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Joint Trade Union Letter to PM Narendra Modi


Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India

New Delhi

Through the Minister of Labour & Employment

Government of India, Shram Shakti Bhavan, New Delhi

Dear Sir,

From the All-in-One-Unity platform of all the Central Trade Unions (CTUs) of the country we convey our greetings to the new Prime Minister of India.  People of the country who have voted you to govern the country have great expectation from your Government on the question of life and livelihood.  We expect you to fulfill the aspiration of the mass of the people who produce wealth for the nation, resources for the exchequer and also profit for the employers. The trade union movement reiterates that workers are committed for people oriented growth and advancement of the nation. Hard fact is that it is workers who are the living force behind keeping the national economy afloat.

We seek to draw your kind attention to the Ten-point Charter of Demands (CoD) which we have been pursuing through countrywide peaceful democratic mobilization, agitation and repeated strike action in phases spreading over a period of last over four years at all levels. These demands have been formulated jointly by all the Central Trade Unions in the country along with almost all national Federations of workers and employees in the major industries and service establishments in the country. These demands voice the most basic bottom line needs of the working people. These demands are:

  1. Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market
  2. Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation
  3. Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.
  4. Universal social security cover for all workers
  5. Minimum wages of  not less than Rs 15,000/- per month with provisions of  indexation
  6. Assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.3,000/- p.m. for the entire working population
  7. Stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs
  8. Stoppage of contractorisation in permanent perennial work and payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as regular workers for same and similar work
  9. Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund; increase the quantum of gratuity
  10. Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting application; and immediate ratification of ILO Conventions C 87 and C 98

Besides the above, the notification for minimum pension of Rs.1,000/- per month and raising the ceiling of coverage under EPF Act from Rs.6500/- to Rs.15000/- is overdue. The previous Govt. had cleared these two measures.


The validity and justness of the issues of our CoD has found expression in the speech of the then Prime Minister while addressing the 45th session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC) held   on 17th May .2013 that “the demands of recent two days strike by the workers are also the demands of the people at large and most of them are undisputable and unexceptionable and also are in the advanced stage of consideration by the Government.” The ILC development was followed up with constitution of a Group of Senior Ministers with mandate to meet the CTUs to settle the issues. Bilateral exercise did take off but remained inconclusive and the issues still stand unresolved.


All the Central Trade Unions of the country feel very much agitated at the wavering attitude of the previous Government on the issues raised above which ignored the conclusion of the ILCs. In the meantime the situation has got aggravated. The price-rise of essential commodities is making the life of common people miserable. The recent increase in passenger and freight charges by Railways will have cascading effect on price front. Mass-scale and widespread contractorisation of regular jobs has been continuing in the Govt, public and private sector, trampling the concerned law underfoot. Opening up almost all sectors to FDI and reckless deregulation of the strategic sectors of the economy including the financial sector and aggressive disinvestment of PSUs and privatization of crucial public utility services appears to be pursued by the new Government.


At this point we urge upon your government to kindly refrain from any kind of unilateralism and one-sided approach either by the Central Government or any State Government on matters involving and affecting workers. We feel such submission has become necessary due to the unfortunate unilateral steps initiated to amend several vital Labour Laws by the present Government of Rajasthan. In this connection we are also seriously concerned at the sudden hurried steps by the Union Labour Ministry to push through major amendments to number of principal Labour Statutes affecting workers.


We urge upon you, Mr. Prime Minister, to ensure that labour is accorded its due recognition and the issues noted above are attended and satisfactory settlement is arrived at through bilateral discussion between the Central Government and the joint platform of Central Trade Unions at the earliest. .


With regards,



BMS         INTUC            AITUC                   HMS CITU

AIUTUC         TUCC SEWA            AICCTU           UTUC               LPF

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#SundayReading – Whats common between Aamir Khan, Narendra Modi and Satyamev Jayate ?


Guest Post by –   Dr  Gaurav Chhabra

The recent meeting between the Bollywood top-shot Aamir Khan and political hot-shot PM Modi is trending online. With both men talking development, one focusing more on social development and the other on economic development, this meeting was destined to happen sooner or later. Some of the news and blog posts are calling this meet a U-turn. Whatsoever this meeting might mean to anyone, this power meet, is something that cannot be easily ignored.

Lately the fan-following of Aamir has been high on pop-meter, more due to his anchoring cum acting skills in popular citizen activism show- Satyamevajayte, than in any of his recent Bollywood films. Much of the fan following out of this is ‘social do-gooder’ people and many of them also happen to be Aam aadmi. Incidentally, a large chunk of this bunch, happens not to be a great fan of PM Modi. The power-meets-power shake-hand has left some idealist Aamir fans into a dilemma. Should they also, like their Bollywood idol, reset their expectations high from Modi and give up all the anti-Modi rant they have frequently been indulging into?

Frankly speaking, there is no need of any ideological dilemma, for when Aamir meets PM, he means Business. For that matter, a PM of any political party and probably ‘Business’ in its literal-most financial sense as well.

In a country like India, full of X numbers of issues and (X) x (n) number of NGOs (read 3 million+) working toward these issues, the social work sector today is expanding fast as a professionally organized sector. Passion to do more and more good requires expansion of scope of work. Unfortunately, this sometimes comes at the cost of ethics. Today when ‘awareness’ is the keyword and large chunks of public money is set aside by Government for running National awareness campaigns through print and electronic media, the developmental organizations and Social welfare departments of Government are coming up as a major tentative client for any big creative/advertising agency.

Big client means big business and big business means big lobbyist to bag the projects.

To be a good lobbyist, a regular Salam-Namastey helps.

Or call it a Courtesy call!

Last, when Aamir met PM Manmohan Singh, to discuss social issues, he solicited a big project for his friend Prasoon Joshi’s creative agency McCann Worldgroup. In fact he duly used his position of influence to vouch for and to bring Joshi’s company on board for this project.

Many of you might be aware of the ‘National Anti-Malnutrition campaign’, the video spots of which, starring chroma-keyed Aamir, frequently appeared across all the TV channels, print magazines and popular websites over many months, last year. Aamir was the Brand Ambassador of this project of Ministry of Women and Child Welfare carried out in collaboration with UNICEF India.

Though it would be a bit too technical to put it here, but any well-trained Public health-communication expert would not have chosen an erstwhile brand-ambassador of a fizzy Cola drink as a brand-ambassador of a National Anti-Malnutrition campaign; but that surely is not a matter of discussion here, as practically, such precision of work is not usually expected. Moreover, in India, a star is a Star, so forget about technicalities and just shut-up.

But still, why out of all the Bollywood stars and starlets.. Aamir Khan?

Had it been a matter of choice, things could have been different, but hardly any choice was left for the Government officials as the NGO/Think Tank-  ‘Citizens Alliance against Malnutrition’, of which Aamir was also a creative-consultant, approached the PM office with an offer that PM could not refuse.

And happily so.

Aamir for free!

Well appreciated. Didn’t I tell you he is a good guy?! He promised and went ahead to be a brand Ambassador of Government’s Anti-malnutrition campaign for free!

Where then, is the catch?

A brand Ambassador has to reach out to public. TV is a great medium to reach out to you as you gobble up your freshly ordered Thin crust pizza with extra cheese while watching you favorite TV show. That’s when these public service broadcasts pop up. You might not fit well under the category of the mal-nourished, but chances are, that may be you will drop in a word or two to your domestic help and other marginalised helping staff about what message Aamir left for him/her last night. You also, obviously are the secondary target audience in any govt. awareness campaign since the awareness campaigns are partially also about showing Government’s ongoing efforts to the tax payers.  In any case, you would find enough DishTVs in any of the smaller colonies in the slums where malnutrition in kids is more likely. So, enough communication surely is happening. Good! So let’s not get into the details if the channels and websites chosen for broadcast were suitable to the target audience of the campaign or not. Only thing worth highlighting here is that with his influence, Aamir once again lobbied for bringing on-board, another friend of his, the CEO of a sister company of Joshi’s company, as an unofficial consultant, to negotiate deals with the pvt. TV channels for buying air-time for broadcast of the prepared video spots, on behalf of Government.

