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Archive for June, 2008

The World is Hungry for Justice in

Bhopal!
Global Day of fast: 28th June, 2008

Despite a 37 day Foot March from Bhopal, nearly three months of dharna in Delhi and 18 days of indefinite hunger strike Bhopal Survivors are still waiting for a response from the Prime Minister. As a mark of support to Bhopali’s and collective anguish against the continued apathy of PM, supporters worldwide call for June 28th to be the Global day of hunger fast.

Delhi Supporters: We request you to keep a solidarity fast tomorrow and join us at the Bhopal dharna site at Jantar Mantar.  Never mind if you can’t be physically present at the dharnasthal, keep the fast from wherever you are. But, do sign up at our website http://www.bhopal.net/2008hungerstrike.html

In case if you are not able to sign up at the website please send your contact details [including name, email id and phone number] to aid.selva@gmail.com/ Phone: 9818248459

Other Cities: Please see the details on the website (http://boston4bhopal.org/view_events.php) and register your details as participants. In case you don’t find your city in the list please add your details and the city name. Be the contact person for the city and circulate the message amongst friends and acquaintances.

Though most of the information, alerts and action material are already on the our website www.bhopal.net please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for any further information/assistance. And please do circulate this with your contacts and networks for greater participation.

For more information contact:

Shalini Sharma
9891442037
www.bhopal.net

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People’s Declaration of Emergency and Pledge to Reclaim Democracy

More than 200 people join the protest march from Shaheed Park to Red Fort and hold a public meeting

New Delhi, June 26 2008 : Remembering the Black Day of June 25/26th 1975 when a State of Emergency was imposed by the Indira Gandhi Government suspending all civil liberties, curtailing freedom of press, powers of judiciary and incarcerating any opposition to her rule, today more than 200 people from various unauthorized colonies, informal sector workers, social workers, and others marched under the banner of NAPM, Delhi (National Alliance for Peoples Movement) and declared that the moment of siege has not ended and India is in a state of emergency. Apart from the prevailing repressive conditions elsewhere in the country, in Delhi, we are witness to demolitions of slums, increasing difficulties for common people, informalisation of labour, inflation, difficult living conditions and worst of all protests by victims of Bhopal on the streets entering now the fifth month along with an indefinite hunger strike for 15 days.

The meeting was attended by the activists of Rashtriya Kamgar Federation, Rashtriya Gharelu Kaamgar Sangathan, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, NAPM Delhi, Sangharsh, Lok Raj Sangathan, Delhi Solidarity Group, CACIM, Delhi Forum, INSAF, IDS and others.

Speaking at the public meeting at Red Fort Bhupinder Singh Rawat of Jan Sangharsh Vahini said, “Democracy in India is alive not because of the parliament and judiciary but because common struggling masses who in their quest for justice have time and again shown their faith in the democratic values best epitomized in the Constitution. In the troubled times when we are witnessing this siege, its upon us to work towards reclaiming our right to live in harmony, enjoy the freedoms, dissent and debate without fear and voice our protests at every nook and corner in the city. We stand opposed to the demolitions of unauthorized colonies, harassment of the urban working class poor and are committed to resisting the designs of the government and fighting for the rights of housing and other basic amenities for the urban poor.”

Madhuresh Kumar of NAPM Delhi explaining the today’s programme said, “the peoples movement are particularly concerned about the increasing legitimization of a skewed and distorted form of technocratic and capitalist development from all quarters of the State, which is further passed off as India – Shining, glowing, glittering by political manipulators and the media megaphones. More than ever we are living in a ‘police state’ today where human rights defenders, artists, and those fighting for the justice have to bear the brunt of state’s oppression. The laws like AFSPA, CSPSA, NSA etc. continue to harass and terrorise its own citizens all across India including J&K and North East.” He further added that quite unlike 1975, we are now in a real crisis-situation where the State has unleashed a kind of a war on the common people of this land, be they farmers, fisherpeople, factory workers, Adivasis, Dalits or women. That is borne out by untold violence and atrocities perpetrated on the people of Nandigram, Nandagudi, Kalinganagar, Raigadh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, slums of Mumbai, Delhi and other cities, the farmers’ suicides, displacement and dispossession of traditional communities across the country.”

Rajendra Ravi a national convener of NAPM explained that in such a scenario the citizen-announced ‘Emergency’ calls for the following code of conduct to be followed (measures that would be reverse of a Government-announced Emergency):


1) Rather than a draconian censorship the Press is called upon to disseminate the truth, facts that sensitively portray the toiling people’s struggle for survival against the State-corporate nexus and its machinations to privatise all natural resources and public properties.


2) The State rather than being given sweeping powers, its right to acquire land in the name of ‘public purpose’ for SEZs, for destructive industrial and other ‘development’ projects etc. will be abrogated.


