Thursday, April 27, 2017

INDIA: Breaking down the Supreme Court judgment in the Babri Masjid demolition case

26 April 2017 An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission INDIA: Breaking down the Supreme Court judgment in the Babri Masjid demolition case On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court of India(SC) passed an important judgment with respect to the fraught Babri Masjid demolition case. The matter in question pertained to FIR 198 of 1992 which was one of many FIRs filed on Dec 6, 1992 after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. FIR 198/92 was lodged against 8 persons, which included prominent leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP namely LK Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalyan Singh. By exercising its powers, the Supreme Court under Art.142 of the Constitution of India, ordered the case, under FIR. 198/92, to be transferred to the Court of Additional Sessions Judge(Ayodhya Matters), at Lucknow. It directed the Court to frame an additional charge under S.120-B for criminal conspiracy. This case was pending earlier before the Court of the Special Judicial Magistrate in Rae Bareilly. The said court at Lucknow had before it Case no. 197 of 1992 which are the offences detailed against the Kar Sevaks who were allegedly involved in the actual demolition of the Masjid. The reason for this confusing situation is that Case. No 197/92 is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) while case no. 198/92 was being investigated earlier by the Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department (CB CID) that is part of the State Police. As per S.11(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure(CrPC), 1973 “1. Courts of Judicial Magistrates.- (1) In every district (not being a metropolitan area), there shall be established as many Courts of Judicial Magistrates of the first class and of the second class, and at such places, as the State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, by notification, specify.” (emphasis supplied) On 9th Sep, 1993, principal notification was passed by the Uttar Pradesh(UP) State Government through the Governor, after consultation with the Allahabad HC. It established a Special Court at Lucknow for the disposal of all the cases under Crime No. 197/92. This was in keeping with the procedural requirements under S.11 (1) of the CrPC as shown above. On 8 Oct, 1993, an amendment was made to this notification by the Governor of UP, adding the cases under Crime no. 198/92. The Special court took cognizance of the offences and committed the case to the Sessions Court on Aug 27, 1994. To cut a long and complicated story (with many subsequent events) short, a criminal revision petition challenging the amendment was filed in the High Court of Allahabad. It considered the notification and the framing of charges against the accused persons (under S.120 B of the IPC read with other sections 147/153-A/153-B/295-A/505 of the IPC), as illegal. The petitioners claimed that the amendment was passed by the Governor without consulting the High Court, as per the provisions of S.11(1) of the CrPC. The HC on Feb 12, 2001, held that the amendment to the notification was illegal and therefore the order dated Sep 9, 1997 which framed charges against all the accused was also held to be illegal. However, it was stated that State Government can cure the infirmity by issuing a new notification. In essence, it held that the Special Court did not have jurisdiction to inquire into and commit the case to the Court of Sessions in FIR no. 198/92. On 16th June, 2001, the CBI requested the State government to rectify the defect but on 28th Sep 2002, it refused to do so. The CBI did not challenge this and instead filed a supplementary charge sheet against the 8 accused persons in FIR 198/92 at the court in Rae Bareilly but without adding S.120-B. Now, on 4th May, 2001, the Special Court dropped the proceedings against the 21 persons including the 8 accused. This was challenged and the HC upheld the earlier order of May 2001 vide judgment dated 22nd May 2010. It held that there were “two classes of accused – the leaders who were on the dais exhorting the Kar Sewaks….and the Kar Sewaks, themselves” and that the offence of criminal conspiracy was never made out against the 21 persons as the CBI did not add it in the supplementary charge sheet. This article will not go into the specifics of the offence of criminal conspiracy but suffice it to say that the multiple and confusing proceedings in this case, with long gaps in time as shown, have only led to continued obfuscation of the reasons for the long delay in proceeding against the eight accused. The SC in the latest judgment held the HC judgment to be erroneous and that “ is clear that the said accused could not possibly have been discharged, as they were already arrayed as accused insofar as the charge of criminal conspiracy was concerned..” The SC also held that the HC made an artificial division of the offences and offenders. The AHRC welcomes the SC’s statement that the CBI has caused a lot of confusion by not challenging the order and filing a supplementary charge sheet instead, and has “ ..completely derailed the joint trial envisaged, resulting in a fractured prosecution going on in two places simultaneously based on a joint charge sheet filed by the CBI itself…” The SC has passed this order in pursuit of “doing complete justice” as set out in Art.142. Complete justice will be done only if the lower courts follow the SC orders completely as detailed i.e. take up matters on a day-to day basis until the conclusion of the trial, no transfer of judges until the conclusion, no adjournment unless it is impossible to carry on the trial. The CBI must ensure that some prosecution witnesses are present and the Sessions Court must complete the trial and present its judgment within 2 years. The rule of law tenets, that no person is above the law. It is up to our lower judiciary to prove that this is indeed still possible in India, especially when some of its most prominent politicians are in the dock on very grave criminal charges. # # # The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organization is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A brief history of Mizoram: From the Aizawl bombing to the Mizo Accord

