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Seminar on Balochistan Missing Persons at Karachi University despite administration refusing permission

May 6, 2015

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Sabin Mahmud was killed after organizing an event on Balochistan in T2F in Karachi, and more recently, Syed Wahidur Rehman, a Karachi professor was also shot dead. But far from being silenced, the resistance of democratic forces in Pakistan is growing. Today, Karachi University faculty organized a seminar on Balochistan missing persons to massive response, despite the administration refusing permission and locking the doors of the venue. The event was held in the Arts lobby, from where it seems to have spilt outside too.

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A determined audience sits on the floor outside the locked room where it was to have taken place.

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Audience outside KU Administration Block

Read the report in The Tribune

Images sent by Nida Kirmani, Asst Prof at LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan, via Shipra Nigam

Jalsatyagrah at Omkareshwar MP – Appeal to PM: Narmada Bachao Andolan

May 6, 2015

Statement for wider endorsement, sent by Narmada Bachao Andolan

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Ousted for Narmada’s Omkareshwar Dam, Farmers on Jalsatyagraha in Madhya Pradesh (NDTV)

The jalsatyagrah at Omkareshwar M.P. going on to its 26th day now, with around 24 people in water for 24 hours, under deteriorating health conditions, protesting the proposed raise in the height of the dam and the complete disregard of promised R&R policy by the authorities.

The situation at the Omkareshwar-dam site is very serious as the voices, land and and livelihood of the people are being drowned.

We urge you to pledge your support in a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the project is a joint venture with 51% central government stake and 49% state control. Despite repeated attempts, we have not received any response from CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Please send your endorsement to this email address nba.khandwa@gmail.com.

TEXT OF STATEMENT

The people of the Narmada valley are in battle once again, this time, for their land rights and against the forcible and illegal submergence being brought in the Omkareshwar dam by the Madhya Pradesh government and the project company NHDC Limited since the 11th of April 2015.

Read more…

Coallateral: Research Collective of Programme for Social Action

May 5, 2015

Executive Summary by RESEARCH COLLECTIVE of Programme for Social Action, of the Report of the Independent People’s Tribunal on the MoU between Rajmahal Pahad Bachao Andolan and PANEM Coal Mines.

Press Invite

Release of the Report and Panel Discussion on May 6, 2015 at Constitution Club

The Independent People’s Tribunal, held on 16 November 2014 in Ranchi, established that PANEM Coal Mines repeatedly violated human rights of Adivasis, used violence against them to force their consent to operationalise the project, and has not adequately resettled and rehabilitated project affected families. PANEM Coal Mines, which acquired Adivasi lands in 2002 in Pakur district of Jharkhand, violated the Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act, 1949 and the rights of Adivasi (indigenous) people granted under the fifth schedule of the Indian Constitution.

PANEM Coal Mines, a Joint Venture company between Punjab State Electricity Board (now PSPCL) and EMTA Group, required land from Adivasi communities in Alubera and Pachwara panchayats in Pakur to operationalise the Pachwara Central Coal Block mining project. Fearing that the large-scale mining project would ultimately destroy their homeland, the Santhal and Pahadia people did not consent to the acquisition of their land. They organized themselves as the Rajmahal Pahad Bachao Andolan (RPBA) and militantly opposed the project between 2000 and 2006. In an unexpected turn of events, on 30 November 2006, RPBA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PANEM and allowed the company to acquire land and mine coal.

Read more…

The Body-politic and Death of the Farmer: R Umamaheshwari

May 1, 2015

Guest Post by R. UMAMAHESHWARI

Until now suicides happened in an almost invisible ‘intimate’ ‘psychic’ space of the farmer and his (almost always it was a male) loneliness and pain and anguish; we only got to know of it after the act was committed. But for the first time, a farmer committed suicide in full public view, and his body was consumed by the world at that moment of his committing the act. In a leading Hindi newspaper, the following day, there was a photograph, on the front page. The images showed the gradual metamorphosis of a living man, with a profession (that of a farmer), with a history and a family turning into a mere dead body. The photographer had actually recorded this metamorphosis, image by image in sequence, second by second. Not a moment had been left out. (See Amar Ujala, dated 23rd April 2015) With one loop the man, named Gajendra, became yet another body; yet another dispensable body, to be consumed by the entire nation through photographs and TV images. It was the signifier of our times: an act in the theatre of the absurd that democracy has come to be. The farmer will increasingly be ‘seen’ when he dies. Read more…