Talking first about the development of video-spots for the campaigns..

Around 50 video spots were to be produced for the project.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting with its Video production unit- DAVP, was a partner in this project. DAVP has on its panel, duly competent professional creative and production agencies to produce relevant video films for such campaigns. Also, Ministry of Women and Child welfare had good enough good a budget available to get these video spots produced from DAVP. But these chosen empaneled agencies were systematically ignored. The video production was rather outsourced to UNICEF, without any proper justification for the same. (

Aamir, in a meeting with Govt and UNICEF officials, at his residence in Mumbai,  openly brought forth his self-selected ‘team’ and vouched for his friend Prasoon Joshi’s agency McCann Worldgroup for this project. (

UNICEF India office, the collaborating partner and financial supporter of this project chose to use its special powers to waiver the process of competitive bidding and rather directly signed a Tri-partite agreement between Aamir, itself and McCann Worldgroup. (

Not only this, the project was already fixed unofficially much before this contract, which is clear from the records of work-meetings between McCann team and Govt/UNICEF officials, which had already started taking place much before the signing of this contract. (

This practice of ‘Waiver of competitive procurement’ such as this has been highly condemned time and again in professional Audits of UN agencies, but to no use. Further, to overcome the technical matters related to financial issues, this whole project was shown merely as ‘Technical support’ to Government rather than a financial one by UNICEF.

UNICEF even after repeated requests, refused to disclose any information about this project, even though their transparency policy claims otherwise in regard to disclosure of information.

Later, when these video spots were to be broadcasted on TV channels and DAVP was supposed to buy air-time from private TV channels, an agency called Lodestar UM, recommended again by Aamir Khan through the CEO of the agency Shashi Sinha was chosen to be involved in consultation while ‘negotiating primetime with concerned agencies in order to leverage best deals and optimal resource efficiency’, thus putting this agency, at the personal recommendation of the star, at a key position to influence the decision making in buying of airtime worth hundreds of crores of rupees for the project, without officially following due procedure to hire him as a consultant for this project. (Pg 2nd, Last para@

The fans would surely love to jump ahead and put forth the idea that Aamir genuinely did it for a better campaign. Well, a great idea! I wish it is so too. But then, that would also justify and approve all the nepotism and favourism in the world that politicians indulge into, to award the projects to their near and dear ones. Is that also OK?

The above two ‘recommendations’ clearly indicate that bhai-bandhuvaad runs in higher circles of social-work system and the very ambassadors of Truth, practice it without much of a  hitch.

On detailed inspection of the project documents, there are numerous other questions that arise and point clearly at discrepancies like unfair competitive advantage, conflict of interest, lack of accountability, failure to maintain standard of ethics in the execution of this project. These need to be dealt by relevant audit agencies and Government bodies. If, at all.

With the portfolio ranging from cola giants, national anti-malnutrition campaign and NaMo’s political campaign itself; creative advertisers like Prasoon Joshi surely are big merchant of truth; or at least they can market an approximation of truth as the ultimate truth. Further down, Brand Ambassadors are likes salesmen of such Truth. But for that, they ought to be a reliable face.

Is Aamir a reliable face?

Yes, for many he is. Reliable enough. With Aamir’s genuine efforts to raise the conscience of aam junta through his show Satyamevajayate, he today is the champion of all causes and the most well-known star face connected with social work. Today every other NGO wants to invite Aamir to preside over at their ‘awareness’ rally related to their social initiatives. ‘Hope is the opium of masses’. In present times, all hope is good. Aamir’s model of social work through Satamevajayate is a great model of ‘social entrepreneurship’. Social work sector must try its best to be financially self-sustainable rather than being a stagnantly donation based model alone. This quality of self-sustainability and profitability must be well appreciated. But what is clearly not worth a Bravo is the fact that when he offers his work pro-bono, the strings attached pull along his friends for making good business.

The issues Aamir has raised in SatyamevJayate are important. He deserves all the credit for that and no unfair criticism. But on a fair and deeper analysis, one can find another side of the story too. A one hour show on Water conservation and he chooses to completely ignore corporate exploitation of water by his ex-paymaster cola giant. Every Indian activist worth the salt would know how village after village has fought against this cola giant’s exploitation of their water resources. Years of protests and legal battles against the atrocities of the unethical corporate-government nexus for reclaiming their only and scarce source of drinking water. ( Only an activist worth a Fizz could choose to ignore it. Critically looking at this, in development-sector lingo, this intentional presentation of selective truth is called a cover-up or rather a Positive Image building by partnering with the very root cause of the problem in highlighting the very same issue. That is exactly how many unethical corporates are using celebrity figures and NGOs and CSR campaigns to cover up their darker sides. (Like Priyanka Chopra for Vedanta mining corporation).

But why does aam junta tend to ignore such intricacies? That is where; the important role of creative advertisers comes in. They are the best at painting the great Happiness picture for us, so that we can hum aloud.. ‘haan haan mein crazy hoon..’ and instead of becoming voice of the oppressed, become little billboards of corporate giants on social media.

The passion for organic and natural farming as shown in one of the episodes of Sataymevajayte, could have also been extended to be shared in the meeting with the great philanthropist Bill gates, whose non-profit foundation also happens to be one of the heavy investors in the biggest Genetically Modified Organisms corporationMonsanto. ( Aamir’s film as a producer- Peepli Live, though plucked some unwanted strings in farmer-rights circles due, it did, by the way of dark-humour try to put forth the important and much neglected issue of farmer’s suicide, much of which reportedly also relates to the GM crop of Bt Cotton. At his position, in his meeting with Bill Gates, by talking clear about GM food crops, he could have send out a strong message, had he really intended to. But collaborations in development sector can choose only to be tactful, it seems. So not a word about it, when it could have meant the most.

At the least, I hope Aamir does have some personal stand on these important issues too.

That is why, when Aamir says, that he is not an activist but an actor; I choose to thoroughly believe him.

The Upanishadic aphorism Satyamev Jayate refers more to the Truth that is to be achieved by selfless works- Karmayoga. Even if Aamir’s present social work is no less an effort, to be a true activist, he surely has to raise his bar high…atleast on ethical front, where he seems to develop slippery feet as of now, knowingly or unknowingly.

Talking of Modi, his claims are high and so are his promises.

If he is serious about his promise of integral social and economic development, he should make sure that he promotes development of a transparent administrative system where, in a case such as this, the govt. officers do not continue to indulge in an arbitrary decision-making in regard to awarding of big projects based on influence of star power alone but instead respect the Financial rules and Guidelines laid down for transparent and effective functioning public procurement systems and effective utilization of public money.

Also, as Modi’s government sets to tighten the noose on international NGOs by regulating foreign funding based on the recent IB report, he should also work towards making the functioning of International Developmental agencies working on Indian lands, like UNICEF, more transparent and accountable to Indian public rather than allowing them to be veiled behind the clouds of secrecy of special powers. In any case the unchecked functioning of such organizations happens with due support of their government counterparts; the second half of the unholy nexus.

With Prasoon Joshi already been on NaMo’s political propaganda panel and now this courtesy call meeting of NaMo and Aamir to remind the former of his social development promises; with plans to work together towards developmental issues, there are all the bright chances that there might sprout a lot of corollary ‘awareness’ projects. Which, also means a lot of business for creative agencies.

I can only hope that if Aamir again chooses to offer his voice for free, it doesn’t come at the cost of ethics and that he chooses not to indulge in nepotism and use his clout to bring more business to his clique by overriding the public spirit of the rule books.

Not something extravagant, to ask for, from a torchbearer of Truth!



Note: This article is based on inspection and research of more than 1000 pages of documents procured via RTI from Ministry of Women and Child welfare and other sources. The detailed report, of which this article is an extract, was shared with most of the leading National Newspapers, all the major News Magazines including the popular Investigative Tabloids, and many News Channels but all invariably chose to ignore it or put it under the carpet. Invariably most of them also got business from the project that this article relates to. Hence, this article intends to bring forth the issue, in relation to its prevalent social context, in the public domain through an independent article. Maligning anyone’s public image is least of the intention and readers are requested to abstain from the same.