A brief history of Mizoram: From the Aizawl bombing to the Mizo Accord

Wars don’t end that easily, and peace doesn’t last that long. Mizoram is an exception. It deserves our attention, and so does its history.
Posted by Anand Ranganathan | Aug 6, 2015

Tucked away in a corner, ignored by the madding crowd that inhabits Delhi studios, is a land of astounding beauty. Mizoram.
With a literacy rate second only to Kerala and a GDP per capita twice that of Uttar Pradesh, one would’ve thought Mizoram would shame us into swinging our creaking spotlight onto its one million inhabitants and their way of life. But it is not the case. India has always considered her seven sisters as dwarfs.
This is the story of tyrannical distances, geographical and of the mind. It is a story that is not taught in our History books, a story relegated to clever crumbs in quiz shows or one that is summoned by neat rows of pencil-chewing Civil Services aspirants; a story of great famines and revolutions and much bloodshed.
This is the story of Mizoram.
In 1959, the gentle people of Lushai Hills woke up to a calamity. Worse was to follow seven years later, in 1966, but at the time the Mizos felt nothing could be more terrible than Mautam. And who could blame them? The ageless hills, luscious green, with their exotic flora and dense bamboo jungles, were overcome by the ecological onslaught that strikes every 48 years, or as the Mizo like to call it, Mautam.
Bamboo flowers only once in its lifetime, and when it did in 1959 – forests upon blooming forests – it created just the right setting for rats to multiply in enormous numbers, leading inevitably to famine. Such devastations had earlier been recorded in the Lushai Hills, in 1862 and again in 1911.  The Mautam of 1959, however, was particularly violent, not only in the damage that it caused, but also because of its political repercussion. It was the last domino to topple, and it carried with it the momentum of all previous tragedies and resentments.
The Mizo District Council, as a precautionary measure to tame Mautam’s aftermath, pleaded with the government of Assam – under whose administrative and geographical control it fell – for a paltry sum of Rs 150,000. Assam turned the request down. It dismissed Mautam as a mere tribal superstition. What it got in return was a revolt, a revolt that led to an insurgency that lasted a quarter of a century.
As Mautam continued to wreak havoc, thousands died or starved, their crops and livelihood ravaged by rats whose population rose to such alarming levels (running into millions) the state had to run a scheme that rewarded citizens for turning in dead ones – 40 paisa for each dead rat. The Loshai Hill People feared the worst. The government, instead of removing their fear exacerbated it. Assamese was declared the official language of the state; its knowledge made mandatory for government jobs. The Mizos saw this as a direct threat to their proud identity. They saw this as a provocation, as a ploy to exclude them from the mainstream. There was widespread frustration and a revolution looked imminent. It arrived swiftly.
The non-political organisation, Mizo National Famine Front, transformed into Mizo National Front, or MNF. More was to come. In 1964, the Assam Regiment disbanded its 2nd battalion, composed predominantly of the Hill people. The soldiers who lost their jobs promptly joined the MNF to form its military wing: the Mizo National Army. As the years progressed, and Assam continued to turn a blind eye to the development and welfare activities needed so urgently, separatist feelings grew rapidly. Under the command of Pu Laldenga, MNF gained a strong backing of the Mizo people, united by the party doctrine aimed to create a separate Mizo nation. And yet, what had by now turned into a mass movement was regarded as a minor Law & Order situation by the Centre. To be sure, its mind and energies were doubtless occupied with winning the 1965 Indo-Pak War.
MNF took advantage, its resolve made amply clear from memorandum that it submitted to Prime Minister Shastri in October of 1965: “Whether the Mizo nation should shed her tears in joy, to establish firm and lasting relationship with India in war and in peace or in sorrow and in anger, is up to the Government of India to decide.”
On February 28, 1966, the bottled-up anger – against Assam, against India, against perceived and real injustices; against geographical claustrophobia – found its release, in the form of Operation Jericho. At 22:30 hours, a gang nearing a thousand MNF men took control of the BSF and the Assam Rifles Camp. Soon after, they damaged the Telephone Exchange – leading to a complete disruption of government communication – before taking over the Treasury and other important government buildings in the region.