3) If Courts abdicate their responsibility of protecting peoples’ rights, all issues of public interest will be decided in ‘Janata Adalats’.


4) The only real ‘opposition’ to the State-corporate-bureaucracy nexus is not from opposition political parties but from affected people, victims, concerned and aware citizens. The hypocrisy of the all mainstream political parties whether in power or opposition, stands exposed in this ‘state of emergency’. People would do well to realise that all parties, of whatever hue, are hand-in-glove with each other.


5) People will have to watch out against the twin threats of Communalism and New Economic Policy, declaring NO to the new treaty with the WTO.

6) Declaring people’s rule, ‘Lok Raj’, we would begin in small to large ways, to assert our rights to resources to planning towards fulfillment of basic needs.

7) More sustainable ways of harnessing and utilizing our natural and human capital would be facilitated and expropriative global to national powers be challenged.

8 ) People and people’s politics will take over, step by step, the Statist and fascist controls of powers-to-be, to bring in a revolutionary change towards a humane society.

Madhuresh : 9818905316 Rajendra Ravi : 9868200316

For National Alliance of Peoples Movement, Sangharsh and others

Date: 26th June 2008

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Call to Action

[Join us in a Silent protest march from Shaheed Park, near Delhi Gate
on June 26th 2008 from 12 noon onwards]

Dear Friends,

Remembering the Black Day of June 25/26th 1975 when a State of Emergency was imposed by the Indira Gandhi Government suspending all civil liberties, curtailing freedom of press, powers of judiciary and incarcerating any opposition to her rule, we the concerned citizens of Delhi in pursuant to the call given by the social-movements across the country call upon you to declare that the /moment of siege has not ended and India is in a state of emergency. /Apart from the prevailing repressive conditions elsewhere in the country, in Delhi, we are witness to demolitions of slums, increasing difficulties for common people, informalisation of labour and worst of all protests by victims of Bhopal on the streets entering now the fifth month along with an indefinite hunger strike for 15 days.

Democracy in India is alive not because of the parliament and judiciary but because common struggling masses who in their quest for justice have time and again shown their faith in the democratic values best epitomized in the Constitution. In the troubled times when we are witnessing this siege, its upon us to work towards reclaiming our right to live in harmony, enjoy the freedoms, dissent and debate without fear and voice our protests at every nook and corner in the city. We stand opposed to restrictions put on our right to protest confined within the streets of Jantar Mantar and declare that its time we reclaimed the streets and spaces for celebration and resistance.

To mark this event we call upon you all to join us in a Silent protest march from Shaheed Park, near Delhi Gate on June 26^th from 12 noon onwards. The march will converge at Lal Quila Maidan where a public meeting will be held.

Join us with your banners, songs, dances, slogans, and silences …

Zindabaad

National Alliance for Peoples Movement (Delhi), Delhi Solidarity Group
and others …

Contact : Rajendra Ravi (9868200316) and Madhuresh (9818905316)

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Call to Action

CALL TO ACTION

Emergency’ Day – June 26, 2008

*People’s Declaration of Emergency and Pledge to reclaim democracy*

India, today is at the crossroads, for a multitude of reasons. While on the one hand the city lines are gleaming with glossy malls, plush high rises, immaculate roads, flyovers and other ‘structures of growth’, a vast majority of the rest of the nation, presents a grim reality, which the State planners and policymakers would love to brush under the carpet. From the continuing spate of rather frequently reported suicides of farmers and weavers, and equally poignant /albeit /less reported suicides of thousands of others practicing traditional livelihoods, to persistent starvation and malnourishment in urban and rural pockets, continuing atrocities against women, dalits, adivasis, fisher folk, hawkers, and other marginalized groups in the name of SEZs, large dams, and other infrastructure projects (read ‘development’), continued deprivation and neglect of 93% of the country’s toiling work force to the plummeting state expenditure on crucial human rights concerns like education, health, agriculture and food security, among others on the one hand and the rocketing inflation, which is hitting the poor hardest, the State in every which way seems to be disowning its most fundamental constitutional mandate and instead paving way for corporatization and privatization of all essential services. The State is infact actively abetting, now even blatantly through the legal framework, the plunder of natural and human resources, stamping away the rights of communities, coupled with scheming exploitation of already limited state investments in irrigation, water and allied sectors, not to mention the countless incentives doled out to big business houses and branding anyone who questions this unconstitutional paradigm of ‘development’ in a confrontationist way as ‘maoists, naxalites and so on….

We, the people, are particularly concerned about the increasing legitimization of this skewed and distorted form of technocratic and capitalist development from all quarters of the State, which is further
passed off as India – Shining, glowing, glittering by political manipulators the media megaphones.

We are living in a ‘police state’ today where human rights defenders,artists, and those fighting for the justice have to bear the brunt of state’s oppression. The laws like AFSPA, CSPSA, NSA etc. continue to harass and terrorise its own citizens all across India including J&K and North East.

