant bubble of hype.
Columnist Amina Jilani says: "Pakistan loathes admitting that India
might even be a growing power. In local idiom, we think we are both
`same to same'."
When I pushed another Pakistani for evidence that, deep down, Pakistan
hasn't accepted its economically weaker position he responded: "The
arms race. They test a missile, we test a missile." And it's true that
Pakistan seems to have learned little from the collapse of the Soviet
Union as it tried to keep up with America's defence spending.
Perhaps it's apt, in a tragic-satirical way, that the arms race is one
of the few areas in which Pakistan and India's economic muscles
grapple with each other. In most other areas the approach is strictly
hands-off: trade with India has always been severely restricted.
Change is under way, but Pakistan continues to link economic progress
to "forward movement on all fronts", which everyone recognises as a
reference to Kashmir.
There are dissenters to this "keep India out" view. They include
film-maker Hasan Zaidi. Given the might of Bollywood, one might assume
that he would be the last person to call for an opening up of markets
(at present, Pakistani cinemas are banned from showing Bollywood
films, although they are readily available on pirated DVDs).
But Zaidi points out that the Pakistan film industry is already in "a
death spiral", that there's much to be gained by bringing across
technically accomplished Indian films, and that India is a huge market
that Pakistani film-makers can take advantage of.
Of course it's not just goods that have a hard time crossing borders.
Visa restrictions mean that people, too, have a difficult time
witnessing firsthand life on the other side. That might change when
and if India's economic growth allows it to make the one claim that
remains elusive: that its poverty rates are lower than Pakistan's.
That eventuality may well mark the point when Pakistan's labour force
turns its eyes away from the Gulf and Europe to dream of earning a
livelihood in a country where language and custom are not barriers.
For the moment, though, India and Pakistan exist primarily in each
other's imaginations, and our reactions to each other continue to be
based on old psychological wounds. Dawn/Guardian Service
 ON THE INDO US NUCLEAR DEAL:
Sep 01, 2007
THE PERILS OF NON-PROLIFERATION AMNESIA
by William C. Potter and Jayantha Dhanapala
The India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, if endorsed by the NSG and the
U.S. Congress, will virtually ensure the demise of global nuclear
Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation means different things to different
people a reversal of decades of U.S. non-proliferation policy, a
promising new market for U.S. nuclear commerce, violation of the
fundamental principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),
and the prospect of a strategic partnership among vibrant democracies.
One thing it definitely does not mean is strengthened export controls.
Despite efforts by the White House to portray the deal as a plus for
combating the spread of nuclear weapons, the terms of the latest round
of U.S.-Indian nuclear negotiations confirm the opposite conclusion.
Repeatedly outfoxed by their Indian counterparts and hindered by the
political unwillingness of a lame-duck administration to walk away
from the negotiations, U.S. diplomats have achieved an embarrassing
accord. If endorsed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the U.S.
Congress, it will virtually ensure the demise of global nuclear export
The next key round of deliberations on the deal is apt to take place
this fall among the 45-member NSG a body that only three years ago
was urged by President Bush to tighten export controls, especially in
the sensitive fuel cycle area. Today, however, Washington has a
different agenda that closely resembles the one Russia had long sought
(and the U.S. had opposed) to create an exception for India to
standard export guidelines that preclude the supply of nuclear
material and technology to states lacking safeguards on all of their
nuclear facilities. As a result of this shift in U.S. policy, Russia
already has rushed to sign new nuclear trade agreements with India
without waiting for the NSG to modify its guidelines by consensus as
is required. China also has indicated its intent to apply a similar
exception to Pakistan, and one can soon imagine Australia, Belarus,
France, South Africa, and other states citing the NSG precedent for
India as the basis for exporting nuclear commodities to anyone
whenever it is commercially or politically expedient.
What is perhaps most unusual and ominous about the current debate over
India within the NSG is the extent to which economic considerations
appear to override those involving proliferation even among states
that are typically regarded as the leaders of the international
non-proliferation community. Apparently, gone are the days when
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, and members of
the European Union could be counted on to lead the charge in support
of strict adherence to non-proliferation treaties.
At the historic 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, which
extended the Treaty indefinitely, NPT parties including all members
of the NSG made a political commitment to refrain from nuclear
cooperation with states lacking "full scope" safeguards. And yet, most
of these states either are unaware of these obligations or have chosen
to ignore them.
The dissonance is most striking with respect to Australia and South
Africa two countries that pride themselves on model
non-proliferation behaviour reflected in part by their ratification
of nuclear-weapon-free zones in their respective regions, the Treaty
of Raratonga in the South Pacific and the Pelindaba Treaty in Africa.