At midnight the next day, March 1, 1966, the MNF released a twelve-point declaration stating why India was unfit and unworthy of ruling the Mizo people. Then, swiftly, it brought down the Indian tricolour from the Assam Rifles Head Quarters, hoisted the MNF flag in its place, and declared independence from the Indian Union.
Three days of uneasy calm followed. Then came the incident widely regarded by those who know of it – and not many do – as one of the most shameful and tragic in India’s modern history.
On March 5, 1966, 11:30 hours, Aizawl came under air-strikes; its people bombed by the very military sworn to protect them. There was no warning, no time to hide, no time to prepare.
“…There were two types of planes which flew over Aizawl – good planes and angry planes. The good planes were those which flew comparatively slowly and did not spit out fire or smoke; the angry planes were those which escaped to a distance before the sound of their coming could be heard and who spat out smoke and fire” – An eyewitness account.
A detailed portrayal of the Aizawl Bombing can be found in the seminal book: The Mizo Uprising: Assam Assembly Debates on the Mizo Movement, 1966-1971, by JV Hluna and Rini Tochhawng. The horrors that the air-strikes entailed may have been forgotten by the rest of India but they remain etched indelibly in the minds of those who suffered. When asked about the use of Indian Air force over Aizawl, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi responded: “It was deployed to drop men and supplies.”
Two members of the Assam Legislative Assembly, Stanley Nichols-Roy and Hoover Hynniewta, who had visited the Mizo Hills in the aftermath of the bombing, were incensed by the Prime Minister’s remark. Perhaps some of the unexploded bombs should be sent to Delhi, to find out how does one cook these supplies, they asked sarcastically on the floor of the House.  The late B Raman, former head of Research & Analysis Wing, was of the opinion the air strikes only managed to drive more people to join the ranks of the insurgents. None other than a former Chief Minister of Mizoram, Mr Zoramthanga, testified to this assessment, by stating that he had “joined the MNF party and participated in the rebellion due to the relentless bombing of Aizawl in 1966”.
Republic Veng, Hmeichche Veng, Dawrpuii Veng, and other localities of Aizawl were completely destroyed.
Writing in The Indian Express, Shekhar Gupta named the two pilots who took part in the Aizawl bombing: Rajesh Pilot and Suresh Kalmadi.
The raids were as indiscriminate as they were devastating. Recalled Mathew Thomas, commanding officer of 2 PARA, involved in the operations: “…Assam Rifles were still holding out, but the Mizos were all around. We had to bring the Air Force. It strafed them and it was only after that we were able to push in and get into Aizawl…the situation was very volatile. Heliborne reinforcements were attempted but the sniping was too close to the camp and too heavy for choppers to come down. Therefore, at last at 1130 hours came the air strikes, IAF fighters strafing hostile positions all around the Battalion area. The strafing was repeated in the afternoon and it soon became apparent that the hostiles were beginning to scatter. At the end of air action, Aizawl town caught fire.”
In preparation for this unprecedented assault, the Mizo district had been declared a disturbed area (under the Assam Disturbed Area Act 1955) and MNF an unlawful organization (Extra-ordinary Gazette Notification published on March 6, 1966). Law and order became the responsibility of the army (under the Armed Forces Special Act, 1958 and by Rule 38 of the Defence of India Rules, 1962). Article 352 was invoked, and applied. The army moved in from Silchar into the Hills (March 3, 1966), commissioned air-strikes on Aizawl and other villages (March 5 and 6, 1966), and air-dropped leaflets discouraging people from participating with the rebels. It secured Lungleh, Champhai, and the East Pakistan border by March 17, thereby snapping any possibility of help or reinforcements from Burma and Pakistan. In a matter of 10 days, the Mizo district had been sanitised, a curfew imposed, and MNF volunteers forced to scatter.
Never before had the Indian army been mobilised so ruthlessly to tackle insurgency. Nehru’s approach to the 1947-52 Naga crisis, it should be recalled, was to empower Nagaland, to protect their customs and traditions, and to provide an opportunity to the Naga people to develop at the same rate as the rest of the nation. Even when military action was resorted to, Nehru had proposed to “win the hearts of the people, not to terrify or frighten them…There can be no doubt that an armed revolt has to be met by force and suppressed. There are no two opinions about that and we shall set about it as efficiently and effectively as possible. But our whole past and present outlook is based on force by itself being no remedy. We have prepared this in regard to the greater problems of the world. Much more must we remember this when dealing with our countrymen who have to be won over and not merely suppressed.”
