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Archives for : August2018

Open Letter to Home Minister- Stop Using 1984 as Your Counter to Every Incident of Lynching’

Sanam Sutirath Wazir

BJP led NDA Government had started putting the correct markers to win the trust of the Sikhs on the eve of the 2014 general elections. The party made a commitment that if voted to power, it will deliver justice to the victims of 1984.

On November 1, 2014, that is, on the 30th commemoration of the counter Sikh savagery, Narendra Modi had said: “a country that forgets its history can’t make history…That incident (anti-Sikh violence) was not a wound in the heart of any community. It was a dagger in the centuries-old fabric of India’s unity…our own people were murdered.”

Thereafter, on December 26, 2014, you characterized 1984 slaughters as a “Genocide.” While distributing cheques to the victims you said you choose this day because it’s the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s mother Mata Gujar Kaur and their sons, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh. You also said until the guilty are punished, the victims will not get relief. You assured victims and survivors that government is with them and will be with them in even bad days.

You said that the biggest incident of mob lynching happened in 1984. That is correct. But what have you done differently than the previous governments? Enhancing compensation is no justice.

On August 11, 2018, while speaking to the news agency Prime Minister highlighted his government’s promptness in bringing justice for the victims of violent crimes. He said his government will implement rule of law in true letter and spirit. But four years have passed and yet the inquiry is nowhere close to completion.

The impunity for the 1984 Sikh massacre has been used to downplay other incidents of mass violence. As long as the perpetrators of the carnage in 1984 go unpunished, the rule of law remains weakened in India.

The 1984 Sikh massacre is only used as political football by the BJP, and its evident from its regular comparison with the present mob lynching menace. Do two wrongs make one right?

Congress has failed the victims of the 1984 Sikh massacre, you have the opportunity to correct the wrong but it seems like you too are not interested.

Perhaps you are scared, if you will deliver justice to the victims of 1984 then it will send the wrong message to the administration which helped the state in slaughtering its own citizens. Or is it something to do with Gujrat 2002?

You appointed the SIT which was initially mandated for six months but they took nearly two and a half years and did nothing. Thereafter, the Supreme Court ordered another SIT that would comprise of a Chairman and two other members. However, nearly six months later, the third member of the SIT is yet to be appointed.

For too long, governments have only paid lip service to the victims and survivors of the 1984 massacre. No words can erase the pain and suffering these people have experienced. The only way forward is justice. But unless the issue is prioritized through speedy investigation it will be impossible for the victims to get justice. The first generation of the victims are now in their sixties. In another decade they might not be around or not be able-bodied to pursue long winding legal battles.

For once, let politics over the massacres of 1984 take a back seat and let the evidence speak for itself. 35-years may be a long time to wait but it can turn out to be a historic opportunity for the BJP government to deliver justice while the victims are still alive.

It is time for India to learn how to ensure that brutalities of 1984 do not remain a festering sore.

Sanam Sutirath Wazir is a Human Rights Activist from Kashmir.

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PARIVESH – MOEFF & CC’s launches yet another industry friendly process at environmental cost #WTFnews

– Rohit Prajapati
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change “proudly” announced recently it’s new endeavour with yet another acronym  “PARIVESH  It is a web based, role based workflow application  developed for  submission and monitoring of the proposals submitted by the proponents for seeking Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ Clearances from Central, State and district level authorities. It automates the entire tracking of proposals which includes online submission of a new proposal, editing/updating the details of proposals and displays status of the proposals at each stage of the workflow.”
This process reveals the worst kept secret of the Ministry of Environment and Forests “Dr. Vardhan [Minister] … said that with PARIVESH, MoEFCC has become more of a facilitator, than a regulator.”
MoEF&CC’s  mandated concern should be for Environment, Forest, and Climate as mentioned in the name of the Ministry, but  the recent announcement makes it clear that the ministry is working for ease of business for industries instead of protecting environment. Alike PARIVESH of MOEFF & CC could instead have  an online tracking and status of complaints for the violation of terms and conditions of environment clearances, environment laws, about air, water, and soil pollution.
Generally when people affected by pollution file complains they get poor or no reply from the MoEF&CC, State Pollution Control Boards and they are not in position to locate status of their complaints.
Even in our Public Interest litigation Writ Petition No. 375 of 2012, Supreme court Order dated 22.02.2016 clearly states that “17. It would be in the interest of implementation of  the  objective sought to be achieved,  to  also  require  each  concerned  State (and  each, concerned Union  Territory)  to  make  provision  for  “online,  real  time, continuous monitoring system” to display  emission  levels,  in  the  public domain, on the portal of the concerned State  Pollution  Control  Board.  … Such measures shall be put in place by all  the  concerned  State Governments (including, the concerned Union Territories), within six  months from today.” This deadline was over on 22.08.207 but no action has been taken by the MoEF&CC.
This has once again exposed the misplaced  concerns and intentions of the MoEF& CC that favours industries over Nature.