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PM Narendra Modi gets an early geography lesson

By Ranjona Banerji |Posted 18-Jun-2014

The prime minister of India went to Bhutan on his first trip to phoren as prime minister of India, and called it Nepal. Then he called it Ladakh. It is very unfair of me or anyone else to mention this, because the prime minister is new at being prime minister of India and mistakes happen.

As someone pointed out, his mistakes only prove that he is human. This might come as a shock to those who thought he was superhuman or even, gasp, divine, when they voted for him. Human. Bah! What a comedown.

Anyway, next, after visiting Nepal or Bhutan or maybe Ladakh (which is in India I think, am I wrong or am I right?), the prime minister will visit other places like Japan or is that Mongolia? The important thing to remember is that Barack Obama also makes mistakes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first foreign trip to Bhutan, confused Nepal with Bhutan while addressing the Bhutan Parliament. Later, he also referred to it as Ladakh. Pic/PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first foreign trip to Bhutan, confused Nepal with Bhutan while addressing the Bhutan Parliament. Later, he also referred to it as Ladakh. Pic/PTI

And if Barack Obama makes mistakes, then anyone can make a mistake even a divine being. Or so experts on social media inform us. One could quite easily make a comparison with George W Bush, but that means remembering that far back. And who can be bothered to do that?

Meanwhile, as if I wasn’t bad enough by putting geography above divinity, other people are looking at rising inflation and blaming this new government. Even though this new government is trying to blame everyone else from the old government, to rising food prices (this is not the same as inflation, don’t you know that?) to the situation in Iraq to the probably bad monsoon to hoarding.

Everyone knows that the new government cannot blame anyone for hoarding because no one may vote for them again. But, someone tell them that there’s no use blaming the last government because there’s no general election for the next five years, especially when you have a majority.

In fact, it’s because you have a majority that you can mix up Bhutan, Nepal and Ladakh because, you know, who cares? We just won an election. Anyway, one foreign trip over, one rape and murder case ignored, one death of a man killed because he was a Muslim ignored, and we are well on our way to being a lot like the last prime minister… or not?

One can never be sure, because there is always some philosophical remark to be made about a glass of water being half full or Alexander wandering all over the Gangetic plains or failing that, sending Bhagat Singh to the Andaman Islands.

One must apologise, I suppose, to those who wanted miracles from Day One. Like all of you who laughed at the Aam Aadmi Party’s month and half in power in Delhi? Now, Delhi is struggling with power problems and all the instant solutions for immediate electricity haven’t worked, and is anyone showing intent by sleeping next to a WagonR in the freezing cold?

No, everyone is behaving just like that same old government thing. One knows that it’s still early days, but this is around the time in the comics of yore, if anyone can remember, that Mandrake would gesture hypnotically… not confuse Nepal and Bhutan while you’re in Bhutan talking to the Bhutan Parliament.

We all know that the last government was useless. Couldn’t deal with inflation, the prime minister would not speak to the nation on matters which bothered the nation and some remote control high command was humming in the background.

And now there are rumours that the names of the Indians with black money in Swiss bank accounts will not be revealed because of some banking rules or some such bogus excuse. That last government also gave us the same bogus excuses. And we yelled blue murder then. Or black murder.

But, now, you know, rules are rules. Meanwhile, we have set up a committee and a team and everything else. Like all those other committees… So, what have we learnt so far?

Geography is a notion.

Inflation is in perpetuity.

Promises are lies.

And politicians are eternal.

I write this sitting on some hill or the other. Probably the other.

– See more at:

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Why Narendra Modi govt and the BJP stopped talking to media ? #censorship

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 – 8:10am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
Party scans newspapers everyday to keep tabs on who is talking to the media; daily briefing by BJP has been scrapped
  • BJP daily briefing (above, before the polls ) has been scrapped

The Narendra Modi government seems to be running on silence. Key secretaries are mum. There’s no media advisor to the PM. The Press Information Bureau (PIB) has hardly any information. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has scrapped its daily briefing, which was the lifeline of the political beat for many years.

What has stumped hardcore political journalists in Delhi is that the numerous BJP blowhorns like Prakash Javedkar, now I & B minister, Ravi Shakar Prasad, now law minister, and even Arun Jaitley, who sometimes spent the entire day in front of TV cameras patiently answering questions ranging from politics to social propriety and offering advice to the nation, at large, are nowhere to be seen. The byte has gone out of the BJP.

What is even more damning is that the daily briefing in the BJP headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road, which converted the drab morning hours to prime time TV, has been stopped. OB vans no longer line this beautiful boulevard. The once-accessible friendly BJP office-bearers have “gone underground”.

A BJP worker said newspapers are scanned every morning to keep tabs on who in the party and government was talking to the media and on what.

The newly appointed spokesperson M J Akbar is nowhere to be seen and has not briefed the press even once. Subramaniam Swamy, who tweeted endlessly with often bizzare allegations, seems to have developed arthritis of his thumb.

That there is no media adviser to the PM, even after 21 days of Narendra Modi being sworn in, is glaring. Jagdish Thakkar, a Gujarat officer has been appointed as the PRO to the PMO, but according to a Gujarat daily he will be no Sanjay Baru or Pankaj Pachauri and will not be briefing the press.

The 70-year-old official will most probably be pointing out negative reports or bringing some such crucial information to the attention of the PM.

Ministers of the Modi government have been instructed not to speak to the media. That’s the job of the ministry spokesman or of a government spokesman, if a particular ministry does not have a dedicated spokesman. BJP MPs have been warned of the possibility of a Bangaru Laxman-type sting!

The point is, ever since May 26, very few Union ministers have addressed a press conference. Shortly after he was sworn in as prime minister, Narendra Modi called a meeting of the BJP parliamentary party in the Central Hall of Parliament, where he gave them what the Congress has dubbed “10 commandments”. One of them was: “Avoid speaking to the media. There is no need to speak on national issues unnecessarily.”

The MPs were on cue. As they trooped out, they refused to give bytes to the waiting media. Since then, very few ministers have interacted with the press. The council of ministers has had only one meeting and the government’s mind on various issues is only a guess, hazy at best.

Government briefings have stopped. When the UPA was in power, there was a Group of Ministers (GoM) on Media that used to meet everyday at a fixed hour to analyse the events of the day GoM has been scrapped, along with the others.

Journalists who have been covering BJP for years and were on wonderful terms with party leaders are suddenly finding it hard to get through to them. Even when they do breach the wall, wanting to speak on a certain issue, all they get is a “cannot say anything” comment.

The government seems to have no media policy. Scanning government websites is a waste of time. Even the PMO website is more or less moribund. It’s not yet updated. There is mention of ‘Quest for Transparency’ but RTI on officials in the PMO and their service details are not fully transparent.

Even PIB officials say they rely on Twitter to get to know what the government is up to and what and how much of the information should be told to the media. Press statements are drafted, based on tweets posted by the PMO. Narendra Modi has already underlined the importance of social media to interact with the people.

Delhi, where a hot news or a spicy gossip blew in with every gust of wind from the Yamuna, is looking like a parched state, looking for succour. The byte has gone out of the BJP.

Read more here –


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Modi and His (Half-Baked) Militaristic Vision: India as a Major Arms Trader in the Global Market

India needs to export arms, equip smaller nations’

Written by Manu Pubby | On Board Ins Vikramaditya | June 15, 2014 2:05 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Source: PTI)Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Source: PTI)


Narendra Modi, on his first outing from the capital since he took charge, underlined that Indian arms and ammunition should be exported across the world.

Braving the wind and rain that lashed aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya as it sailed off Goa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his first outing from the capital since he took charge, underlined Saturday that Indian arms and ammunition should be exported across the world and used by smaller nations to protect themselves.

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As he stood on the most expensive platform ever imported by India, Modi spelt out his vision of the nation as a net exporter of weapons, making it clear that his government would promote self-reliance in arms. He said technology was available and the goal of indigenization of defence platforms should not stop with just meeting the demands of the armed forces.

Landing on the carrier on board a Sea King helicopter from the Hansa naval base in Goa, Modi proceeded to a battle-ready MiG-29K fighter parked on the fight deck. He climbed into the cockpit and interacted with pilots before going to the bridge deck to witness combat demonstrations by warships and aircraft of the western fleet.

