INDIA: Yet another human rights defender attacked in Odisha

4 April 2011
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from Badrama Abhyaranya Vikas Parisad and SPREAD, two human rights organisations working in Odisha state, India, concerning the attack upon the life of a human rights defender in Sambalpur district of the state. It is reported that the attack was premeditated and suspected to be carried out with the assistance of some officers working in the State Forest Department. The persons who attacked the victim in the case, Mr. Dusmant Pradhan a human rights defender working with the indigenous communities of the district, returned to the place of incident in a vehicle belonging to the forest department on the same day, looking for Dusmant since they could not murder him at the first instance. Despite having made complaints, the suspects have not been arrested or any form of protection provided to the injured human rights defender. Continue reading

INDIA: Caste-based discrimination and corruption pushing 83 families to death in Orissa

1 April 2011
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received the information that 83 Dalit families of Ranapada village have been deprived of their food security by non-Dalits from about 54 neighboring villages. It is reported that the reason for the aggressive discrimination against the Bauri families (Dalits) is because three women from Bauri community tried to enter the Hindu temple on August 28, 2010. The temple priest and non-Dalit villagers refused to allow the Dalit women to worship in the temple and even charged INR 50,000 as a penalty from the women. When the Dalits refused to pay the penalty, non-Dalit villagers who had leased their farmland to the Dalit families for sharecropping promptly took the land back. Furthermore, non-Dalit villagers from 54 villages collectively went to Dalit hamlet of Ranapada village and threatened to kill and assault the residents. The police have failed not only to take any affirmative actions in the case, but also were assaulted by non-Dalit villagers. The police have arrested only four of the accused, allowing other accused to freely threaten the victims. 83 Dalit families who depended on the farmland of the non-Dalit villagers have lost their only source for food and face hunger. Continue reading

India: Women’s social and economic conditions, struggles for land and women’s resistance

Armed with traditional weapons, adivasi (tribal) women march in Lalgarh, West Bengal

 

From International Campaign against the War on People in India  www.icawpi.org

Contemporary Anti-Displacement Struggles and Women’s Resistance

By Shoma Sen, Associate Professor, RTM Nagpur University

Women’s exclusion in the present model of development needs to be understood as inherent to a system that benefits from patriarchy. Seen as a reserve force of labour, women, excluded from economic activity are valued for their unrecognized role in social reproduction. The capitalist, patriarchal system that keeps the majority of women confined to domestic work and child rearing uses this as a way of keeping the wage rates low.

The limited participation of women in economic activity is also an extension of their traditional gender roles (nursing, teaching,or labour intensive jobs requiring patience and delicate skills) with wages based on gender discrimination. Largely part of the unorganized sector, deprived of the benefits of labour legislation, insecurity leads to sexual exploitation at the workplace. In the paradigm of globalization, these forms of exploitation, in export oriented industries, SEZs and service sector have greatly increased.

In spite of 63 years of so-called independence, women’s presence is negligible in political bodies and reservations for the same have been strongly resisted in a patriarchal political system. Though at the lower levels, reservations have made a limited entry possible, the success stories are more exceptions than the rule. Social institutions, thriving on feudal patriarchal notions are disapproving of women’s participation in production and laud her reproductive roles; violence against women at the familial and societal level is given social sanction and women are confined to a dependent life within the domestic space.

Therefore, women’s access to economic and political activity itself is a first step to their participation in decision making processes rather than the symbolic steps towards their “empowerment” that are seen in this system. Women’s resistance to this imperialist backed model of development, therefore, must be seen as their attempt to find space and voice in a system which has not only neglected their communities but even their gender within it. Continue reading

From Field to Fork: Obama’s agribusiness recipe for India

US corporate officials explain the "benefits" (to US agri companies) of American agricultural exports, seeds and technology to their Indian counterparts

By Rahul Goswami, Sanhati

November 20, 2010

The government of the USA has planned for India to become an important consumer of its agricultural exports and crop science. India has also been planned as a host country for an agricultural research agenda directed by American crop-seed biotech corporations.

This is to be achieved through a variety of programmes in India, some of which began their preparation two years ago. This agenda, labelled as US-India cooperation by India’s current UPA-2 government and by the USA’s current Barack Obama administration, has the support of the American farm sector, but not that of India’s farmers and cultivators. The clear and blunt objective is to increase US agricultural exports and to widen as quickly as possible the trade surplus of the US agricultural sector.