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Gorakhpur: RTI reply clears Dr Kafeel; Yogi govt admits to oxygen shortage

File photo of Dr Kafeel

In an RTI reply, Yogi government accepted that BRD hospital had a shortage of oxygen and six oxygen cylinders were managed by Dr Kafeel Khan on August 11, 2017

Almost a year ago, 30 children died on the night of August 11, 2017, in the encephalitis and neo-natal ward of BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur and later the toll rose to 61 in three days sparking national wide debate about state of government hospitals where children died because there was no oxygen in the hospital.

At that time, the state government contested, on the basis of several probe reports, that oxygen supply had dipped temporarily in the wards but there was no shortage of oxygen in the hospital. A year later, on July 4, the government accepted that hospital had shortage of oxygen and it had got oxygen cylinders from two unauthorised persons on August 11, 2017.

In an reply to an RTI query filed by Sanjay Sharma, the BRD Medical College accepted that on August 11, Dr Kafeel Khan, the former nodal officer of the hospital, managed to get six oxygen cylinders from Anandlok Nursing Home, Gorakhpur, and four others.

Incidentally, it is the same Dr Kafeel Khan who had been claiming that there was shortage of oxygen in BRD Medical college on the night of August 11 and he had himself brought cylinders. The hospital administration that time had not accepted his version of story because Dr Kafeel was vocal in blaming administration for not releasing funds to the oxygen suppliers. Later, Dr Kafeel was arrested and sent to jail along with Principal of the BRD College and seven others.

“The same administration now admits through RTI query that Dr Kafeel had brought four oxygen cylinders to help the children who were in distress,” said Sharma, the RTI activist based in Lucknow.

The then Chief secretary Rajiv Kumar in his probe found Principal of the BRD Medical College Dr Rajiv Mishra, Dr Kafeel and others guilty and had recommended criminal action against Dr Mishra, HoD anaesthesia paediatric department Satish, in-charge of 100-bed AES ward Kafeel Khan and Pushpa Sales, the agency which supplied Oxygen cylinders to the Medical college..

On August 24, an FIR was filed against nine persons, including Mishra, his wife Purnima Shukla and Kafeel Khan. On September 2, 2017, Khan was arrested and subsequently removed from his post in the hospital.

Dr Kafeel got bail on April 24, 2018, from Allahabad High Court while the Principal was not that lucky as he had to move Supreme Court and got bail on July 4.

“The Government was not very comfortable in sharing this information. I had filed the RTI query on August 14, 2017, but gave partial reply on July 4, which reached me on July 27 that too, when I lodged a complaint with Information Commission. Much of the information were denied saying the issue is sub-judice,” said Sharma.

He said it is almost a year but no administrative action has been taken. It would be prudent if CM first takes administration action against the guilty before unfurling the Tri-colour of August 15.