The Priya Vedi Suicide: Diwas Raja Kc and Alston D’Silva

May 1, 2015

This is a guest post by Diwas Raja Kc and Alston D’Silva

On the 18th of April this year, Dr. Priya Vedi of AIIMS tragically ended her life and left a Facebook note incriminating her husband—fellow doctor at AIIMS Dr. Kamal Vedi—for “torturing” her mentally, clearly implying that his homosexuality was the reason for her suicide. Her distress is apparent in the note as she recounts the lack of intimacy in her marriage and her discovery of the husband’s sexual activities as a gay man before and during the marriage. At the end she includes a plea to all gay men to not “marry to a girl to save yourself,” to not play with the emotions of a girl and her family. It should not be surprising that some condolent commentators have placed the blame specifically on Kamal Vedi’s alleged sexual orientation, even calling for legal action. Even within the LGBT community, the tendency has been to first put culpability on the man’s opportunistic participation in the institution of marriage. There is a sense that this incident ought to serve as a teaching moment for gay men, who are argued to require an ethical code, who need to fixate on the deliverance of their conscience, and whose rights—as Sandip Roy pointed out—”mean nothing without responsibility.” But despite Priya Vedi’s strongly felt sentiments, must we proceed as if the case of her fatal end is a logical and natural consequence of gay men’s irresponsible intrusions into the sanctum of marriage? After all, such intrusions are routine, and the ensuing heartbreaks are sometimes even known to be productive of powerful empathy between straight women and gay men.

Read more…

Piketty and the Economic Crisis in the Euro Zone: Cenan Pirani

April 30, 2015

PikettyGuest post by CENAN PIRANI

Though the US has seemingly bounced back from the 2008 financial crisis, southern European countries like Portugal and Greece are currently dealing with debt situations that were once only characteristic of the “developing world”. In order to stabilize their economies after the 2008 crisis these European countries took on a series of IMF and European Central Bank loans in which rates of interest were higher than the countries’ rates of GDP growth, thus stagnating their economies for the foreseeable future.

This situation that currently befalls these countries’ economies was explained by Thomas Piketty in a recent interview he gave for the major Portuguese newspaper, PÚBLICO. Piketty, who has become a prominent public intellectual due to the popularity of his recent work, “Capital in the 21st Century”, was in Portugal this week in order to discuss the economic future of the country with some of its political figures. Besides outlining the problem, he discusses possible courses of action for the countries to release themselves from perpetual debt and austerity. These ideas ironically enough come out of the paths once carved by those now economically dominant countries in the Euro Zone, specifically France and Germany. Read more…

Delhi Police Blames AAP for Gajendra Suicide – Remember Constable Tomar’s Death?

April 30, 2015

Reports have it that Delhi Police has blamed the AAP for the death of Gajendra Singh at its rally recently – not surprisingly, as we had noted in our previous post on the suicide. We had suggested in that post there seemed to have been prior instructions to the Police from the Central government, under which it functions, not to act. And the reports today about Delhi Police reporting to their higher ups only confirm our suspicions.

Here is what one of the reports has to say:

In a letter to the Home Ministry, the Delhi Police has claimed that the mob including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers incited Gajendra Singh to commit suicide at a party rally in Delhi. The letter also claims that untrained volunteers climbed the tree which led to Gajendra falling off.

The report states that AAP volunteers and leaders were clapping and raising slogans which incited him to engage in more dangerous acts. It also adds on to say that though police requested AAP volunteers to stop provoking him through clapping and solganeering, neither the volunteers nor the leaders present on the state acceded to the request info.

Another report in a channel known for its BJP connections, says:

As per the Delhi Police report, AAP leaders were making provocative speeches, and the crowd present at the rally venue instigated and provoked Gajendra to commit suicide. The report also alleged that AAP did not heed to the police’s request to change the rally’s venue to Ram Lila Maidan.

Read more…

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