Both treaties have explicit language prohibiting members from engaging
in nuclear commerce with states lacking comprehensive safeguards, as
is the case in India. And yet Australia and South Africa have each
endorsed nuclear trade with India and are supportive of the U.S.
initiative to weaken the NSG guidelines to allow such commerce. It is
as if they believe they can selectively disavow inconvenient
legally-binding obligations a particularly difficult manoeuvre for
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who is on record as
having acknowledged the restrictive nature of the Raratonga Treaty.
It remains to be seen if the current subordination of
non-proliferation objectives to economic and other considerations will
be a fleeting phenomenon or a more enduring fact of international
politics. However, it is disconcerting that the decision about nuclear
trade with India in some capitals has been made by officials who do
not have expertise in or responsibility for non-proliferation matters
and who have little regard for its proliferation implications. This is
the case in Canada and the U.S., and appears to resemble the process
by which decisions were reached in many EU countries, as well as other
members of the NSG.
Export controls remain an imperfect but useful tool to curb the spread
of nuclear weapons. In this regard, the NSG would be well advised to
follow Florence Nightingale's guiding principle that "whatever else
hospitals do they should not spread disease." Otherwise, at a time of
mounting proliferation challenges, this body is apt to adopt a policy
that intentionally or inadvertently erodes the effectiveness of one of
the most important multilateral non-proliferation instruments.
(William Potter is Director of the James Martin Center for
Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International
Studies. Jayantha Dhanapala is a former U.N. Under-Secretary General
for Disarmament Affairs and Ambassador of Sr i Lanka to the United
States, who served as president of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension
o o o
September 01, 2007
INDIA STRUGGLES TO SOLVE N-DEAL CRISIS
by Praful Bidwai
The writer, a former newspaper editor, is a researcher and peace and
human-rights activist based in Delhi
As Pakistan's government makes a bid in the Nuclear Suppliers' Group
for equal treatment with India in respect of civilian nuclear
cooperation, its citizens would do well to look at India's experience
with the nuclear deal inked with the United States in 2005.
Domestically, this experience has proved remarkably unhappy and
divisive and precipitated an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between
the ruling United Progressive Alliance and the Left parties, whose
support it needs for survival. The conflict over the "123 agreement"
signed in late July came close to destabilising the government. Now,
there are signs that the two sides are willing to reach a rapprochement.
Formally, neither has retreated from its stated position. Yet, both
have executed shifts of stance. In practice, the UPA has come close to
meeting the Left's demand that further talks on the deal with the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the NSG be put on hold.
Thus, Indian officials will attend the IAEA annual conference this
month, but will only negotiate an inspections (safeguards) agreement
with the agency in November. India missed the August 17 deadline for
giving notice of such talks. This enlarges the UPA's opportunity to
negotiate an honourable compromise with the Left.
Equally important, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has declined
President Bush's invitation to a meeting at his Texas
ranch--signalling that he doesn't intend to be totally servile to
Washington despite his embarrassing praise for Bush as the
"friendliest towards India" of all US presidents. The UPA also
rescheduled Parliamentary debate to emphasise some commonalities with
the Left The Left has lowered the pitch of its attacks on the UPA for
"drawing India into the US strategic orbit". It has moved from warning
it of serious "consequences", to saying it "does not want the current
crisis to affect the government". As CPM politburo member Sitaram
Yechury put it, the Left only demands that the UPA press the "pause"
button, not the "stop"/"eject" button.
The two sides have since cautiously opened talks on a "mechanism" to
resolve differences--a committee of leaders, which will discuss the
Left's "strategic" objections to the deal and examine whether the "123
agreement" meets India's concerns about sovereign control over nuclear
activities, raised by the Hyde Act passed in the US last year. The Act
has two components: non-binding exhortations, and obligatory Sections.
The (in)famous portions which demand "congruence" between India's
foreign policy and US interests belong to the first. But the sections
pertaining to the "right of return" (of nuclear equipment/material) if
India tests nuclear weapons are binding ones.
The Left must decide if its objections to this second part are so
fundamental as to demand the deal's scrapping. The Left rightly
opposes nuclear weapons on principle. It condemned the 1998 blasts by
India and Pakistan, and has argued against further testing. The second
part becomes relevant only in the extremely unlikely event of India
conducting a nuclear test--which the Left would, logically, condemn.
Besides, "123" cushions the impact of the US's "right of return"
through multi-layered consultations.