Discussing the capability of the carrier and the fleet during the three-hour display, he made his first statement on national security while addressing over 1,600 sailors and officers on board. He said India would engage with all nations as an equal and never be intimidated: “Hum kisiko na aankh dikhaayenge, na aankh jhukaayenge, duniya se aankh milaa ke baat karenge.”

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Time to take a joke, Mr Chupendra Modi

Narendra Modi

Ruchir Joshi | Jun 15, 2014, 05.13 AM IST

While growing up most of us are put through two critically important and almost contradictory learning programmes. Programme A is called ‘When (and how) to keep quiet’, while Programme B is called ‘When (and how) to speak up’. Keeping quiet is often learnt the hard way: coming out of your ‘innocent small kid who can say anything’ phase you catch the daant, either verbal or a cuff on the head, when you cross some invisible line into being impolite or improper; or, you learn to bite your lip in school, when you realize that the more you speak the more some teacher’s irritation will increase; or you learn to be ‘diplomatic’ when dealing with quarrelling friends. In all cases, brakes and filters get installed in your mental circuits, social transactional software which tells you when to shut up and when to tweak the tone or content of whatever is about to come out of your mouth.

If you’re any sort of an average Indian, you will have had a moment, or a series of them in close sequence, when you’ve realized ki okay, I’m an adult now and can (and should) speak up against the family’s wishes, whether it’s about the choice of a wedding sari or brand of new TV or something far more important. Nevertheless, the iron filings of hierarchy and propriety are deeply embedded and the moment we join some adult structure such as a service, job or business the magnet of you-can’t-say-that re-doubles its pull and we tend to get dragged along. Non-desis could be forgiven for thinking we are weirdly hard-wired for obedience: as individual products of this society we are trained to respect and comply with authority figures even though as a people we are socialized to disregard abstract rules and principles.

In the analysis of the recently concluded elections a lot has been made of the fact that many youngsters have broken away from their social group instructions to vote for the person or party they wanted. In that sense, even if it’s a hyperexaggeration to claim that ‘India has spoken’, it’s undeniable that young voters have certainly ‘spoken up’; they’ve risked being rude to their elders, broken ranks with their caste, religious or even ethnic formations and done the electoral equivalent of a chhotey muh badi baat, big talk out of a modest mouth.

Now, we can respond to this ‘speaking up’ in one of two fundamentally opposite ways. One is to treat the new government and its top leadership like a fragile vessel of fine china that must be kept surrounded by cotton-wool and bubble-padding. We can run a tight media bodyguard-cum-escort around the new government, where outriders and self-appointed special protection groups anticipate, scan for, hunt down and stifle anything that might be remotely ‘offensive’ to Narendra Modi’s team, or to his party and its wider network of sympathizers. Certainly the case in Kerala where the authorities have chosen to file criminal charges against a college magazine for lampooning Modi is a good example of this kind of thinking. It’s an attitude that has recent antecedents in the Mamata Banerjee photo-cartoon scandal and the case filed against the two young women in Maharashtra after the death of Bal Thackeray. This approach says two things to the world: one, that our supposedly ruggedly tough leaders actually have very thin skins and are easily offended, and two, that the authorities are willing to go to absurd illegal lengths to mollify politicians’ sensitive egos.

The opposite choice we have is to celebrate the brave, brash new dispensation that has come about via a combative political campaign. People have compared Modi to everyone from Milosevic to Erdogan and worse; it has made little difference to the outcome of these elections; let people continue to say what they will, let them make the comparisons, the Modi government’s riposte should only come through the delivery of widespread development and justice.

Modi has come to power through speaking a tough language; in his speeches he had some sharply coined names for his opponents, notably ‘Maun Mohan Singh’ for the previous PM; so why should we now object to people commenting on the new PM’s silence on the rapes in Badaun or the communal murder in Pune by publicly dubbing him Mumendra Modi or Chupendra Modi or, indeed, calling the home minister Khamoshnath Singh?
Surely, after having successfully asked the electorate to show a healthy disrespect for the entrenched old rulers, the new government should welcome the continuation of the same disrespect and skepticism as it strives to make our democracy more robust?
Mr Modi’s victory has come partly because people chose to be outspoken at the ballot box rather than submit to old timidities. Now is not the time for the government and its janissaries to re-impose the old joint-families of silence.
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Is Intelligence Bureau targetting NGOs that could oppose Narendra Modi?

Saturday, 14 June 2014 – 2:35pm IST | Agency: DNA
  •  Image for representational purposes only. RNA Research & Archives

India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seem to have one thing in common: both have high regard for Modi.

Modi, as chief minister of Gujarat in 2006, had lashed out at the ‘wealthy’ and ‘influential’ class of NGOs that ‘hire PR firms to continually build their image’ with ‘money coming from abroad’. The Indian Express has reported that the IB report has not only echoed his sentiments but copied a few sections as well.Modi had said this at a book release of ‘NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry’, which is a collection of articles on the so-called anti-Hindu agenda and corrupt practices of certain NGOs. The report has blatantly lifted a paragraph from the book: “Another conspiracy — a vicious cycle is set up. Funds are obtained from abroad; an NGO is set up; a few articles are commissioned; a PR firm is recruited and, slowly, with the help of the media, an image is created. And then awards are procured from foreign countries to enhance this image. Such a vicious cycle, a network of finance-activity-award is set up and, once they have secured an award, no one in Hindustan dares raise a finger, no matter how many the failings of the awardee.”

During the tempestuous election campaign, Modi had called the CBI ‘Congress Bureau of Investigation’. What should be the IB called then, Mr Modi?

However, the larger issue here is the palpable attempt of the new government to alarm the NGOs, which can be an impediment to corporates. The report alleges that Greenpeace has mounted “massive efforts to take down India’s coal-fired power plants and coal mining activity”. The report also accuses that opposition to several development projects in the country by a significant number of NGOs can hamper the economic growth by 2-3%. In fact, Greenpeace has been opposing the project to ensure the preservation forests, which the corporates want to wipe out to access the coal beneath. As far as the economic growth is concerned, Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace’s senior campaigner, told Hindustan Times, “In 2013-14, Greenpeace received Rs 20 crore. More than 60% of our funds came from Indian supporters. Foreign contribution constitutes 37% of our funds. You can do the math – that is approximately Rs 7 crore. If India’s growth can be impacted by that – it’s laughable considering the massive outlay of corporations and foreign lobbies.”

It was speculated that the lavish election campaign undertaken by the BJP and Modi was funded by corporates. Moreover, his proximity to certain bigwigs has been evident. And in this context, when those bigwigs make profits in share market after Modi’s victory, it ought to raise a few eyebrows. By trying to muzzle the NGOs, it seems like a plan to ensure that no ‘lucrative’ projects are stalled in the future because of protests from the social sector.

Modi had categorically mentioned that the new regime will be the one for the poor, but here the walk seems completely different from the talk. The aim of preservation of the environment, about which the corporate sector could not care less, is being mocked at. One can only hope that the Modi sarkar, in its pursuit of coaxing the corporates, does not cause destruction so grave that we end up looking at the disastrous UPA-II with fond nostalgia.

This is not to suggest that all NGOs are as clean as a whistle. There are a few with hidden agendas and vested interests, and those should be scrutinized and investigated. But who will investigate the integrity of the NGOs? Surely cannot be the IB after this ‘copy-paste’ job. And what are the criteria to determine if the NGOs are clean or not? Foreign funding? Does an NGO become corrupt if it receives money from abroad?

Even Baba Amte received donations from overseas. So does Prakash Amte and Abhay Bang. Does that make them corrupt? Would it be fair if merely the nationality of the donor, not the character, ended up digging the grave of the NGO? And would it be alright to receive funds from Indians involved in murky deals? If Modi has a problem with funds being imported from outside, perhaps it is time to remind him that Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel’s daughter runs a non-profit organisation registered in the US.