But this was Indira, and she held no such scruples.
The bombing of Aizawl did little to calm the region. The unrest continued and for the Mizo people it resulted in deep psychological scars; scars that took two decades to heal.
No rebellion can succeed without the support of the civilian population for food, shelter, and information. The army, through Lt General Sam Manekshaw, proposed a spatialisation of villages. This so-called Village Grouping Plan, that was earlier rejected by the union cabinet, was now approved swiftly. The sociologist, C Nunthara, noted: “The Planning Commission recommended the implementation and funding of the grouping scheme”. The idea behind this plan was that it would accelerate development and improve security. What it resulted in was the exact opposite.
Mizoram turned into a land of isolated ghettos – emotional, economic, psychological, and spiritual. 236,162 Mizos out of a total population of 318,970 (1970 census) were subjected to the regrouping. The mass migration of villagers and their resettlement was planned around the Silchar-Aizawl-Lungleh road. Villagers were given a week’s notice before being forced to move. Once the villages were emptied out they were burnt to the ground and all food-grain destroyed. The plan was to leave nothing behind that could sustain the rebels. As a legal safeguard, villagers were made to sign documents indicating that they were leaving of their own free will.
Life in the new settlements was a life of constant surveillance, humiliation, want and suffering. Every villager was issued an identification number which was to be displayed prominently. The day would begin and end with a roll-call. Men took the role of farmers, unpaid labourers, construction workers, and porters. If modern history has taught us a lesson, it is that humiliation of a civilian population works at a deeper psychological level – the physical labour is forgotten, the scars of the mind remain.
Meanwhile, the local economy lay in ruins. The Jhum method of farming, possible only in a scattered settlement, was rendered useless. Access to cultivable land was severely constrained. The farmers had to return from the field for a roll-call in the evening. Local customs could not be carried out under constant surveillance and in living conditions no different from those experienced by convicts.
The songs and poetry of the time are only about lament and suffering. They came to be known as Curfew Songs. Around 75 per cent of the population of Mizoram was uprooted. As many as 516 out of a total of 764 villages were regrouped. 120 villages were burnt down. This was India’s Year Zero and it dealt a mortal blow to the Mizo spirit.
The regrouping was completed by 1970; the MNF rebels routed, insurgency controlled. But the Armed Forces remained stationed in Mizoram. The next decade and a half bore witness to an edgy calm, marked routinely with street protests, blockades, and curfews. Then, in 1986, against all expectations, the stakeholders rose above conflict, egos, and bitterness. A Peace Accord was signed between the MNF and the government of India. The Memorandum of Settlement began, ironically, with the mention of the person who had ordered the bombing of Aizawl:
“Toward this end, initiative was taken by the late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi on the acceptance by Shri Laldenga on behalf of the Mizo National Front (MNF) of the two conditions, namely, cessation of violence by MNF and to hold talks within the framework of the Constitution. A series of discussions were held with Shri Laldenga. Settlement on various issues reached during the course of talks is incorporated in the following paragraphs…”
But the wise know the real meaning of War and of Peace; they know both require sacrifices and restrain. The translated lines of a Mizo folk song capture it best:
“Pity of pities our villages are grouped
Everywhere in Zoram life has lost its beauty
Women, men, children gathered from every hill
Feel homeless and stranded like the Riakmaw bird
In the new place where friends and loved ones gathered
I still pine for our old Motherland
Where the gentle prince who love us also dwelt”
That same Mizoram, that has seen so much pain and suffering and bloodshed, is now well-integrated with the rest of India, so much so that, barely two decades since the signing of the Mizo Accord, it is now called an “island of peace” in a disturbed region. Wars don’t end that easily, and peace doesn’t last that long. Mizoram is an exception. It deserves our attention, and so does its history.
The author’s book, For Love and Honour (Bloomsbury), that has as its backdrop the 1966 Aizawl bombing and the resulting insurgency in the Northeast, releases on August 15, 2015.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