It's one thing to oppose the nuclear deal because it violates the
causes of disarmament, peace and environmentally sound energy
development. It's quite another to do so because the deal might impede
India's "freedom" to stockpile mass-destruction weapons. (Actually, it
won't.) Any notion of sovereignty that's detached from the people and
linked to mass-destruction weapons is fundamentally flawed. The
question of the deal's strategic import is a tricky one. It's part of,
and consummates, India's foreign and security policy realignment
towards the US, in progress since 2000. The Left has every right to
oppose this given the US's disastrous global role. But the realignment
process cannot be reversed by suspending just one of its components.
Meanwhile, the deal's critics are differentiating themselves from one
another. The traditionally pro-US Bharatiya Janata Party is moving
from strong opposition to qualified support for the deal. LK Advani
has said the BJP won't object to the deal if the government passes a
"domestic Hyde Act" to ensure continuity in nuclear supplies. He
berated the Left for its "anti-Americanism" and said: "--we have no
objection to a strategic partnership with the US." This is a terrible
comment on the BJP's consistency and credibility. Just three weeks
ago, the same Advani approached the Left for coordinating opposition
to the deal in parliament, and was properly snubbed. The BJP's slimy
shift should help crystallise different positions within the political
The emerging political situation is pregnant with possibilities. A
dramatic mid-term election may not be the most likely possibility. No
party wants or is ready for one. A nationwide poll by Outlook magazine
says 63 percent of respondents do not want a mid-term election.
Although a narrow majority (52 per cent) support the deal, an even
higher 58 per cent believe Singh could have handled the deal-related
crisis better, and 42 per cent (including 51 per cent of urban
respondents) say India should not operationalise the deal until the
Left's objections have been met.
This should take the wind out of the sails of those who claim the
Indian public doesn't trust or respect the Left, or that the deal is
overwhelmingly popular. Indeed, as many as 44 per cent aren't even
aware of the agreement and 61 per cent believe it cannot be an
election issue. However, if elections are nevertheless held in the
near future, the outcome is unlikely to be radically different from
the Lok Sabha's present composition. According to a large-sample
(12,000 respondents) survey by NDTV-GfK-MODE, the Congress stands to
gain the most, and the BJP to lose the most, from a mid-term election.
The Left too is likely to lose 10 to 15 seats, not least because of
serious infighting within the CPM in Kerala, but also because it won't
get the support of many allies, as it did in 2004. According to this
forecast, the Congress would win 185 seats, up from 145 in 2004. The
UPA's total tally would only be 232 seats--about 20 higher than in
2004 (212) The BJP is forecast to win 116 seats, in place of the
earlier 140. The NDA as a whole is likely to lose more than 20 seats
of its 2004 total (180). (I personally feel the Congress might do
better and the NDA worse.)
The Left, then, has very little to gain from an early election. That
is a strong practical reason why it should not precipitate one. In any
case, it's a safe bet that the CPM's West Bengal and Tripura units
will be most reluctant to risk an early election. They performed
spectacularly in the last state elections--the Left Front won 235 out
of 294 seats in West Bengal. They have a comfortable equation with the
Centre, and would be loath to oppose it on a foreign policy issue.
If no early elections are held, as seems most probable, the political
scenario will evolve in ways that largely favour left-of-centre
forces, especially if the UPA focuses on the unorganised sector and
agriculture. It is formulating three schemes for the unorganised,
which are likely to further its aam aadmi claim. The NDA seems set for
a hard time as the BJP's disarray continues.
August 29, 2007
FEAR OF CONTEMPT
Why was a story showing judicial misconduct at the highest places
blacked out by the entire mainstream media? Is it fear of contempt
which has effectively prevented a proper exposure of the rot and
corruption within the judiciary? ......
by Prashant Bhushan
The recent outburst of the Chief Justice of India on the TV journalist
who had done the sting operation on the "Warrants for Cash" scam in
the courts of Gujarat has again brought to the fore the related issues
of judicial accountability and the court's powers of Contempt. The TV
channel had conducted a sting operation on officials of the district
courts of Gujarat who were filmed negotiating amounts for getting
warrants issued from the Gujarat courts. The "bribes" were paid and
warrants were actually got issued against the then President of India,
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and others. The telecast was
made after informing the Supreme Court about it. The Supreme Court
then took serious note of the matter and the Gujarat High Court
started a departmental inquiry against the judicial officers through
whom the warrants were got issued. Though the judges had not bothered
to examine the complainants before issuing the warrants, yet the
judicial officers were acquitted by the High Court. It was thereafter
that the current Chief Justice slammed the journalist who had carried
out this operation and threatened to send him to jail for contempt
unless he apologized.