Therefore, citing foreign funds and economic growth is just a façade. The aim seems to shun NGOs which could go against Modi’s projects. He has done that in Gujarat with Teesta Setalvad and Medha Patkar. Teesta was enmeshed with false cases against her, and Patkar was attacked more than once during her Narmada Bachao Andolan. Both were made to feel like a cat in a bunch of hounds. Now the scale has been widened by implementing it across India.

On April 19, Aakar Patel had written that Modi’s critics should expect no mercy once he assumes power. “Like all tyrants, Modi has a fundamentally primitive view of criticism. Those who oppose him, write against what he says and does, are enemies and he must fix them before they harm him. They should watch out”, he had written.

It seems NGOs were on top of that list.

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Counter to the spirit of counter-insurgency- Repeal #AFSPA



It is time India considers a repeal of AFSPA not merely out of a concern for human rights but also out of a desire to refocus its internal security regime. Such a law is inconsistent with the structure and spirit of our democracy and brings down India’s image at the global high table

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is bound to be receiving countless suggestions on how to strengthen India. These could range from “select inputs” to detailed wish lists on subjects as diverse as the economy to electoral reforms, homeland security to agriculture, education to health, and foreign policy to space policy, ensuring that by now his plate is full. But the most interesting request Mr. Modi has perhaps received so far is from an unassuming Manipuri, Irom Chanu Sharmila, who has been on hunger strike for 14 years. Ms. Sharmila has asked Mr. Modi to repeal the controversial (and draconian for the human rights community) Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, better known by its acronym, AFSPA. She has promised to break her long fast if Mr. Modi assures her that AFSPA will be repealed.


AFSPA confers special powers on the armed forces to respond at will in “disturbed areas” in order to maintain law and order. In a “disturbed area,” a military officer can fire upon an unlawful assembly of five or more people if the need arises or even for illegal possession of fire arms. The military is free to use force, even causing death to those suspected of possible violence. No arrest and search warrants are required for any operation as in the provisions of the law. Under the blanket powers it confers on soldiers, there is always the fear of its misuse. The law is presently in force in whole or in parts of the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

Politics over repealIn 1990, an amendment Bill was passed to include the State of Jammu and Kashmir under its purview. Manipur, however, withdrew the Act from some parts of the State after a huge agitation, but Ms. Sharmila would not withdraw her hunger strike unless the law itself is repealed. She started her hunger strike on November 2, 2000, after indiscriminate shooting by security forces left several locals dead in her locality. She has been forced fed all through, but her condition has deteriorated over the years.

After the fierce agitation in Manipur against AFSPA in 2004, the Central government appointed a five-member committee under the former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy, to review the Act and whether it needed to be toned down or repealed completely and replaced by a more humane legislation. On June 6, 2005, the committee recommended in its 147-page report the repealing of the Act unanimously. Interestingly, one of the five members of the Commission was a former Director-General (Military Operations) of the Indian Army, Lt-Gen. (retd.) V.R. Raghavan. Another member was former Home Ministry bureaucrat P.P. Srivastava.

Now why would such hard-core members of the security establishment advocate a repeal of AFSPA? This is a question that has rarely been asked. In fact, many a military officer with long years of experience in counter-insurgency in the Northeast and Kashmir, has argued after retirement that it should be repealed as it serves no purpose. But the serving military establishment has fiercely stalled AFSPA’s repeal, as viciously as it would fight a war against an enemy. Senior officers even launched a Facebook campaign to “save AFSPA.” The Defence Ministry has been pressured by the Army top brass; the United Progressive Alliance government did not dare place the Jeevan Reddy Commission’s report for discussion in Parliament, let alone adopt its recommendations.

Inducing a disconnectBut it is time India seriously considers a repeal of AFSPA — not merely out of a concern for human rights but also out of a desire to improve and refocus India’s internal security regime. A draconian law like AFSPA is inconsistent with the structure and spirit of our democracy and brings down India’s image at the global high table at a time when it is looking to be a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. It also encourages lazy, inefficient soldiering in counter-insurgency situations and actually proves to be counterproductive because it makes the security forces look like occupation armies and not people-friendly, which is what is required in counter-insurgency. One has to remember that counter-insurgency, which is an operation directed against one’s own citizens, is not against a foreign enemy. So, the primary focus of a counter-insurgency operation should be WHAM (winning hearts and minds), and not liquidation or elimination. AFSPA lets troops get away with murder and its frequent use encourages a culture of impunity which is counterproductive to WHAM; it actually increases the disconnect between the forces and the local population.

Compromising professionalismWith AFSPA around, military or paramilitary units do not feel the need for restraint or fire control (leading to incidents like the one at Malom which led Irom Sharmila to start her hunger strike). That leads to a sharp drop in professionalism and actually dehumanises and corrupts the Army and paramilitary forces.

An extreme case of such misuse and impunity has recently come to light after a case was filed by a Manipuri man who told the court that his brother and two others were kidnapped and killed by personnel of the Corps of Intensive Surveillance (CIS) unit deployed with the 3rd Army Corps in Rangapahar (Nagaland). He claims that a major had complained against some officers of the CIS unit to Army headquarters, alleging that they had murdered the three Manipuris behind an officer’s mess in Rangapahar. This rogue unit commanded by an otherwise highly decorated colonel had been earlier implicated by the Assam police in a case of robbery and extortion at the house of a surrendered rebel turned military contractor. In fact, former Army chief (and now Minister for Development of North Eastern Region) General (retd.) V.K. Singh had pulled up Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag for “failure to maintain command and discipline” during these CIS operations. Lt. Gen. Suhag, then commander of the 3rd Army Corps and now the Army chief-designate, was spared prosecution by the court on the grounds that he was not directly involved in the murder of the three Manipuris.

The extent to which AFSPA has encouraged a culture of impunity and a compromise of professionalism can be gauged from cases such as that of Colonel H.S. Kohli (the “Ketchup Colonel”) who asked civilians to feign death, smeared them with tomato ketchup and claimed kills in an operation — all to score brownie points. It was later found that he had done all this in full knowledge (if not under explicit orders) of his immediate superior, Brigadier Suresh Rao of the 73rd Mountain Brigade. And these mountain brigades are supposed to be our key units in the order of battle against China.

If one were to lay emphasis on the primacy of WHAM in counter-insurgency, success in it should be judged not by body count in encounters or “area domination” but by how many rebels/militant groups have been compelled by an intelligent mix of persuasion, force, secret contact and psychological operations to abandon the path of armed struggle and return to normal life. AFSPA provides for lazy, non-professional soldiering, characterised by an absolute lack of focus and a conspicuous lack of a consistent doctrine of counter-insurgency. Operational action is rarely linked to clearly defined objectives — more kills rather than more surrenders from guerrilla ranks are likely to fetch better decorations and rewards, encouraging gung-ho commanders who can never gain the confidence of the people in areas of operation.

The former Manipur Governor, Lt.Gen. V.K. Nayar, made this point rather strongly in an article in theIndian Defence Review in October 1992. In fact, in his book, A Soldier Recalls, Srinivas Kumar Sinha points out that until the late 1960s, the Indian Army did not even have training manuals for counter-insurgency. Even now, many military institutions like the Counter-Insurgency & Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) do not have appropriate campaign studies for units to be deployed for “internal security duties” in a counter-insurgency environment. In his Fighting Like a Guerilla, Rajesh Rajagopalan has aptly pointed out that the “conventional war bias” of the Indian Army explains its failure in counter-insurgency like in the Jaffna peninsula during the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operations in the late 1980s. Therefore, the argument made by the military top brass that its units will be “crippled” in counter-insurgency situations without AFSPA is untenable. Long use of AFSPA has not helped end insurgencies; political settlements have. The reason for the failure of Indian military units to effectively root out insurgent groups in Kashmir or the Northeast stems from its failure to evolve an appropriate doctrine for counter-insurgency even after fighting insurgents for 60 years. This not only reveals the “learning failures” of an unimaginative military leadership but actually ends up alienating populations. It is time the new government realises the dangers of unleashing a force with a redeeming conventional war bias on its own people.