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More than 100 academics demand release of Prof Shoma Sen

Statement Of Solidarity For Prof. Shoma Sen From The Academic Community



Statement of Solidarity from the Academic Community

On the Occasion of Prof. Sen’s 60th Birthday

We, the undersigned members of the academic community, are shocked and outraged at the arrest and detention of Professor Shoma Sen on 6 June 2018. The arrests of Prof Sen and four other activist intellectuals were carefully coordinated across states, and come in the wake of the assertion of Dalit, Adivasi, OBC, Muslim unity during the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan organised by the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ in Shaniwarwada in Pune on 31st December 2017. Prof Shoma Sen, who heads the Department of English at Nagpur University, has been charged under various stringent sections of the UAPA, and has been accused of, among other things, inciting the violence in January through her speeches; of doing so on behalf of the banned CPI (Maoist); of having links with, and harbouring fugitive members of this party at various times; and of fundraising for them. Following her arrest just six weeks before she was due to retire, Prof Sen was suspended from duty at Nagpur University, pending the result of her trial. Currently lodged in the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune under inhumane conditions, she is suffering from severe arthritis and other medical complications and continues to be denied basic facilities like a cot to sleep on and a commode.

Prof Shoma Sen is a respected intellectual and has been an active scholar in the fields of post-colonialism and women’s studies for several  decades. She has also been a long time Dalit and women’s rights  activist, and has advocated the rights of the underprivileged, the deprived, the poor and the powerless. She is a valued member of the  University community, and an important voice in the struggle to uphold human rights. She has travelled to deliver lectures and talks, and is a popular teacher, with a passionate interest in reading, researching and teaching literature and women’s studies. She is also a member of the collective Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS). A respected intellectual active in the fields of post-colonialism and women’s studies for over three decades, Prof Sen was to retire on August 1st, her 60th birthday, with the release of a festschrift in her honour, an edited volume of writings by several friends and colleagues. Instead, it seems, she will spend her 60th in a jail cell without basic medical care or friends and family. After decades of advocating for the rights of the marginalised, standing in solidarity with democratic voices in this country, and ardently fighting for the rights of women  everywhere, Shoma Sen is now one more voice of democracy imprisoned.

Prof Shoma Sen’s arrest is part of the State’s ongoing efforts to intimidate and silence people who have been outspoken or critical of its anti-people policies. It is a matter of considerable concern that dissenting intellectuals and activists are being targetted for arrest under the draconian UAPA. After all the University is a space for dialogue, the exploration and critique of ideas and society, and for creative action. If Shoma Sen was resisting inequalities, it is her constitutional right as a citizen and a crucial part of her job as an intellectual to do so. Dialogue and dissent must remain a crucial part of  any democratic society. The repression of these is a giant step toward fascism. Vindictive and excessive state action is completely unacceptable in a democracy.

We condemn these arrests unequivocally and call for the immediate, unconditional release of Prof Sen and the others who were arrested with her. We demand that her suspension be revoked at once.