The Chief Justice's outburst was widely reported in the media and it
provoked a few critical comments by the media on the unjustified
threat of contempt in this case. But the threat had its effect. A few
days later, on 3rd August, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability
and Reforms, an organization whose patrons and members include such
respectable figures as Justice Krishna Iyer, Justice Sawant, Mr.
Shanti Bhushan, Admiral Tahiliani and others, held a press conference
in Delhi to highlight a case of Judicial Misconduct at the highest
places in the Indian Judiciary. The facts revealed and documents
released in the Press Conference showed how the sons of a former Chief
Justice of India had got into partnerships with large shopping mall
and commercial complex developers and got into the business of
developing commercial complexes just before their father called the
case of sealing commercial establishments operating from residential
areas to himself and thereafter passed the orders of sealing them.
These orders created panic in the city, led to the sealing of lakhs of
shops and offices, and forced many of them to find spaces in malls and
commercial complexes, thereby raising their prices enormously.
Around the same time, the sons' companies were allotted several
commercial plots of more than 6 acres in Noida, by the Mulayam
Singh/Amar Singh government. These plots worth over a hundred crores
were allotted for a tenth of those prices. All this at a time when the
judge was dealing with cases of Amar Singh's infamous tapes, whose
publication by the media he went on to restrain.
Unimpeachable documents attesting to these facts were released at the
press conference, which was attended by virtually the entire
mainstream media. Yet the story of such enormous public interest,
showing judicial misconduct at the highest places, was blacked out by
the entire mainstream media, ostensibly due to fear of courting
Contempt. And this, despite the fact that this was the case of a
former judge and despite the fact that the Contempt of Courts Act has
been recently amended to allow truth as a defence to a contempt
action. This episode underlines the dread that the draconian law of
contempt still continues to inspire in the media.
A fear which has effectively prevented a proper exposure of the rot
within the judiciary and has stilled serious public discussion of what
is to be done about corruption in the judiciary.
The judiciary is the only institution in the country which remains
totally unaccountable. There is no institution with disciplinary
powers over the judiciary. In order to provide for their independence,
the Constitution made judges of the superior courts immune from
removal except by impeachment. The Ramaswami case and subsequent
attempts to impeach judges have demonstrated the total impracticality
of that instrument to discipline judges. There has thereafter been
persistent talk of setting up an independent National Judicial
Commission, but it has been a non starter with the judiciary firmly
opposing any outside body with disciplinary powers over them. However,
the self disciplining mechanism suggested by the judiciary itself by
way of an "In house committee" of judges to enforce a code of conduct
nominally adopted by the judiciary in 1999, has also been a non
starter in the face of a reluctance on the part of judges to inquire
into the conduct of their own brethren. That is one of the reasons why
the Parliamentary Standing Committee has rejected the government's
draft of the Judicial Inquiry amendment bill which proposes an "in
house Judicial Council" of sitting judges to inquire into judicial
misconduct. The bill would in fact make the removal of judges even
more difficult than at present.
Compounding the problem further is the Supreme Court's decree that no
judge can be investigated for even criminal offences without the
written consent of the Chief Justice of India. In the last 16 years
since that judgement, no sitting judge in India has been subjected to
a criminal investigation. And not because people have not tried. Very
recently, the previous Chief Justice of India refused to accord
permission to register an FIR against the senior judge of Lucknow who
had purchased land worth 7 Crores for 5 lacs from well known members
of a land mafia in the name of his wife.
And now various High Courts have framed rules to make themselves
virtually immune from the Right to Information Act. Thus many of them
have fixed application fees of Rs. 500, instead of the usual 10. Many
say, contrary to the Act, that information will not be provided to
those who are not directly affected by the information. Worst of all,
many prohibit information on administrative and financial matters.
Thus the Delhi High Court refused to give information about class 4
employees recruited by them, citing this rule.
Bringing accountability to the judiciary must be preceded by frank
public discussion and debate. Unfortunately that cannot get started
with the threat of contempt looming over people. That is why it has
become urgent to completely overhaul the law of contempt.
Prashant Bhushan is an eminent public interest lawyer in the Supreme
Times of India
14 Aug 2007
NAB MUMBAI'S GUILTY
by Jyoti Punwani
There are more than a handful of individuals who can provide crucial
information in trying the accused in the January 1993 Mumbai riots.
For instance, the person whose testimony can help try Shiv Sena
supremo Bal Thackeray is now social justice minister in Vilasrao
According to Srikrishna commission's report into the Mumbai riots (Vol
II, Para 9.6) Chandrakant Handore was present when Thackeray
instructed his cadre to retaliate. According to the testimony of
Mahanagar reporter Yuvraj Mohite, Handore as the mayor had gone with
him to Matoshree to get Thackeray to sign an appeal for peace when the
January riots had just begun.