Army and internal securityIn an article last year, the former GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, Lt. Gen. H.S. Panag, made this point rather tellingly on the situation in Kashmir. He wrote, “The large presence of the Indian army in the hinterland is not only unwarranted militarily, it is leading to complacency and resultant casualties. Given the current situation, a change in military strategy with a focus on counter-infiltration, a reduced but adequate deployment grid to act as a reserve and imaginative, selective and gradual lifting of the AFSPA will not only facilitate political strategy but also make the CI [Counter-Insurgency] campaign more efficient.”

Repeal of AFSPA should be seen as the first step in an effort to create a smarter and more effective counter-insurgency capability that draws more on information technology, psychological operations, political persuasion and conflict resolution rather than on overkill and mindless indiscretion. The government will have to evolve a counter-insurgency doctrine which will not only seek to keep the Army out of the “internal security” matrix to the extent possible and deploy other specifically trained and highly skilled forces that observe the principle of “minimum force,” but also not insist on an AFSPA-type legislation as a prerequisite for their deployment and demonstrate a respect for human rights and accountability in keeping with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

(Subir Bhaumik, a former BBC Correspondent, is the author of Insurgent Crossfire and Troubled Periphery.)

Keywords: Arm

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नरेन्द्र मोदी का कुशासन


Narendra Modiसुनील कुमार

नरेन्द्र मोदी 13 साल गुजरात के मुख्यमंत्री रहने के बाद आज प्रधानमंत्री के पद पर आसीन हो चुके हैं। इस पद पर आसीन होने के लिए उनकी कट्टर हिन्दुत्वा सोच ने मदद की। इसी सोच के कारण राष्ट्रीय स्वयं सेवक संघ (आर एस एस) ने अपना एजेंडा लागू करने के लिए सबसे उपयुक्त व्यक्तिनरेन्द्र मोदी को माना और उनके नाम पर प्रधानमंत्री पद के लिए मुहर लगा दी।

नरेन्द्र मोदी को कट्टर हिन्दुत्व का तमगा गुजरात दंगो से मिला। उसके बाद सोहराबुद्दीन, इशरत जहां फर्जी एनकाउंटर, अक्षरधाम पर हमले, हिरेन पांड्या केस हुआ जिसमें कि बेकसूर मुसलमानों को फंसाया गया। इन तेरह सालों में मोदी सीढ़ियां चढ़ते हुए प्रधानमंत्री बन गये। सीढ़ियां चढ़ने के लिएएक विशेष समुदाय के लोगों की कुर्बानियां ली गयीं, उनके घर-परिवार बर्बाद कर दिये गये।

मोदी के नेतृत्व में जिस दिन (16 मई) बीजेपी को पहली बार पूर्ण बहुमत मिल रहा था उसी दिन भारत के ‘सर्वोच्च न्यायालय’ (सुप्रीम कोर्ट) ने अक्षरधाम केस में फैसला सुनाया और सभी 6 अभियुक्तों को बरी कर दिया। सुप्रीम कोर्ट के इस फैसले ने मोदी के सुशासन की पोल खोल दी। मोदी केमुख्यमंत्री व गृहमंत्री रहते हुए इन 6 लोगों को इस अक्षरधाम के फर्जी केस में फंसाया गया था। सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने अपने फैसले में कहा कि पोटा की सुनवाई करते वक्त यह ध्यान में रखा जाना चाहिए कि इस कानून में मानवाधिकारों के उल्लंघन और पुलिस को दी गई ताकत का बेजा इस्तेमाल कियागया। आगे सुप्रीम कोर्ट कहता है कि गृहमंत्री ने विवेक से काम नहीं किया और बिना सोचे समझे अभियुक्तों पर पोटा के तहत मुकदमा चलाए जाने की इजाजत दी थी जो कि गलत है। दुर्भाग्य है कि 11 सालों तक छह परिवारों को इतना बड़ा कष्ट सहना पड़ा, घर बर्बाद हो गये, बच्चों की पढ़ाई खत्म होगई लेकिन वह मीडिया के लिए खबर नहीं बन पाया। मीडिया मोदी की सुशासन और संसेक्स की उछाल बताने में लगी हुई थी उसे मोदी के कुशासन के सबूत दिखाई नहीं दे रहे थे।

यही कारण है कि समाज के एक तबके में मोदी कीे छवि क्रूर शासक जैसी है। मीडिया द्वारा इस छवि को बदलने की भी कोशिश की जा रही है। जब वह संसद भवन के सेंट्रल हॉल में भावुक हुए तो वह मीडिया के लिए पहला समाचार बना, सभी न्यूज पेपर के पहले पन्ने पर इस तस्वीर को छापा गया।इसी तरह गुजरात विधान सभा से विदाई का समय हो या मां से मिलने का समय इन तस्वीरों को प्रमुखता से दिखाकर यह एहसास कराया जाता है कि मोदी के पास भी दिल है वह भी भावुक होते हैं वह कट्टर नहीं है।

गांधी नगर अक्षरधाम मंदिर पर 24 सितम्बर, 2002 को ‘हमला’ हुआ था जिसमें 34 लोगों की मौत हो गई थी। उस समय उप पुलिस अधीक्षक गिरीश सिंघल थे जिन्होंने अक्षरधाम मंदिर के ‘हमलावरांे’ को मारकर सुर्खियां बटोरी थीं। अक्षरधाम ‘हमले’ के एक साल बाद तक कोई गिरफ्तारी नहीं हुईतो इसकी जांच की कमान सिंघल को सौपी गई। सिंघल ने 24 घंटे के अन्दर ही 6 लोगों को गिरफ्तार करके मामले सुलझाने का दावा किया। सिंघल के जुटाये हुए साक्ष्य के आधार पर 6 लोगों को गुजरात की अदालत ने सजा (3 को मृत्यु दंड, 1 को आजीवन कारवास, 2 को 10 साल की सजा, 1 को पांचकी सजा) भी सुना दी। अक्षरधाम ‘हमलावरों’ के पास से एक पत्र मिला था जिस पर कोई दाग-धब्बा नहीं था जब कि मारे गये ‘हमलावरों’ की लाशें खून और मिट्टी में सनी हुयी थीं। इस तरह के साक्ष्य जुटाये थे सिंघल जी ने! सिंघल वही पुलिस ऑफिसर हैं जिसको सीबीआई ने इशरत जहां फर्जी मुठभेड़में गिरफ्तार किया था लेकिन 90 दिन में चार्जशीट प्रस्तुत नहीं कर पाने के कारण जमानत मिल गई और अभी 28 मई को गुजरात सरकार ने उनको राज्य रिजर्व पुलिस में समूह कमांडेट के पद पर बहाल किया है। (सोहराबुद्दीन फर्जी मुठभेड़ मामले के आरोपी आईपीएस अफसर दिनेश एम.एन. कोवसुंधरा सरकार ने बहाल कर दिया है)।

सुप्रीम कोर्ट से बरी हुये लोगों की कहानी

अब्दूल कयूम दरियापुर इलाके के मस्जिद में मुफ्ती थे।

उनके ऊपर ‘फिदायीन को चिट्ठी लिखकर देने और 2002 दंगों का बदला लेने के लिए अहमदाबाद में फिदायीन को शरण देने व हैदाराबाद के कुछ लोगों के साथ मिलकर हमले के लिए जगह तलाशने का आरोप लगाया गया था। गुजरात कीअदालत ने इस आरोप को सही मानते हुए उन्हें मौत की सजा सुनाई थी। कयूम कहते हैं कि ‘‘17 अगस्त, 2003 को हमें क्राइम ब्रांच ले जाया गया और हरेन पांड्या और अक्षरधाम मंदिर हमले के बारे में बताया गया। हमें गुनाह कबूल करने के लिए करंट लगाया गया, बेड़ि़यों से बांधकर डंडो से पिटाईकी गई। हमें गुनाह कबूल करने से इनकार करने पर जब तक मारा जाता रहा जब तक कि हम बेहोश नहीं हो जाते, होश मंे आने पर दुबारा वही प्रक्रिया अपनाई जाती थी। एक दिन, रात में हमें कोतरपुर (इश्रत जहां और उसके तीन दोस्तों को फर्जी मुठभेड़ में मारा गया था) ले जाया गया और मेरेआस-पास पांच गोलियां चलाई गई। मुझे लगा कि अगर मैं ‘गुनाह’ नहीं कबूला तो एनकाउंटर कर दिया जायेगा।’’ कयूम कहते हैं कि ‘‘हमने 11 साल जेल में गुजारे, परिवार बर्बाद हो गया। मुझे फांसी की सजा हुई तो अखबारों ने बड़े-बड़े फोटो छापे लेकिन जब हम रिहा हुए तो इसकी खबर कुछअखबारों और चैनलों ने ही दिखायी।’’ कयूम की मुलाकात जेल में कभी-कभी पुलिस अफसर सिंघल (इशरत जहां फर्जी मुठभेड़ में सीबी आई ने गिरफ्तार किया था) से हो जाया करती थी तो एक बार मैंने सिंघल से पूछा कि ‘‘तुमने मेरे साथ ऐसा क्यों किया?  सिंघल के पास कोई जवाब नहीं था।’’ कयूमअपनी गिरफ्तारी से दो दिन पहले 15 अगस्त 2003 को मस्जिद में तकरीर दी थी कि ‘‘आजाद भारत में मुसलमानों का उतना ही हक है, जितना किसी और का।’’ कयूम के पिता का इंतकाल हो चुका है और अब उनका परिवार उस घर में भी नहीं रहता जिसमें वो 11 साल पहले रहा करते थे।