1.  A. Mangai (Dr. V. Padma), Associate Professor in English (Retd),
Stella Maris College, Chennai
2.  Abha Sur, Lecturer, Program in Women’s & Gender Studies,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139
3.  Abhijit Sen, Professor (Retd), Jawaharlal Nehru University
4.  Adiyta Nigam, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
5.  Amber Habib, Professor, Department of Mathematics, Shiv Nadar University
6.  Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
7.  Amrita Pande, Associate Professor, University of Cape Town, South Africa
8.  Anand Chakravarti, Retired Professor, Delhi University
9.  Anandhi S., Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai
10.  Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of
Consciousness and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa
11.  Anirban Kar, Associate Professor, Delhi School of Economics,
Delhi University
12.  Aniruddha Das, Associate Professor, Dept of Neuroscience &
Zuckerman Institute, Columbia University, New York
13.  Anita Ghai, Ambedkar University, Delhi
14.  Anjali Monteiro, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
15.  Anupama Potluri, Assistant Professor, University of Hyderabad
16.  Anuradha Banerji, Researcher, New Delhi
17.  Anushka Singh, Ambedkar University, Delhi
18.  Ashley Tellis, Associate Professor in English Literature and
Gender Studies, Independent Scholar
19.  Ashok Prasad, Associate Professor, Colorado State University,
Fort Collins, USA
20.  Atul Sood, Professor, Centre for the Study of Regional
Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
21.  Balmurli Natrajan, Professor, William Paterson University of New Jersey
22.  Bela Bhatia, Independent Researcher, Bastar, Chhattisgarh
23.  Bittu K., Associate Professor, Ashoka University
24.  Brinelle D’Souza, Faculty Member, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
25.  C.P. Chandrasekhar, Professor, Centre for Economic Studies &
Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University
26.  Carmel Christy K J, Assistant Professor, Kamla Nehru College,
Delhi University
27.  David Ludden, Professor and Chair, Department of History, New
York University
28.  Debjani Sengupta, IP College, Delhi University
29.  Deepika Tandon, Associate Professor, Department of English,
Miranda House, Delhi University
30.  Dolly Kikon, Lecturer, University of Melbourne
31.  Drago Župarić-Iljić, PhD, Researcher, Institute for Migration and
Ethnic Studies, Zagreb
32.  Elizabeth Abraham, Research Fellow, Inter University Centre For
Social Science Research, Mahatama Gandhi Universty, Kottayam
33.  G. Vijay, Member of Faculty, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad
34.  Geetam Tiwari, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
35.  Hari Sen, Associate Professor in History, Ramjas College,
University of Delhi
36.  Harjinder (Laltu) Singh, Professor, IIIT Hyderabad
37.  Himanshu, Phd Student, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
38.  Inderpal Grewal, Professor, Yale University
39.  Indira Vijaysimha, Associate Professor, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
40.  Indira C, Researcher, Public Health, Pune and Delhi
41.  J Devika, Professor, Center for Development Studies, Kerala
42.  Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi
43.  K.P. Jayasankar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
44.  Karen Gabriel, Associate Professor, Dept of English, Director,
Centre for Gender, Culture and Social Processes, St. Stephen’s
College, Delhi University
45.  Karuna DW, Independent Researcher, Chennai
46.  Kavita Punjabi, Jadavpur University
47.  Kranti Saran, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Ashoka University
48.  Lata Singh, Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
49.  Mamatha Karollil, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi
50.  Manpreet Kaur Kang, Professor of English, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi
51.  Manu Bhagavan, Professor of History and Human Rights, Hunter
College and the Graduate Center-The City University of New York
52.  Mary E. John, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi
53.  Meena Alexander, Distinguished Professor of English, Hunter
College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
54.  Meena Gopal, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
55.  Nalini Nayak, Associate Professor (Retd), Delhi University
56.  Nandini Sundar, Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of
Economics, Delhi University
57.  Nandini Manjrekar, Professor, TISS Mumbai
58.  Nandini Nayak, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi
59.  Nandita Narain, Associate Professor, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi
University (Former President, DUTA and FEDCUTA)
60.  Navjeevan Singh, Retired Director, Professor of Pathology,
University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi University
61.  Navsharan Singh, Senior Researcher, Delhi