INDIA: A country afraid to prevent custodial torture

INDIA: A country afraid to prevent custodial torture
Six years have passed since the lower house of the Indian Parliament passed the Prevention of Torture Act, 2010. The upper house of the Parliament, which reviewed the law after a broad consultation, recommended thorough revision of the law. Since then, the government has shelved the law and nothing has been heard about it since.
Prohibition of torture is not the policy of the Indian State. The Prevention of Torture Act, 2010, is a riveting example of this. The law fails to meet standards, in adequately defining torture and in prescribing appropriate process of investigation of complaints of torture, rendering the law useless, even if it is passed.
Policy makers in the country believe that without the use of torture, India cannot be policed. Public statements repeatedly made by police officers, bureaucrats, ministers, and judges confirm this. India's policing policy is premised around the image of a rough and tough cop, who is expected to show no mercy to the suspect. A large number of Indian public believe that police officers have the right to torture, and that torture is a legitimate method of crime investigation, and use of force is an effective instrument for law enforcement. It is common for police officers to assault people as a part of maintaining law and order.
Judges, particularly those in the lower Judiciary, believe that it is morally wrong to challenge a police officer on the question of torture. This is because the judges are aware that the crime investigation agencies in India often do not have any means to investigate crimes apart from resorting to the use of force. Therefore, even when a detainee complains about physical abuse by the police officer, magistrates ignore the complaint, fail to record the complaint, and fail to provide the basic protection to which that detainee is entitled during custody against torture, i.e. a medical examination.
Crime investigation in India, overwhelmingly, depends on oral evidence. The country does not have even one per cent of the facilities required to undertake modern crime investigation. Due to this, witnesses too are tortured in India.
All efforts to urge India to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment should therefore be linked to efforts to redesign the country's criminal justice mainframe. India should be encouraged to revise its policing policy, and to invest substantially to procure modern crime investigation technologies. India should also be encouraged to reduce its people to police ratio, which, at the moment, is a police officer for every 810 people, a ratio more than two times wider than the global average.
Similar efforts must be made to improve the criminal justice process in India, particularly to address the large divide in the judge to people ratio, which, at the moment, is 13 judges for a million people. This is one of the reasons for decades long delays in criminal trials in India. Modernising the Indian police without addressing scandalous delays in criminal trials will render the modernisation process a futile exercise.
It is equally important for India to redesign its policing laws. Police laws in India are based on colonial legalisations, drafted at a time when the police was primarily understood and expected to function as the administrator's agent that maintains order, most importantly to supress public protests against unfair and arbitrary actions of the British Empire.
Suppression of freedom and dignity and enforcement of obedience were the primary objectives of the Irish Constabulary model of policing that was introduced to the British colonies including India. Policing in India therefore contradicts with respect to human dignity, freedom, and individual rights, founding principles of the Indian Constitution. The spirit of democracy that India claims it strives to uphold is constantly under threat, as long as India does not radically redesign its policing architecture.
# # #
The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Who killed Rohith Vemula? Written by Anand Teltumbde |Published on:January 26, 2016 12:09 am