Mohite's testimony says that the Shiv Sena chief was directing the
violence over the phone and to his lieutenants in person. After they
came out, Mohite and his editor Nikhil Wagle asked Handore to report
the matter to the chief minister. Handore was not inclined to do that.
Mohite testified before the Srikrishna commission; Handore didn't. Nor
did he cooperate with the Special Task Force (STF) set up by
Maharashtra's home minis-ter Chhagan Bhujbal in 2000 to implement the
Srikrishna commission report.
Handore is not the only person who would know the inside story on the
riots. There is ex-Sena MLA Jaywant Parab, who is known to be close to
former Sena strongman Narayan Rane, now revenue minister. Parab is
co-accused with former Sena MLA Madhukar Sarpotdar in a case involving
a procession taken out in December 1992 without police permission, in
which inflammatory slogans were allegedly shouted and speeches made.
The case is still on.
Then there's Eknath Gaekwad, minister of state for health in
Deshmukh's first cabinet and now a Congress MP. According to one
testimony before the commission, Gaekwad, on January 14, 1993, along
with Sena MLA Kalidas Kolambekar, led a 4,000-strong procession to the
Antop Hill police station demanding the release of the three Shiv
Sainiks arrested for killing three Muslims in a Maruti car.
Eyewitnesses are still to be examined in this case.
Drowned in the clamour for reviving old and filing new cases against
Sena lea-ders lies the nitty-gritty that ensures convictions:
faultless police procedures and unquestionable evidence. Justice
Sri-krishna wasn't going soft on the Sena when he recommended 'strict
action' against 31 policemen and not a single politician. He held
Thackeray responsible for the second phase of the riots. The Bombay
high court had found nothing objectionable in Thac-keray's editorials
in Saamna during the riots and the Supreme Court had dismissed the
appeal against this judgment. The only cases the commission said
should be reopened were those police had closed. This was despite the
evidence to arrest the rioters in the form of testimonies before the
If the government were to implement just these recommendations - act
against the 31 policemen, reopen closed cases, and compensate the
families of missing persons - it would have done enough.
The government preferred to assess the situation through the eyes of
the police. In 2001, when former commissioner of
police (ACP in 1993) R D Tyagi and his team were chargesheeted for
murder, an outcry went up against ''police demoralisation''.
The government has exonerated 11 of the 31 policemen, overlooking
those who testified against them before the commission. Ten of them
have been punished. The minimum punishment is a reprimand - for a
constable indicted for handing over a deaf and dumb boy to a mob who
killed him. The maximum, keeping the delinquent on the minimum pay
scale for five years, is for a constable found rioting with a sword,
with Sena corporator Milind Vaidya. Seven policemen, charged with
murder, are now acquitted or discharged. Meanwhile, STF has reopened
only five of the 1,358 cases closed by the police.
Chief minister Deshmukh has now announced the setting up of a 'riot
cell' to look afresh at riot cases. This will be the third such
committee to be manned by policemen, who will judge the actions of
their own colleagues. Their findings will then be passed off as
implementation of the report.
The writer is a political commentator.
SITES AND PRACTICES: AN EXERCISE IN CULTURAL PEDAGOGY
Eds Madhusree Dutta, Smriti Nevatia
Sites and Practices: an exercise in cultural pedagogy is the
culmination of a highly successful experiment in education and
pedagogy towards practicing democracy. It is an anthology of lectures
and exercises on cultural plurality, stemming out of a series of
workshops held in the last decade.
In the mid 90s, we were still reeling under the impact of Babri Masjid
demolition and the subsequent communal violence. The state of
Maharashtra was being ruled by extreme right wing parties and
homogenisation was the predominant social ambience. In this context a
programme was schemed at creating small windows of resistance.
Plurality was explored in every formal way: each discipline of the
arts was placed back-to-back with another one; overlappings and joints
were studied and practices and theories were woven together through
hands on practical exercises. Overwhelming support was received from
practicing artists and intellectuals. Some of the leading exponents of
each discipline came forward to contribute to the workshops. There
were five such workshops each running for a week.
Each workshop was also designed with an adequate number of practical
exercises. The exercises were participatory and three-dimensional and
hence not description friendly. Still, we included brief descriptions
of some of those exercises, with the hope of encouraging participatory
activities within pedagogy.
Selected sections from these workshops are compiled in this anthology.
We hope the publication will serve, at its best, as a model for
cultural pedagogy and at its least, will document some trends of
thoughts and debates that were dominant in the last decade. Some of
the contributors are Arun Khopkar, Anuradha Kapur, Habib Tanvir,
Vanraj Bhatia, Romi Khosla, Vandana Shiva, Urvashi Butalia, Flavia
Agnes, Prof. K. N. Panikkar and artist Baiju Parthan, amongst others.