62.  Neeraj Malik, Retired Professor, Delhi University
63.  Nisha Biswas, Scientist, CSIR
64.  Niti Saxena, Independent Researcher, Lucknow
65.  Nivedita Menon, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehri University, New Delhi
66.  Padmaja Shaw, Retd Professor, Journalism, Osmania University, Hyderabad
67.  Panchali Ray, Assistant Professor, School of Women’s Studies,
Jadavpur University
68.  Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor , Department of Media,
Culture and Communication and the Gallatin School, New York University
69.  Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
70.  Pradeep Kumar Datta, Professor, Centre for Comparative Politics
and Political Theory, Jawaharlal Nehru University
71.  Probal Dasgupta, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
72.  Queeny Pradhan, Professor, GGS Indraprastha University, Delhi
73.  R Robinson, Faculty Member, Indian Institute of Technology
74.  Rachana Johri, Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi
75.  Radha Ramaswamy, Founder Trustee, Centre for Commuity Dialogue and Change, Bangalore
76.  Ragini Shah, Clinical Professor of Law, Suffolk University
77.  Rahul Govind, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi
78.  Rajeshwari Sunder Rajan, Professor, New York University
79.  Rajiv Jha, Associate Professor, Shri Ram College of Commerce,
University of Delhi
80.  Rajni Palriwala, Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of
Economics, Delhi University
81.  Rakesh Ranjan, Assistant Professor, Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi
82.  Ranjana Padhi, Independent Researcher, Odisha
83.  Rina Ramdev, Associate Professor, Department of English, Sri
Venkateswara College, Delhi University
84.  Rita Kothari, Professor (English), Ashoka University
85.  Rochelle Pinto, Independent Researcher
86.  Ruchi Chaturvedi, Senior Lecturer, University of Cape Town
87.  Rupal Oza, Associate Professor, The Department of Women and
Gender Studies, Hunter College, CUNY, New York
88.  S. Durga Bhavani, Associate Professor, School of Computer and
Info Sciences, University of Hyderabad
89.  Sabeena Gadihoke, Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
90.  Sadhna Saxena, Professor, Delhi University
91.  Sadhna Arya, Associate Professor, Satywati College, University of Delhi
92.  Sandeep Kumar Pattnaik, Researcher, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
93.  Sangeeta Luthra Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of
History, St. Stephens College, Delhi University
94.  Sanghamitra Misra, Assistant Professor, University of Delh
95.  Sanjay Palshikar, Professor, University of Hyderabad
96.  Sanjay (Xonxoi) Barbora, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
97.  Sasha Karma Yangchen, Assistant Professor of English, University of Delhi
98.  Satish Kolluri, Associate Professor, Pace University, New York
99.  Satish Deshpande, Department of Sociology, Delhi University
100.  Shefali Chandra, Associate Professor of History, Washington
University in St. Louis
101.  Shirin M. Rai, Phd, FAcSS, Professor,, Department of Politics
and International Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry
102.  Shobha R, Law Student, Sheshadripuram Law College, Karnataka
State Law University
103.  Shobha Ghosh, Professor, Unversity of Mumbai
104.  Soniya Munshi, Assistant Professor, City University of New York
105.  Sujata Patel, Professor and National Fellow, Institute of
Advanced Study, Shimla
106.  Sujatha Surepally, Professor, Dept of Sociology, Satavahana University
107.  Sumit Sarkar, Retired Professor of History, Delhi University
108.  Sunanda Sen, Retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi
109.  Susie Tharu, Professor (Retd.), English and Foreign Languages
University, Hyderabad
110.  Svati Shah, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts
111.  T M Thomas, Associate Professor (Retd), Deshbandhu College,
University of Delhi
112.  T. Sobha Rani, Associate Professor, University of Hyderabad
113.  Tanika Sarkar, Retired Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi
114.  Tulsi Srinivasan, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
115.  Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Professor, Department of Political Science,
University of Delhi
116.  Uma Chakravarti, Retired Professor, Delhi University
117.  Utsa Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi
118.  V. Geetha, Feminist Historian
119.  Vaibhav Vaish, INSPIRE Faculty Fellow, Indian Statistical
Institute, Bangalore Centre
120.  Vanessa Chishti, Assistant Professor, Jindal Law School
121.  Vikas Bajpai, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Medicine
and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
122.  Vilas Ghogre, Masters student, University of Hyderabad
123.  Virginia Saldanha, Theologian, Indian Christian Womens’ Movement
124.  Zoya Hasan, Professor (Retd.), Jawaharlal Nehru University