Who killed Rohith Vemula?
Written by Anand Teltumbde |Published on:January 26, 2016 12:09 am

All those who are mute spectators of the processes under way to restore supremacist Brahmanic rule are responsible for his death
Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old Dalit PhD scholar at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU), in his suicide note, blamed none, friend or foe, providing the feed to his killers to claim their innocence. An aspirant to write one day like Carl Sagan exploring the universe with his flight of imagination, he was driven to the depths of his inner self, the torn self of a Dalit, in this caste-ridden land, by his tormentors, to conclude the futility of existing. His death should make it clear that suicide is not the killing of oneself; it is death by situation, which comprises of traditions, customs and institutions, that provide cover to the murderers.
Rohith’s situation survives in the form of a makeshift tent erected in an open arena of his university campus, in which he lived for 12 days along with four of his comrades after having been expelled from the hostel, and their struggle for self-respect that outlives him. It is depicted by his stinging letter of December 18 to the vice chancellor of the university, his lament to his friends that he did not have any money to treat them on his 27th birthday, which was a few days away, never to dawn, and his last call to his mother, which was ominously cut by him abruptly. This is enough to tear the veils, expose the murderous situation and possibly the murderers.
After their expulsion, the students lived in the open in the biting cold of Hyderabad and still the VC did not realise the gravity of his misdeed. OnDecember 18, Rohith had written a stinging letter to him, accusing him of taking an unusual personal interest in the clash between the Dalit students and the ABVP. He sarcastically hinted at the plight of Dalit students at the HCU, asking the VC to provide poison and a rope to all Dalit students at the time of admission, and also make available a facility for euthanasia for students like him. The letter was alarming enough for any responsible person to take serious note of the state of mind of the student, who was driven to his wits’ end on account of continuing harassment and penury, as his stipend, with which he partly supported his mother and younger brother back home in Guntur, was stopped in July.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Flood Hits India’s Most Troubled State Manipur Worse Flood in Last 200 Years, Entire Thoubal and Part of Chandel Districts Submerged

Flood Hits India’s Most Troubled State Manipur
Worse Flood in Last 200 Years, Entire Thoubal and Part of Chandel Districts Submerged

Kakching, Manipur, August 1, 2015
Heirok 1.jpg
Neither by the mainland nor state media report of the worse flood affected in India’s most trouble state Manipur’s Thoubal district and part of Chandel totally submerged. The state’s print media and television news channels, mostly based at state capital Imphal, looks like of not have enough space or bits, neither lack of interest to cover the flood situation in the state, while covering the a month long public strike demanding the Inner Land Permit law. What seems to be left or neglected has been served by the social media within the state and outside. Imphal the capital city is reported of no affect by the flood.