 BOOK REVIEW:
August 14, 2007
TRESPASSERS WILL BE PERSECUTED
[Photo Caption] Phallic fallacies? Shiv lingams in the courtyard of
the Brihadeswara Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Vineeta Kalbag, Hindustan Times
July 09, 2007
INVADING THE SACRED: AN ANALYSIS OF HINDUISM STUDIES IN AMERICA
Editors: Krishnan Ramaswamy, Antonio De Nicholas & Aditi Banerjee
Price: Rs 595
Some weeks ago, my daughter and I found ourselves sitting next to
three very expensively turned out ladies (Prada bags variety) at a
beauty salon. It was hard to not overhear their conversation about the
prize-worthy brother of one among them, and we did so with increasing
amusement. He was apparently a very cultured gentleman, for he watched
only foreign films and could speak only English. And they wished there
were more like him in our backward India.
Now, what does this have to do with the book under review? Only to
illustrate our attitude to much that is Indian, and all that is
foreign. We hanker for the glossy West, pursue it relentlessly, and
get very bristly when we suspect or perceive an absence of equal
reciprocity from the `outsider'. Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of
Hinduism Studies in America is just such a book. It is an angry book,
but one where the anger is neither focused nor fair.
What struck me first was that most of the contributors to the book
have chosen to live and work in the United States, are widely
published, and have held respected positions. For example, S N
Balagangadhara was recently co-chair of the Hinduism Unit of the
American Academy of Religion. Sankrant Sanu's protest about the Wendy
Doniger Encarta entries on Hinduism led to their removal and
replacement with a 20-page contribution on the subject by Arvind
Sharma. So it seems counter-intuitive to claim, as the book does, that
there is no respect for the view of `insiders'.
The essay by Vishal Agarwal and Kalavai Venkat protests that "a
cursory search on WorldCat and other electronic catalogs shows that
approximately 300 college and school libraries in North America..."
have a copy of Paul Courtright's psychoanalytic Ganesa, Lord of
Obstacles. However, a cursory search only on WorldCat shows up 86
titles by Arvind Sharma, out of which two randomly chosen titles,
Feminism and World Religions and Women in World Religions, are
available in 1,357 and 647 libraries respectively in just the US.
We have to acknowledge that the US is an open and unfettered place for
study and inquiry; and that is why we all love to send our children to
study in its universities. Interestingly, the US Senate is opening its
session on July 17 with Vedic hymns. Catch our august parliamentarians
What worries me about this book is its motivation. Is it a scholarly
treatise making a case for more `insider' experts on Hinduism in the
American academia? Is it an angry response to how the authors feel the
American Academy of Religion's (AAR) Religions in South Asia (RISA)
group's Western theories have influenced India-related studies? Is it
an attempt to discredit the work of individuals like Wendy Doniger,
Paul Courtright, Jeffrey Kripal (`Wendy and her children' as coined by
Rajiv Malhotra)? Is it an attempt to discredit the Western media? Or
is it an angry Hindu response to Christianity and Islam? The fact also
remains that when authors like Sarah Caldwell (a member of RISA for
her scholarship on Kali) are met with criticism from other `outsiders'
like Cynthia Humes, it is dismissed with a comment like: "But how
seriously does Caldwell have to take such criticism?"
The book is very defensive where scholarship of Hinduism is concerned
and perceives any counter-objections from Western scholars to the
`insider's' critique of their work as `attacks', but discounts as
ineffective any similar objections from an `outsider' to another
`outsider's' scholarship. The editorial boxes interwoven in the essays
add a more hysterical note with hypothetical reasoning or one-sided
editorialising. The logic behind the book's illustrations comic
strips that are pretty damning of the `White non-Hindu' is also
puzzling. These comics carry a disclaimer at the bottom that they bear
no resemblance to any real person. So what is the purpose of their
In one essay, Pandita Indrani Rampersad takes vehement objection to
Stanley Kurtz's anthropological study that claims that unlike Western
women, Hindu mothers do not use nursing time as an occasion to cement
an emotional union with their child. Maybe in the community that he
observed, the women did not have the privacy of space or the luxury of
time to use nursing as bonding time. But so what? Doesn't Pandita
Indrani's objection indicate that we too are judging ourselves on
Western matrices? We bond with our children in a multitude of other ways.