मोहम्मद सलीम के ऊपर आरोप था कि वह सऊदी अरब में भारतीय मुसलमानों को इकट्ठा करके 2002 गोधरा दंगे और अन्य भारत विरोधी वीडियो दिखाते थे। पैसा इकट्ठा कर अक्षरधाम हमले के लिए फाइनेंस किया था। सलीम को आजीवन करावास की सजा सुनाई गई थी। सलीम की मां मुमताजबानो को सलीम की गिरफ्तारी के बाद हार्ट अटैक हुआ और लकवा मार दिया। अखबार में सलीम के नाम के साथ आतंकवादी शब्द देखते ही वह पूरे दिन रोती रहती हैं। पहले वह अपने बेटे सलीम की प्रशंसा करती थकती नहीं थीं। सलीम ने सऊदी अरब जाकर दर्जी का काम करके पैसा कमाया औरअपनी दो बहनों की शादी की, अहमदाबाद में मकान खरीदा, अपने बच्चे जुबैद को इंग्लिश मीडियम में दाखिला दिलाया। सलीम छुटियां खत्म कर सऊदी अरब वापस जाने की तैयारियां कर रहे थे। मां ने खीर बनाई थी तभी घर के दरवाजे पर किसी की दस्तक हुई और वो सलीम को बुलाकर ले गयाउसके 11 साल बाद सलीम अपने परिवार के पास वापस लौटा है। सलीम कहते हैं कि ‘‘मुझे क्राइम ब्रांच ले जाने के बाद पुलिस ने मुझसे पूछा कि मैं सऊदी अरब में क्या करता हूं, मेरे दोस्त कौन-कौन हैं? मुझे पहले बताया गया कि यह जांच मेरे पासपोर्ट में गड़बड़ी की वजह से हो रहा है फिर मुझेमारना शुरू किया गया, मुझे इल्म नहीं था कि मुझे क्यों मारा जा रहा है। अगर मेरा नाम सुरेश, रमेश या महेश होता तो मेरे साथ यह कभी नहीं होता। हमें 29 दिन तक अवैध हिरासत में रखा गया। क्राइम ब्रांच में 400-500 डंडे मेरे तलवे पर मारते थे मेरी पांव की उंगली फ्रैक्चर हो गयीं। आज भी मेरेपांव कांपते हैं पैरों में जलन होती है, मेरे कूल्हे पर आज भी 11 साल पुरानी मार के निशान मौजूद हैं। एक सीनियर अफसर ने मुझे बुलाया और पूछा कि सलीम, कौन से केस में जेल जाएगा? हरेन पंड्या, अक्षरधाम या 2002 के दंगे में। मुझे इन तीनों के बारे में कुछ ज्यादा पता नहीं था, मैं  1990 सेसऊदी अरब में था और जब घर आता तब इनके बारे में कभी बात होती। मेरे पास मार खाने की बिल्कुल ताकत नहीं बची थी और मैं जैसा वह कहते वैसा करता था।’’ भविष्य के बारे में सलीम बताते हैं कि ‘‘मेरा मकान बिक गया, छोटे भाई को परिवार चलाने के लिए अपनी पढ़ाई छोड़नी पड़ी, मेरे बच्चेअंग्रेजी स्कूल से उर्दू स्कूल में आ गए, अम्मी बिस्तर पर हैं। मेरे पास वक्त बहुत कम है कि मैं अपनी बिखरी हुई जिंदगी समेट सकूं। अहमदाबाद में अब एक छोटी सी दुकान किराये पर लेकर वापस सिलाई का काम शुैरू करूंगा, दुनिया बहुत आगे बढ़ गई है, मैं और मेरे बच्चे बहुत पीछे रह गए।’’गिरफ्तारी की बात पर बताते हैं कि ‘‘2002 दंगों के बाद एक रिलीफ कैंप में अनाज और पानी की मदद करने के लिए 13,000 रुपए ज़कात (दान) के तौर पर दिए थे शायद उसी से मैं पुलिस के नजर में आ गया।’’

अब्दुल मियां कादरी दरियापुर इलाके की एक मस्जिद में मौलाना हैं, उन पर आरोप था कि वह कय्यूम भाई की चिट्ठी ‘फिदायनों’ तक पहुंचाई थी। इस अपराध में गुजरात की अदालत ने उन्हें 10 साल की सजा सुनाई थी।   अब्दुल ंिमयां बताते हैं कि ‘‘कोर्ट में पेश करने से 13 दिन पहले 17 अगस्त, 2013 की उनकी गिरफ्तारी हुई थी। हमें पकड़ने  के बाद एक कमरे में बिठाया गया कुछ देर बाद एक अधिकारी मुझसे इधर-उधर की बात करने लगा। मुझे लगा कि वह शायद मुझसे कोई जानकारी चाहते हैं। अधिकारी ने मुझसे पूछा अक्षरधाम हमले के बारे में क्या जानते हो? उस समय ऐसा लगामानो मेरे पांव के नीचे जमीन फट गई!’’ 29 अगस्त, 2003 को जुमे के दिन हमें मुंह पर काले कपड़े बांधकर पत्रकारों के बीच खड़ा कर दिया गया। वह मंजर देख कर मुझ पर कयामत टूट पड़ी, घर वालों पर इसके बाद क्या बीतेगी इस ख्याल से मेरे रोंगटे खड़े हो गए। अब्दुल मियां आगे कहते हैं कि‘‘हम वतन के वफादार आज भी हैं और हमेशा रहेंगे। हमें भारत के कानून पर यकीन था। हाईकोर्ट से इंसाफ नहीं मिला पर सुप्रीम कोर्ट से मिलेगा यह यकीन था। लेकिन मेरा हुकूमत पर से भरोसा उठ गया है क्योंकि यहां 100 में से 90 प्रतिशत मामलों में बेगुनाहों को अंदर कर दिया जाता है। जेल मेंमैं देख कर आया हूं कई मासूम आज भी जेल में कैद हैं। उन्हें तुरंत बाहर निकालना चाहिए। गलत केस में लोगों को अंदर कर देने से दहशतगर्दी बढ़ती है।’’ अब्दुल मियां पूछते हैं कि ‘‘11 साल बाद हम बेकसूर करार हो चुके हैं लेकिन हमारा गुज़रा वक्त कौन लौटा सकता है? मैंने आज तक अक्षरधाममंदिर नहीं देखा। अपने ऊपर बैठे लोगों को खुश करने या उनके आदेश से पुलिस वालों ने हमारी और हमारे घर वालों की जिन्दगी की खुशियां लूट लीं।’’