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Adani spent a year trying to hide this information on its reef spill #StopAdani


Road sign stating private access to Abbot Point terminal.

Documents obtained under freedom of information laws reveal details about the Abbot Point reef spill.


Adani has been fighting to hide details of what it told the Queensland Government about the risk of pollution to the Great Barrier Reef ahead of Cyclone Debbie in 2017.

Now, conservationists say documents and a series of emails obtained through freedom of information laws appear to show the company and the Queensland Government knew the pollution would be so bad it would break the law.

The details are revealed in an exchange over the company’s temporary pollution licence and it starts on March 27, 2017.

On the wet and blustery morning, Queenslanders were making sure their loved ones were safe.

Cyclone Debbie — what would become the most dangerous storm to hit Queensland since 2011 — was quickly approaching the coast.

That day, Adani was preparing too.

It was seeking a temporary licence to pollute wetlands around its coal export terminal at Abbot Point near Bowen with coal-laden water.

Documents uncovered using freedom of information laws show that morning, Adani realised the large amount of rain falling into its storage pools would likely cause them to overflow onto important wetlands next door to the site.

Satellite imagery released a few months later shows the wetlands covered in polluted water after the storm.

The ABC can now reveal the content of those documents, including a section Adani has fought for the past year to keep secret.

That section suggests that later on March 27, while Adani was applying for a last-minute extension to its temporary pollution licence, it appeared to know the water it was likely to dump would be so polluted it would breach the licence.

As rain and wind was bearing down on the town of Bowen, and forecasters warned of Debbie’s impending landfall, Adani received its temporary pollution licence.

But, at the last minute, late that afternoon, Adani realised its application for permission to pollute the wetland was not enough.

It would also likely dump polluted water directly into the ocean and into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

“Sorry I just noticed W2 wasn’t included in the [temporary emissions licence], is it possible to include this location?” an Adani employee wrote in an email to the Queensland Environment Department that afternoon.

The department quickly indicated that would not be a problem:

“Just give me a little detail and we can include and update [the temporary emissions licence],” a department staff member replied.

The email chain shows about 5:00pm on the following day — hours after Cyclone Debbie had crossed the coast — Adani sent that extra information to the department.

Among the documents were also details the company then fought tooth and nail to hide because Adani said it would “cause extreme and unfair prejudice” against it.

On the other side of the battle was the Mackay Conservation Group, who applied for the documents under freedom of information laws back in April 2017.

The small environmental NGO has a big history of fighting Adani.

Mackay Conservation Group successfully overturned the first federal approval for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in 2015.

“We were quite curious as to why there had been two temporary emissions licences issued,” the group’s Peter McCallum said.

“We were curious as to what the timing was and why subsequent to the cyclone crossing the coast, the licence was amended.”

So the group applied to get the documents under Queensland Right to Information laws.

Wilful breach ‘likely to be a live issue’

At the heart of Adani’s extreme reluctance to allow the documents to be released is the fact the company was fined for the pollution they did release.

The Queensland Government said Adani admitted to breaching its licence, spilling polluted water into the Marine Park that was 800 per cent dirtier than was allowed.

Adani told the ABC it challenged that interpretation and that “no breach occurred”, but details the company fought to keep secret appear to suggest it knew it would breach the licence it was applying for and the Queensland Government knew too.

According to lawyers from the Queensland Environmental Defenders’ Office, this means the breach of the licence could be a much more serious matter.

“Under Queensland law, a wilful breach of a temporary emissions licence can occur if it was reckless or as a result of gross negligence.

“Given the recently released RTI documents include an email from Adani staff demonstrating knowledge of the sump contaminant concentrations, and that it appears Adani did not treat the water prior to the discharge, wilfulness is likely to be a live issue for any prosecution decision.”

Government is ‘letting them get away with it’

In one email to the department, when seeking permission to release polluted water from the second location, Adani outlined how polluted that water was likely to be.

And it turns out it was likely to be up to 900 per cent more polluted than would be allowed under the terms of the licence the company was seeking.

Despite applying for a licence to spill water into the ocean with up to 100 mg of coal per litre, in emails to the department, Adani revealed the water that would spill was likely to be up to 900 mg per litre.

Adani told the department:

“Releases from this location are small in volume however the [total suspended solids] is always greater than 30mg/L (approx between 500+ to 900 from memory!) as this location is actually a sump and prior to any treatment process (a historical legacy discharge location).”

Mr McCallum said: “It shows they knew they would break the law, and they did it anyway.”

But the released information also casts a shadow on the conduct of the department ahead of the spill, he said.

“What it shows is that both the Government and Adani were aware that there was very high chance of the breach of their licence during the cyclone, that could lead to the pollution of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” Mr McCallum said.

“Adani is wilfully managing its site in a way that could damage the environment and the Government is letting them get away with it.”

The Queensland Department of Environment declined to comment to the ABC.

Adani ‘categorically deny any wrongdoing’

A group of about 20 protesters stand with signs that read "stop Adani".

PHOTO In Mackay, protesters shouted “stop Adani, that’s an order, we are sick of coal pollution, solar and wind are the solution”.


In fighting the release of the details, Adani claimed it would exacerbate “ongoing public vitriol”.