The criticism in the book is aimed at psychoanalytic methods used to
interpret some of our Hindu mythology. It would do well to remember
that this is just one method of analysis of myths! The
psychoanalytic interpretation through Western eyes of Ganesa's trunk
as a phallus is not as bizarre as the authors claim, given the story
of Queen Maya's dream that a white elephant was tearing through her
womb and her subsequent conviction that she was going to give birth to
a boy; and indeed the Gautam Buddha was born.
The Rig Veda I.164.46 states "Ekam sat vipraha bahuda vadanti" or
"truth is one, the sages give it many names". It is a noble task to
familiarise the West with the Hindu's understanding of Hinduism. But
it should be done with equanimity, and respect for the scholarship of
others whose interpretation may not be the same as ours; and most
certainly not by throwing eggs at them.
As you read this book, ask yourself one question do you stand for
artistic and creative freedom? If the answer is yes, then you must
support academic freedom. Scholarly debate is only enriching; muzzling
is dehumanising. Let us also not forget that the Rig Veda has been
added to the UNESCO's heritage list.
Vineeta Kalbag is a potter and psychologist, and has lived overseas in
several countries for many years.
 UPCOMING ANNOUNCEMENTS:
THE SECOND FLOOR: BEYOND PARTITION
Oxford University Press and T2F Present "Beyond Partition" - A Film
Screening and Interactive Discussion with Justice (Retired) Dr. Javid
Documentary Screening (1 hour, 5 minutes)
Beyond Partition is a documentary film that reflects the views of
South Asian filmmakers on the Partition of India and Pakistan.
Renowned filmmakers, Gulzar and Govind Nihalani reflect on the
communal violence they witnessed. Cinema veteran M.S. Sathyu and
celebrated script writer Shama Zaidi question the very idea behind the
division, while Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar focuses on other
powerful forces that generated the demand for Pakistan.
Beyond Partition is far more than just a recollection of the past from
the view point of filmmakers. Producer-Director Lalit Mohan Joshi has
skilfully connected the past with the present. The film explores
current issues including terrorism and the tensions that affect
Hindu-Muslim relations as well as Indo-Pakistan disputes a
continuing legacy of Partition. A treat for all film lovers and media
students, Beyond Partition depicts rare archival footage from India's
Films Division and brings alive the making of landmark films like
Nimai Ghosh's "Chhinnamool", M.S. Sathyu's "Garm Hava", Govind
Nihalani's "Tamas", and Sabiha Sumar's "Khamosh Pani".
Talk and Discussion
After the film, Justice (Retired) Dr. Javid Iqbal will present his
views on Partition and the floor will be opened up to questions from
Date: Saturday, 1st September, 2007
Time: 6:30 pm
Free Entry (This event has been made possible through the support of
Oxford University Press, Pakistan)
Venue: The Second Floor
6-C, Prime Point Building, Phase 7, Khayaban-e-Ittehad, DHA, Karachi
Phone: 538-9273 | 0300-823-0276 | info@...
Seats are limited and will be available on a 'first come, first
Day Long SEMINAR ON DISSENT AND DEBATE IN SOCIETY
Date: September 8, 2007
Time: 10.00 am to 5pm
Dalal Hall, Near Paldi Charrasta, In front of Zaveri Hall, Ahmadabad
Session I- 10.30-1.00
Chair: Dr Ghanshyam Shah
Tridip Suhrud-Associate Professor, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of
Information & Communication Technology
Ashok Vajpayee-Writer, Poet, former Joint Secretary MHRD
Rita Kothari-Associate Professor, Mudra Institute of Communication,
Session II - 2.00-5.00
Chair: Gagan Sethi
Hiren Gandhi-Theatre and Social Activist, Director, Darshan
Mallika Sarabhai-Artist, dancer, Director , Darpana Academy of
1914, Karanjwala Building
Opp Khanpur arwaza, Khanpur
Tel- 25500844/ 25500772
LECTURE: HISTORY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS ISSUES--A NOVELIST'S PERSPECTIVE
WITH BAPSI SIDHWA
Co-Sponsored by James A. Baker III Institute Student Forum
Time: September 11th
6:30 - 7:30 pm
Baker Institute, Baker Hall, 6100 Main Street, Houston
Cost: Free admission
Pakistani-American novelist and playwright Bapsi Sidhwa offers her
perspective on the politics and history of one of America's most
important Asian allies. Sidhwa, who resides in Houston, is well known
for her collaborative work with filmmaker Deepa Mehta, writing both
the 1991 novel Cracking India, which is the basis for Mehta's 1998
film Earth, and the 2006 novel Water, based on Mehta's 2005 film of
the same name. The novel Water recently brought to Sidhwa Italy's
prestigious 2007 Premio Mondello award. Sidhwa's play, An American
Brat, had its U.S. debut at Stages Repertory Theatre earlier this year.