आदम भाई अजमेरी को गुजरात की अदालत ने फांसी की सजा सुनाई थी। आदम बताते हैं कि ‘‘8 अगस्त 2003 को रात के करीब डेढ़ बजे आदम अजमेरी अपने भाई के ऑटो गैराज के पास दोस्तों के साथ बातचीत कर रहे थे। चार लोग मारूति जेन में आये और आकर पूछे कि तुम में से आदम कौनहै? पहचान होते ही बोले कि तुम को बड़े साहब ने क्राइम ब्रांच बुलाया है। पुलिस से डर लगता है इसलिए थोड़ा घबराते हुए मैं उनके साथ चला गया। रात को ले जाकर मुझे एक अफसर के सामने बिठा दिया गया। अफसर ने पूछा क्या तुम मुझे जानते हो? मैंने कहा नहीं। अफसर बोला की मेरा नाम डीजीवंजारा है। वंजारा ने पूछा कि तुम हरेन पंड्या के बारे में क्या जानते हो? मैंने कहा कि उनके कत्ल के बारे में अखबार में पढ़ा है। वंजारा ने दुबारा पूछा कि तुम टिफिन बम ब्लास्ट के बारे में क्या जानते हो? मैंने कहा कुछ नहीं। अगला प्रश्न था कि अक्षरधाम मंदिर हमले से तुम्हारा क्या ताल्लुक है? मैंनेकहा कुछ नहीं। मेरे यह कहते ही वंजारा ने कहा कि डंडा पार्टी को बुलाओ। वह 20 दिन तक मुझे दिन-रात पीटते जब तक मैं बेहोश न हो जाऊं। मुझे कोर्ट में हाजिर करने से पहले धमकाया गया कि मैंने अगर कोर्ट में मंुह खोला या वकील करने की कोशिश की तो परिवार को मार देेंगे। मुझे कहा गयाजहां कहा जाए हस्ताक्षर कर देना। मेरी बीबी और बच्चों को सीसीटीवी कैमरे में क्राइम ब्रांच में बैठे हुए दिखाया गया।’’ उनकी बेटी शबाना आदम अजमेरी दरियापुर के म्युनिसिपल स्कूल में छठी क्लास की छात्रा है। शबाना का सपना है वकील बनने का। वह अपने मां से कहती हैं कि ‘‘मैं वकील बन करआप लोगों को बचाऊंगी’’। आदम अब दस बाई दस के कमरे में अपने बीबी और बच्चों के साथ रह रहे हैं। वह अभी भी नाम बताने से पहले अपना कैदी नम्बर बोल जाते हैं। वह कहते हैं कि ‘‘अखबारों में बड़े-बड़े फोटो छपे थे मेरे, जिससे बच्चों का घर से बाहर निकलना बंद हो गया और उनके स्कूल छूटगये। मैं अपने बच्चों से कहता हूं कि मैं नहीं पढ़ पाया क्योंकि हमारे अब्बू के पास पैसे नहीं थे और यह अब अपने बच्चों से बतायेंगे कि हम नहीं पढ़ पाए क्योंकि इनके अब्बू आतंकवाद के झूठे केस में जेल में थे।’’ वह कहते हैं कि जब उनको क्राइम ब्रांच में अवैध रूप से रखा गया था उस समय और 100-150 लोग अलग-अलग कमरों में बंद थे। अजमेरी बताते हैं कि 1998 के चुनाव में मैंने अपने इलाके में बैलेट पेपर की धांधली होते देखी तो रिटर्निंग अफसर से शिकायत की और कोर्ट में एप्लीकेशन भी लगाई, लेकिन उस मामले में कुछ नहीं हुआ। शायद तब से ही मैं पुलिस की नजर में था।

अजमेरी, अब्दूल कयूम, सलीम व अब्दुल मियां कादरी के बयानों से लगता है कि आप अपने हक की बात करते हैं, किसी की सहायता करते हैं या किसी गलत काम का विरोध करते हैं तो आप सरकार की नजर में देशद्रोही हैं। आप पर वह सभी अत्याचार किये जायेंगे जो इनके साथ किया गया है। इनलोगों को जिस तरह से पकड़ कर झूठे केसों में फंसाया गया उससे तो यह लगता है कि अक्षरधाम मंदिर, टिफिन बम हो या हरेन पांड्या केस इनके असली गुनाहगारों को छिपाया गया है गलत लोगों को फंसा कर। जिस तरह से कोर्ट ने गुजरात के गृहमंत्री से लेकर सी.जे.एम. तक पर सवाल उठाये हैंउससे लगता है कि शासन-प्रशासन से न्यायपालिका तक एक समुदाय व एक वर्ग के खिलाफ काम करता है। क्या इन बेकसूरों की 11 साल की जिन्दगी कोई लौटा सकता है? उनको इस स्थिति तक पहुंचाने वाले गुनाहगारों को सजा हो सकती है?


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Press Release – Protest letter on Bhagana and Badaun by activists in London


Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
4th June 2014
Dear Prime Minister
We the undersigned women’s organizations, South Asian community organizations and Dalit and anti-caste discrimination organizations in Britain are writing to you to express our acute concern about the ongoing horrific attacks on Dalit and oppressed caste women and children across India, including most recently, the appalling gang-rape and lynching of two girls aged 14 and 15 in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday 28thMay. Only two months earlier, four teenage Dalit girls aged 13-18 were raped by ‘higher caste’ landowners in Bhagana in Haryana, and the survivors are still fighting for the arrest of the rapists.
We note that:
·         These caste/gender atrocities are not confined to one state but have been occurring across the country – from Bathani Tola and Bathe in Bihar to Khairlanji and Khadra in Maharashtra.
·         These are taking place with the collusion of the police as recently highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. In many cases the police themselves are the perpetrators.
·         There has also been collusion by public prosecutors and the judiciary, which has led to acquittals of the guilty.
·         Public figures who have been responsible for rapes and murders of  minority, Dalit and Adivasi women have been rewarded and promoted – two of many examples are Muzaffarnagar-accused Sanjeev Baliyan, now made a central government Minister, and Police Superintendent Ankit Garg awarded for gallantry after supervising the rape and torture of Soni Sori.
We urge you therefore to ensure that
1.      In the Badaun case: The police involved in the rape-murders must be prosecuted: In the FIR lodged by the police, the culprit policemen have been charged only with abettment (120B) whereas they should be named as the accused and
Section 166A (which refers to police and other public servants refusing to do their duties) also should be invoked in the case. The government must take measures to guarantee the security of the families of the victims since police are among the accused
2.      In the Bhagana case: The eviction today from Jantar Mantar of the rape survivors and their families who have been forced to protest in Delhi for many weeks must be stopped. Their demands must immediately be met:  all those named by the survivors must be arrested; the Dalit community in Bhagana must be given land and guaranteed security as is their right; full compensation must be provided to the Bhagana rape survivors.
3.      In the cases of the Bathani Tola and Bathe massacres and mass rapes carried out by the Ranvir Sena in Bihar: all those convicted on the evidence of eyewitness survivors have been subsequently acquitted by the Patna High Court. These acquittals must be overturned. The Amir Das Commission investigating the Ranveer Sena which was hastily disbanded before it could make its findings public, must be reinstated.
4.      Sanjeev Baliyan who is a main accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots and mass rapes of Muslim women in U.P. (and has continued to break the law, taking out inflammatory victory processions against Prohibitory Orders) must be removed from his post as Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing in the central government immediately.
5.      The Atrocities Act which is specifically designed to address caste violence must be applied in all cases of caste/gender violence against SCs and STs.
Yours sincerely
Sarbjit Johal, FreedomWithout Fear Platform
Amrit Wilson, South Asia Solidarity Group
Santosh Dass, Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations (UK)
Ravi Kumar, Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance
Davinder Prasad, British Organisation of People of Asian Origin
Bholi Randhawa, Shri Guru Ravi Dass Mission International (Kanshi TV)
Desraj Bunger, Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha, UK, Europe and Abroad
Satpal Muman, CasteWatch UK
Faquir Chand Sahota, Central Valmik Sabha (UK)
Eugene Culas, Voice of Dalit International
Pastor Raj, Minority Christian International Federation
Baljit Banga, Newham Asian Women’s Project
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters
Sumanta Roy, Imkaan
Anjum Mouj, Rape Crisis England and Wales
Balvinder Saund, Sikh Women’s Alliance UK
Shahida Choudhury,Women’s Networking Hub

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