In submissions to the Queensland information commissioner, the company claimed it would pressure the department to be seen to be “cracking down” on Adani, and alleged the Government was “conferring” with environmental groups.

Adani claimed the information would cause “extreme and unfair prejudice to” Adani, in the dispute over its fine.

But the acting commissioner found Adani’s claims to be “wholly speculative in nature” and said there were not “real and substantial grounds” for those claims.

Adani did not directly answer a series of questions put to them by the ABC, but did supply a statement.

“We categorically deny any wrongdoing in this matter, we complied with the limits imposed by the Temporary Emissions Licence issued by the regulator and no breach occurred,” the statement read.

“We have elected to have the matter heard by a magistrate rather than pay a $12,000 fine, which should not have been issued in 2017 following Cyclone Debbie, and we look forward to resolution of the matter.”

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Mahrashtra ATS arrests: Sanatan Sanstha feted terror plotter’s kin in 2017

Mouthpiece says Sudhanwa Gondhalekar’s grandmother and daughters attained over ‘60% spirituality’; right-wing outfit claims felicitation is no indication of membership

Sudhanwa Gondhalekar is accused of training others on how to assemble explosives

Written by Chandan Haygunde | Satara | and

Sudhanwa Gondhalekar (39), a resident of Karanji Peth in Satara who was among the three men arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) for allegedly planning major terror attacks in different parts of the state, was once an active member of Hindutva outfit Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan, who is known to have developed close links with the Sanatan Sanstha later. Gondhalekar was also an avid reader of Sanatan Prabhat, a fortnightly published by Sanatan Sanstha, said a family member of the arrested accused. Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson Chetan Rajhans said Gondhalekar was a regular reader of Sanatan Prabhat, but he didn’t hold any formal posts in the Sanstha.

Gondhalekar was arrested along with Vaibhav Raut (40), the prime accused who is also said to be a sympathiser of the Sanatan Sanstha, and Sharad Kasalkar (25). Police said they have recovered 20 crude bombs, two gelatin sheets, a note on how to prepare bombs, one six-volt battery, a few loose wires, transistors and glue from Raut and Kasalkar.
Sources said Gondhalekar had knowledge of explosives and had trained the other two men on assembling them. The trio have been remanded to police custody till August 18.


On the website of Sanatan Sanstha, there are images of Gondhalekar supporting and participating in activities and agitations of the outfit, as well as those organised by Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), since 2014. He is referred to as a member of the Shri Shivpratisthan Hindustan, a right-wing outfit led by Sambhaji Bhide. Bhide has been accused of instigating violence in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, during which one person was killed and several others injured. However, police have said they don’t have sufficient evidence to arrest Bhide

Gondhalekar’s name appears in a news article about Hindutva activists preventing cow slaughter in Satara in April 2014. The website also has information on an agitation in Satara — ‘Rashtriya Hindu Andolan’ — in August 2016. Gondhalekar had participated in it, along with members of Sanatan Sanstha and HJS, and shouted slogans such as ‘Amhi sare sanatani’ (we all are sanatanis). He had also appealed to people to subscribe to Sanatan Prabhat.
Gondhalekar was also active in agitations against Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti, an outfit founded by rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, who was murdered in Pune in 2013. In September 2016, Gondhalekar participated in a press conference in Satara, along with Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vartak, and levied charges about the alleged mismanagement of Dabholkar’s trust.

A report in Sanatan Prabhat, on June 26, 2017, had called Gondhalekar’s daughter Saumya ‘a girl with 61 per cent spiritual level’. Nitin Chougule, a leader of Shri Shivpratisthan Hindustan, said, “Sudhanwa never held any responsibility of Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan and we never asked him to represent our organisation during any programme of the Sanatan Sanstha. He could have participated in these programmes in his individual capacity. But he had not actively participated in our programmes in the last four years”.

Sanatan Prabhat said Gondhalekar’s family members — Yamunatai Dongre, 88, Sai Gondhalekar, 8, and Soumya Gondhalekar, 5 — had “defied the cycle of birth and death”. “Dongre achieved 63 per cent of spirituality and the two girls, 61 per cent. Sanatan sadguru Swati Khade felicitated them, and presented a photograph of Sri Krishna to Dongre and gifts to Sai and Soumya,” it said.