The Legislature enacts nothing short of draconian legislations like the SEZ Act, proposes blatant changes in the CMZ Rules, introduces the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, which distorts the definition of public purpose, excelling even the British lawmakers and anti-people policies like JNNURM and scores of other policy and legal initiatives in various states to please corporates at the cost of the people Submissive to the global powers and allowing the vision to investment, the self-reliance to sovereignty is compromised and loot is permitted.

The Executive as always is over-zealous in the execution of these policies and further indulges in non-transparent exercises of bringing in questionable Government Orders, Policies, Rules and Regulations and special amendments in the garb of ‘delegated legislation’. Failure of global markets and paradigm in providing employment, of protecting masses from terrorism, preventing price rise stands exposed.

The Judiciary has also, in many cases, chosen to be blinded by the vision of ‘development’, be it in the Narmada case, or in the recent order in the Vedanta Case, or many other cases. The lives and cultures of dalit, adivasis and other marginalised communities have and are being staked in the process of monolithic vision of technocratic development. It has also failed to defend the fundamental rights of its citizens when the State is impinging on them with impunity in name of fighting terrorism and naxalism and continues to use draconian laws in the name of security.

Key to be noted also is the manner in which one set of legislations are sought to be brought in and favoured by bypassing, neglecting, and violating another set of legislations and constitutional guarantees. In the latter line fall the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, the Forest Rights Act, the V Schedule to the Constitution the CRZ and EIA Notifications, the Environment Protection Act, related legislations and most important of all, the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments.

Central to all of these is probably the willful slackness of /India Private Limited /in that. Despite decades of these historical parliamentary interventions to further democratise governance, the State
has chosen not to enact a law that would actualise the constitutional-democratic-decentralised governance by people themselves whether in urban or rural areas.

Nandigram to Narmada to Nandgudi, Kakinada to Kevadia to Kushinagar, Polepally to Plachimada to Posco, Raigad to Sonbhadra to Teesta, thestruggle, issues and repression is the same, in a strange way bringing together and binding the victims of development in a common voice against this unconstitutional, undemocratic and inhuman process of limited growth just as the pre-independence era saw the unison of varied forces with the common agenda of deliverance.But the movement’s politics, beyond electoral politics needs to be asserted towards the goal of ‘people’s power’ that can bring in true democracy and development, both. It is this demand for a comprehensive Development
Planning Act that we, the people’s movements, put forth as the real pro-people alternative to the current pro-rich, pro-corporate paradigm of development and it is the passion for the realisation of this which brings us together in solidarity to continue our struggle for a just, sustainable and humane society and development.

The Why and What of ‘Emergency

A Government declares a ‘State of Emergency’ when it cannot handle a situation, either due to incompetence or because it is truly beyond its control. Such a declaration entails the abrogation of citizens’ rights, suspension of recourse to law, press censorship and investiture of special powers in the Executive Authority. State authorities invoke such sweeping powers, more often than not, to suppress people’s democratic rights as was the case 33 years ago in 1975, when Mrs. Indira Gandhi
declared an unwarranted ‘Emergency’ to cling to power.

Quite unlike 1975, we are now in a real crisis-situation where the State has unleashed a kind of a war on the common people of this land, be they farmers, fisherpeople, factory workers, Adivasis, Dalits or women. That is borne out by untold violence and atrocities perpetrated on the people of Nandigram, Nandagudi, Kalinganagar, Raigadh and Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, slums of Mumbai, Delhi and other cities, the farmers’ suicides, displacement and dispossession of traditional communities across the country.

In spite of the unprecedented crisis facing the country the Government of the day is at best mouthing platitudes and promises. The people of this country will therefore have to take it upon themselves to declare that we are in a ‘State of Emergency’ and announce a series of measures to counteract the crisis. The citizen-announced ‘Emergency’ would call for the following code of conduct to be followed (measures that would bereverse of a Government-announced Emergency):

1) Rather than a draconian censorship the Press is called upon todisseminate the truth, facts that sensitively portray the toiling people’s struggle for survival against the State-corporate nexus and its
machinations to privatise all natural resources and public properties.

2) The State rather than being given sweeping powers, its right to acquire land in the name of ‘public purpose’ for SEZs, for destructive industrial and other ‘development’ projects etc. will be abrogated.

3) If Courts abdicate their responsibility of protecting peoples’ rights, all issues of public interest will be decided in ‘Janata Adalats’.

4) The only real ‘opposition’ to the State-corporate-bureaucracy nexus is not from opposition political parties but from affected people, victims, concerned and aware citizens. The hypocrisy of the all mainstream political parties whether in power or opposition, stands exposed in this ‘state of emergency’. People would do well to realize that all parties, of whatever hue, are hand-in-glove with each other.