This agenda has become clear following the three business and industry meetings held during the visit of US President Barack Obama-’US-India Business and Entrepreneurship Summit’ in Mumbai on 6 November, ‘India-US: An Agenda for Co-Creation’ with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi on 8 November, and ‘US-India Conclave: Partnership for Innovation, Imperative for Growth and Employment in both Economies’ with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi on 9 November.

The US agri-business view has been projected in India by the US-India Business Council, a business advocacy group representing American companies investing in India together with Indian companies, with a shared aim to deepen trade and strengthen commercial ties. Continue reading

Delhi, India: Call for Week of National Action against Land Acquisition Act and Forced Displacement

Demonstration against proposed Tata Steel plant in the Kalinganagar industrial area. In 2006, Orissa police killed 12 adivasis protesting the beginning of construction of the Tata plant. Since then, they have stopped any further construction.

Sansad Gherao ! Delhi Chalo !

A Week of National Action (Sangharsh) Against Land Acquisition (Act) & Displacement For Right to Life & Livelihood

November 22 – 26, 2010, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

Dear Friends/Comrades,

Many of you participated in the National Consultation on the proposed Land Acquisition (Amendment) and Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill that was held on 23rd September 2010 at the Indian Social Institute in New Delhi. The consultation was attended by several peoples’ movements, mass organisations, Trade unions, advocacy groups and members from research and academic community.

The consultation was unanimous in its demand:

– for the repeal of the current colonial Land Acquisition Act and complete rejection of the proposed Land Acquisition (Amendment) and Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bills in their current form

– to enact a comprehensive National Development, No Enforced Displacement and Rehabilitation Bill instead of two separate legislations

– for a moratorium on all acquisitions until the process for a new comprehensive legislation is complete

– that a white paper on all the Land acquired since independence and its current status and the situation of the displaced be presented before the people of India Continue reading

India: Tribals rally against anti-Maoist operations in Orissa

CMAS marches in Narayanpatna, Orissa

DNA India, November 24, 2010

Tribals opposing ongoing anti-Maoist operation in Koraput district, where most wanted rebel Ramakrishna is suspected to be in hiding, staged a demonstration at Narayanpatna, about 70km from here, today.

The rally was organised by the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), which had recently forcibly grabbed money lenders’ lands and attacked a police station at Narayanpatna. The demonstrators also demanded immediate release of tribal men and women who were lodged in jail on charge of being rebels and attacking the police station.

About 100 tribals allegedly involved in the two counts are lodged in Koraput jail. Two of them have died in prison. The demonstrators submitted a memorandum addressed to chief minister Naveen Patnaik to local block development officer.

Meanwhile, the police have launched a manhunt for Ramakrishna, who is suspected to have taken shelter in Narayanpatna jungle along with his son Prithvi. The search operation has been stepped up since the arrest of Ramakrishna’s wife Padma on November 14 from an area near Koraput, bordering Andhra Pradesh.

 

Fact sheet on Operation Green Hunt–India’s massive military assault on the adivasis (tribal peoples)

 

Some of 200,000 paramilitary forces mobilized by the Indian government to attack the adivasis

Fact Sheet on Operation Green Hunt

By Campaign against War on People

The following document is a compilation of information gathered through news reports in the mainstream media, government reports, and reports of independent fact-finding teams. It aims to offer as objective and non-partisan a view of the situation in the affected states, as is possible.

The Status of the Current Offensive

  • The offensive will be spread over the next five years.
  • A special forces school, a special forces unit and an army brigade HQ will be set up near Bilaspur. The brigade HQ will participate in anti-Maoist ops in the future. The army is looking for 1,800 acres of land to set up the infrastructure.
  • The IAF is looking for 300 acres for its base
  • Home Ministry is sitting on a plan to redeploy the Rashtriya Rifles [from Kashmir to the Naxal affected areas]. RR and BSF unlike other paramilitary forces, have heavy weaponry like medium-range machine guns, mortars and rocket launchers.
  • For now, 27 battalions of the Border Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police will be moved into Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra.
  • The paramilitary forces will be supported by six Mi-17 IAF choppers.
  • The helicopters will have on board the IAF’s special force, the GARUDS, to secure the chopper and conduct combat search and rescue operations.
  • The offensive will be in seven phases. Each phase has been marked area-wise as Operating Areas (OAsOA-1) involves moving along a north-south axis from Kanker, Chhattisgarh, and on an east-west axis from Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and span the Abuj Marh forests used by the Maoists as a training centre and logistics base. (All points above from Outlook, 26 Oct 2009) Continue reading