The felicitation took place at Gondhalekar’s residence in Pune and was attended by many sadhak (followers), said the report.

It also called Gondhalekar an activist of Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan, the organisation founded by controversial rightwing leader Sambhaji Bhide, which denied any link with him following his arrest. Bhide has been booked in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence of January 1. Many other reports published on the websites of Sanatan Sanstha and right-wing outfit Hindu Janajagruti Samiti also referred to Gondhalekar as a member of Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan.

Abhay Vartak, spokesperson of Sanatan Sanstha, said there was nothing to read into the felicitation. “Felicitating his family members does not automatically mean that they were members of our organisation. We felicitate many people who achieve certain levels of spirituality. It does not mean that they are sadhak of Sanatan.”

Shri Shivpratishtan Hindustan again sought to distance itself from Gondhalekar. “He was associated with us three to four years ago,” said spokesperson Balwant Dalvi.

Gondhalekar, a 39-year-old businessman from Pune, was arrested on Friday — along with Nalasopara residents Vaibhav Raut, 40, coordinator of Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti, and Sharad Kalaskar, 25 — for conspiring to carry out attacks in the state.

Goa-based Sanatan Sanstha first came under investigators’ lens after its members were found to have carried out a bomb blast at a theatre in Thane on May 31, 2008. Two members were convicted for the blast in 2011. The organisation again came into infamy after its members were suspected to have carried out the Madgaon blasts of 2009. Two of its suspected members, Dr Virendra Tawde and Sameer Gaikwad, are also alleged to have been involved in the killings of Dabholkar in 2013 and Pansare in 2015.

Yamunatai Dongre with Sai and Soumya Gondhalekar


A local Hindutva activist said, “Sudhanwa was a supporter of outfits that worked to further the cause of Hindutva and was seen as close to persons who had links with Sanatan Sanstha”. Gondhalekar lived with his parents, wife and two children at his residence in Karanaji Peth in Satara. Among residents of the locality, he was known as a religious person. His father Sudhir Gondhalekar told mediapersons that his son was innocent and would never do anything wrong. A family member, who did not wish to be named, said, “Sudhanwa completed his diploma in mechanical engineering from Pune. He later did a computer animation course and started his own business. He has been running his business for 12 years and many architects were among his clients. He had taken an apartment on rent in Pune, from where he operated his business…he visited Pune often”.

“He was involved in Hindutva work and social activities in Satara. His business suffered due to demonetisation and since then, he started focussing a lot on it. We have never heard about his communication with any Vaibhav Raut. He mostly discussed business issues. It is hard to believe that he was involved in any bomb-making activity…. the ATS has not communicated with us, but local police officials visited our home after getting to know about his arrest. We are co-operating with police,” he said.

Sources in Satara Police said while Gondhalekar had no criminal record in the district, they were trying to get information about an old murder case during his college days, in which he was suspected to be named as an accused, but was acquitted in 2003.

More weapons seized, additional charges slapped

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Saturday seized another cache of arms and ammunition related to alleged terror plots in the state, this time from Pune. While arresting Vaibhav Raut, the ATS had found arms and explosives at his bungalow in Nalasopara. A police officer said Sudhanwa Gondhalekar revealed during his interrogation that more weapons were stored at a godown in Pune. “During a raid, 11 country-made pistols with magazines, an airgun, 10 pistol barrels, six pistol magazines, six partially-made pistol bodies, three partially-made magazines, seven partially-made slides of pistols, 16 relay switches and mechanism circuit sketches, a trigger mechanism, three 9V batteries, six vehicle licence plates, a few CDs, pen drives, hard disks, gloves, a handbook and several prints on making explosives, some mobile phones, a chopper, a steel knife, springs and torches were seized,” said the officer. Following this seizure, more charges were added to the FIR, and some associates of the three arrested men detained. The accused’s defence lawyer, Sanjiv Punalekar, alleged that four friends of Gondhalekar from Pandharpur and Pune were detained and tortured to accept that they supplied the explosives.

Indian Express and Mumbai Mirror

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