5) People will have to watch out against the twin threats of Communalism and New Economic Policy, declaring NO to the new treaty with the WTO.

6) Declaring people’s rule, ‘Lok Raj’, we would begin in small to large ways, to assert our rights to resources to planning towards fuilfillment of basic needs.

7) More sustainable ways of harnessing and utilizing our natural and human capital would be facilitated and expropriative global to national powers be challenged.

8 ) People and people’s politics will take over, step by step, the Statist and fascist controls of powers-to-be, to bring in a revolutionary change towards a humane society.

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Join the Bhopalis and Unite for Justice!

Delhi raises its voice in Solidarity with the Bhopalis

June 14 , 4-7pm, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

Day-long solidarity fast by JNU Students’ Union lead by JNUSU President, Mr. Sandeep.

Artists and bands to perform in Support of Bhopalis
They include: Rabbi Shergill, Susmit Bose, Abhay Sharma, Jigri group and others. If you sing/play music, come and join.

Nine Members Enter Their 3rd Day Of Indefinite Hunger Strike. Acclaimed writer Indra Sinha and Many Join Them Worldwide

112 Days on Road, 77 Days At The Dharna-sthal! PM Turns A Blind Eye To Justice. Police turn violent on protestors.

23 long years on the path to justice!

Despite 77 days of struggle, the Prime Minister is yet to meet the people of Bhopal and their demands . They have tried all possible means from silent peaceful protests to street theatre to demonstrations and even ‘chaining themselves up’, to try and convince the PM to meet them. Activists of Delhi have held their hands in support. Ministers, Members of Parliament and eminent people from the city have assured them of their support and promised them justice.

On 9 June, 33 people, women, children and men, who were staging a peaceful protest in front of the PMs Office were arrested. Rather than meet their demands promptly, the Government has ignored their march from Bhopal to Delhi, met their 2 month-long dharna with empty promises, and dealt with their non-violent protests with beatings and jailing. Pregnant women and three people on indefinite fast continue to be in jail. The attitude of the authorities clearly shows that they “want to teach the protestors a lesson.” It seems to be a coordinated effort to discourage democratic protest.

Since 10 June, nine activists, including gas survivors are on an indefinite hunger strike seeking justice. They demand: An Empowered Commission on Bhopal by endorsing the bill proposed by survivors organizations and committing to introducing it in the Parliament in the monsoon session; committing the funds required to allow the Commission to function for 30 years for medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation, and Immediate legal action against Dow Chemical and Union Carbide.

Supporters from different parts of the world, including Booker Prize nominated author Indra Sinha, are on a fast.

Prime Minister’s response to the struggle so far has been vague and tentative, without any genuine effort to meet the demands of an industrial disaster, 23 years old!

23 years of waiting, they refuse to be led on with false promises anymore.
Come and join, let us raise our voice in solidarity with the Bhopalis

What can we do?

Join them any time for one-day solidarity fast at Jantar Mantar or wherever you are. For more details and confirmation, please contact Shalini at 9891442037

Visit them as often as possible, be with them, and talk to them. Your presence will be great morale booster.

Raise funds for the protestors. Send your donation by cheque / draft favouring ‘The Other Media’, with ‘Bhopal project’ written on the envelope and by Cash to Bipin 9868280198.

Background: 23 years after the 1984 Union Carbide Industrial Disaster in Bhopal, justice still eludes the Bhopalis.

On 3rd December 1984 the Union Carbide Subsidiary plant at Bhopal, released 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) and other toxic gases into the night air of the city. This resulted in the death of over 23,000 people. 5, 72,000 suffer ill effects of the toxic gas till date, 120,000 more suffer from chronic ailments. Children are being born with cerebral palsy and congenital ailments. 10 to 15 of the gas affected people die every month! The gas leak also has caused a permanent damage to the environment. The ground water is heavily contaminated, causing respiratory, skin, eye and abdominal morbidity.

The Government of India (GOI) has through the years tried following the ‘piecemeal’ justice principle. The GOI had promised a commission to evaluate the damages caused and decide on the provisions of justice in 2006. Till date there has been no systematic sustainable medical, economic, environmental or social relief provisions made for them. No criminal and civil liabilities too have been unresolved. The prime accused Union Carbide Corporation of USA and Dow Chemical is still scott free!

77 days later, non-responsive government, depleting resources… the protestors need our support!!

We would earnestly request you to join the Bhopalis at Jantar Mantar
Saturday, the 14th of June, 2008
Come, fight for justice.


In solidarity,
Delhi Solidarity Group

For further queries
Madhuresh (09818905316)
Vijayan (9868165471)
Joe (9868114470)
Anupriya (9313848225)
Benny (9873921191)
Aanchal (9810197917)

Please visit www.bhopal.net for more details on the padyatra and their every day struggles or else call Shalini 9891442037

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