Knowing your keen opposition to neo-liberal policies and strong
concern for global justice, we hope that you and the networks you are
associated with will participate in and endorse the Independent
People's Tribunal on the Impact of the World Bank Group in India.
Given the need to examine the evidence of increasing damage, many
groups have come together to organize a People's Tribunal on the
Impact of the World Bank Group in India.
Please circulate this widely!
The Tribunal needs researchers, cultural submissions, financial
support, technical support, media outreach and much more.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
For several years, local groups and grassroots organizations have been
opposed to the intervention of multilateral agencies in India's
economy and development. At various stages, there has been strong
project-based opposition to the World Bank in different parts of the
country. Consequently, in the last few years the Bank has modified its
lending patterns, concentrating more on policy-based lending, as
against project-based lending. The retrogressive impact of the Bank's
intervention -- at both the project and policy level -- is being felt
throughout the country by almost all marginal and impoverished
sections of society. Given the need to examine the evidence of
increasing damage many groups have come together to organize a
People's Tribunal on the Impact of the World Bank Group in India.
The purpose behind the Tribunal is to provide a just forum for people
who have suffered because of projects and policies funded or promoted
by the World Bank Group. The process has been formalised through
several consultations with groups, individuals and organizations in
various parts of the country.
A Tribunal of this nature on the World Bank will be the first of its
kind in India. The Tribunal endeavours to investigate the effects of
the Bank's policies, not only sectorally, but also nationally and
institutionally. Key groups, individuals and organizations are playing
the roles of presenters and advisors. Panelists include three retired
Supreme and High Court Indian Judges, prominent political and
development academics such as Eric Toussaint, Susan George and
Arundhati Roy, ex Indian Prime Minister V.P. Singh, and the spiritual
leader Sivak Suvaraska. The date of the tribunal has been set for
21-24 September 2007. The venue is Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
We are writing to you to:
Request your support
Endorse the process
Add a link to your website and send this letter to your listservs
Participate and attend in solidarity
Ask if you are fighting against any WB related projects and have any
documentation, studies regarding the impact of WB on policies, sectors
or projects in India
For more details on how to get involved please visit:
worldbanktribunal list serv - please sign up!
Or write to us at: secretariat@...
World Bank Tribunal Secretariat
C/O WGT, Flat No. 14, Supreme Enclave, Mayur Vihar Phase 1, New Delhi
Contact: Deepika D'Souza: +91 98200 39557/ Harsh Dobhal: +91 98185 69021
Ajayan R (Plachimada Solidarity Committee) o Ajit Muricken (Vikas
Adhyayan Kendra) o Ambarish Rai / Anil Sadgopal (People's Campaign for
a Common School System) o Anant Bhan (Sathi-CEHAT) o Anil Chowdry
(PEACE) o Antony Bamang (Arunachal Citizen's Rights) o Anurag Bhargava
(Jan Swasthya Abhiyan) o Arvind Kejriwal/Suchi Pande (Parivatan) o
Ashok Rao (National Confederation of Officers Association) o Benny
Kuruvilla (Focus on the Global South) o Bina Stanis (Chhotanagpur
Adivasi Seva Samiti) o C H Venkatachalam (All India Bank Employees
Association) o Chinu Shrinavasan / Anurag Bhargava (Jan Swasthya
Abhiyan) o Devinder Sharma (Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security)
o Ginny Srivastava (Astha) o Girish Pant (Prayas) o Goldy George
(Dalit Mukti Morcha) o Gururaja Budhya (Urban Research Centre) o H
Mahadevan (All India Trade Union Congress) o Himanshu Thakkar (South
Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People [SANDRP]) o J. John (Centre
for Education and Communication) o Kalyani Menon-Sen (Jagori) o Kanchi
Kohli / Manju Menon (Kalpavriksh Environment Action Group) o Kavita
Srivastava (People's Union for Civil Liberties [PUCL], Jaipur) o Kikon
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Committee on Human Rights [PVCHR]) o Ranjan Solomon (Alternatives) o
Leo Saldanha (Environment Support Group) o M. Vijayabhaskar (Madras
Institute of Development Studies) o Madhumita Dutta / Nityanand
Jayaraman (Corporate Accountability Desk) o Medha Patkar (Narmada
Bachao Andolan) o Michelle Chawla (Dahanu Taluka Environment Welfare)
o Mihir Desai (HRLN) o Mukhta Srivastava /Simpreet Singh/Uma Shankaran
(National Alliance of People's Movements) o Narasimha Reddy o Nave<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)