The entire Thoubal and many part of Chandel district have been hit by the worse flood even happened in last 200 years. The state government is in total chaos and unprepared to tackle the situation. No higher zone is left within the district, except taking shelter in nearby hill stations.

The Asian Highway No 1, the connectivity between Imphal and Moreh has been cut off. Asian Highway No 1 starting from Wangjing, 26 km from Imphal toward Indo-Kakching Sekmai river.jpgMyanmar board up to Pallel, has been affected. The old bridge at Pallel damaged and the lone and newly constructed Pallel Bridge, yet to open has been affected. Newly constructed Heirok bridge of the newly proposed highway to Indo-Myanmar boarder is destroyed. Chakpi River in southern Chandel district is known for uncertainty of flow is the furious this time, reported of possible washing away of lone Chapikarong bridge. The Chakpi River flooded the entire Serou region in southern part of Thoubal district. The longest and newly constructed Serou Bridge is in danger mark.

The lone bridge of Kakching Sekmai River is cracked, public are warned to avoid using the bridge and newly constructed bridge leading to tourist spot, the Kakching Garden, is blocked as the water has submerged.

The worse affected areas in Thoubal district according to the sources are Wangjing-Tentha constituency, Kakching Sub-Divisional areas, Wabagai-Hiyangalam and Sugnu and Serou area in Thoubal district.
Pallel 2.jpg
It is the season for agricultural plantation, the worse affected area is known for the rice bowl of Manipur that produce large quantity of agricultural product, not only for the region but for entire state. The over 600 sq km of area are affected with over 500,000 people in two districts. Majority of the population in the flood affected area are cultivator, whose paddy crop cultivation is destroyed and will affect the following year. Fishery farms are submerged and lost. Poultry and piggery in domestic homes are sole source of livelihood for most of the villagers, which are destroyed. The market and shops are closed and many submerged for last three days and indeed they are badly hit by the public protect demanding Inner Land Permit system in the state before the flood.

Until last night, the water level was still raising and public flogged to safer places for survive, leaving their house and the life hoods unattended. The rain continues to pour for last two weeks and forecast for rain in coming four days as well.

Total unpreparedness is the situatioMapithel.jpgn in regard to the government’s response to the situation. Civil society bodies and clubs came forward to setup limited relief camps for women and children and affected families for survival. Military forces have extended whatever help they could provide.

Thoubal district and indeed the entire valley of Manipur, which is 8% of Manipur’s total geographical area, are surrounded by hills. The season with much rain in the hill area will lead to flood like situation in the valley but flood has not taken for last ten years. This time, the rain continues to pour throughout the state and more in the hill stations of Chandel district, which is flow through three hill areas: One is the Heirok-Wangjing River that flows from the hill areas of Indo-Myanmar board toward the valley, second is the Ithei Maru River of Pallel from the hill area of Chandel in Indo-Myanmar boarder region and third is the Chakpi River flow from southern Chandel district hill areas. All these flow through the Thoubal district and then to Imphal River at Sekmaijin and all the way to Myanmar.

Apart from the flood, there are villages in Manipur’s southern part of Ukhrul district have been submerged by Mapithel Thoubal Dam multipurpose project. The schools and church building in those affected villages have been submerged and the affected people of those villages have been demanding from the state government for rehabilitation. Their complaint is that the state government has not come up any clear cut rehabilitation for the affected villages.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Film Industry bigwigs meet with MOS I & B and follow-up with a censored version of what transpired!

It's ironic that the very film Industry that raised a hue and cry about irrational censorship , calling it an affront to their creativity , are the ones to couch their angst in political-ease, using conciliatory terms of reference with respect to the two hour long pow-wow with the MOS I & B, a sartorially elegant Col.Rajyavardhan Singh Rathod.

Rajyavardhan singh Rathore and film industry reps के लिए चित्र परिणाम     Rajyavardhan singh Rathore and film industry reps के लिए चित्र परिणाम

After making the assembled press cool their heels promising some interesting bytes, both the bigwigs representing the film industry as well as the MOS came out almost sounding as one, literally patting each other in the back and making appropriate noises as to how a new dawn was born w.r.t the relationship between the Ministry and the industry at large. Mukesh Bhatt, who represented the industry repeated his earlier prayer of a turnaround in relations and a new understanding between the Industry folks and the Ministry.But Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Vishal Bharadwaj, Gulzar, Ramesh Sippy Sridhar Raghavan, Anuraag Kashyap, Kiran Rao , Anupama Chopra, Shabana Azmi, Rajkumar Hirani and the rest of the Industry representatives chose to skulk away before the press could get to them for their views.

Rajyavardhan singh Rathore and film industry reps के लिए चित्र परिणाम  mukesh bhatt shabana karan Johar के लिए चित्र परिणाम

Aamir Khan was persuaded to come to the forefront and speak-up on behalf of the industry but his words too seemed rehearsed and unauthentic. It was quite a performance out there where nothing really was gained but everyone came out smiling after some back and forth bartering that probably cost the film industry it's self-respect. In fact the MOS , I & B , even attempted to throw the ball in the filmmakers court by saying that the film makers must submit their films for censorship well in time if they want to release their films on a specified date. He thereafter elaborated that filmmakers had a three-step redressal process which could get their films certified eventually. He spoke about a single window clearance for shooting permissions and claimed that the industry representatives had presented him with their issues and he was willing to consider them  at length.
mukesh bhatt shabana karan Johar के लिए चित्र परिणाम        mukesh bhatt shabana karan Johar के लिए चित्र परिणाम 

When the restive press began to raise issue over Pahlaj Nihalani's absence at this particular meeting, Mr Bhatt opined that since discussions were on with the Minister there was no need for any specific meeting with the censor board.
While the film industry bigwigs were said to be clamouring for Pahlaj Nihalani's ouster from the Censor Board, the honorable Minister,Col Rathod reiterated that no single person could hijack the certification system given the protracted and 3 tier nature of the set0up. Ultimately nothing really was gained from the closed-door interaction other than a promise for more such meetings in the future.
At the end of it all there wasn't much of promise to go along!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

President Obama Welcomes PM Modi's Remarks on Religious Tolerance

Press Trust of India | Updated: February 21, 2015 13:51 IST
WASHINGTON:  United States President Barack Obama has welcomed the recent remarks of Prime Modi in which he condemned religious-based violence and gave an assurance that his government will give equal respect to all religions.
"The President welcomed Prime Minister Modi's February 17 condemnation of religiousassurance that his government will give equal respect to all religions," the White House said on response to an online petition.
Launched by the New York-based Sikh for Justice, the online petition had urged President Obama before his India trip to raise the issue of "Sikh Genocide" and "Sikhs' Right to Self-determination" during his talk with MP Modi.
The petition had attracted more than 125,000 signatures. The White House responded to the petition in less than a month after it was launched.
Thanking those who signed the petition, the White House said during his recent trip to India, the President discussed the importance of religious freedom and tolerance in India on January 27 during his speech at Siri
"As the President said in his January 27 speech, 'In both our countries, in India and in America, our diversity is our strength'. We are committed to working with India to reaffirm this principle not just within our own countries but around the world," the White House said.

File photo: US President Barack Obama with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Associated Press)
Commending President Obama's principal stand on equal status to all religions, SFJ legalPannun said "The White House's response to Sikh group's petition is yet another reminder to Modi that India's success depends on giving all religious communities freedom and right to profess, practice and propagate fear of persecution".
While President Obama in his speech in India clearly affirmed the equal status for Christians, Muslims, Buddhists in America, PM Modi in his February 17 response on religious tolerance failed to address the issue of Article 25 (b) which labels 'Sikhs' as 'Hindus', Pannun said.