S.O.S - eVoice For Justice - e-news weekly
Spreading the light of humanity & freedom
Editor: Nagaraj.M.R....... vol.5 . issue.14 .........04/04/2009
EDITORIAL :Bapuji's dandi march- the origin of civil dis-obedience movement
It is on this day in 12/03/1930, mahatma gandhi led
people to dandi in gujarath state,
Relevance Of Bhagat Singh In Modern
By Shobha Shukla
27 March, 2009 Countercurrents.org
The Kalam Vichar Manch ( thinkers’ association) recently organized a thought provoking seminar to commemorate the death anniversary of freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh, who was ‘hanged to death’ on 23 March 1931.
On this occasion, noted historian Dr. Irfan Habib spoke on the relevance of Bhagat Singh in the present times. It was a real treat to hear the renowned professor dwell on the various facets of the personality of the great revolutionary, in his characteristic style.
Bhagat Singh is indeed a unique character of Indian history. his life is what legends are made of. Several films have been made on him and his photo is still garlanded by various political parties (though sadly for their own dubious interests).
Although termed as a terrorist by the then British Empire, Bhagat Singh rightly wanted to be called a revolutionary and a soldier in the war against imperialism. He believed that his retaliation against oppression could not be termed as anarchy. His ideas reflect his deep understanding of the Indian milieu and his thought provoking writings make him a class apart from his contemporaries. Though he died at the young age of 24 years, he had a clear vision of an
Dr. Habib lauded the scientific temperament of Bhagat Singh, which is very relevant in today’s scenario. More than any other nationalist of his times, Bhagat Singh stressed the importance of being rational. He believed in ideological firmness and said, ‘Religion has no connection with the National Movement.’ Bold sentiments indeed, but very true. It is distressing to see that today Nationalism is being touted in the garb of religion and caste. This has resulted in fragmentation of society and in communal riots. Instead of insisting on religious instructions to our children, it would be better if we instruct them in the values of love and peaceful co existence.
Bhagat Singh also believed in a ‘realistic socialism’. He dreamt of social equality and prosperity. His vision of a Communist Society was very similar to that of Marx and Lenin--- a society where there were equal opportunities for all and a just distribution wealth according to one’s capabilities, and where even the lowliest could live comfortably. His brand of socialism was not a utopia, but a reality which could be brought about with non violent and peaceful methods. He knew that in this quest for socialism, one would have to make compromises at times, without losing sight of the main aim. In any such compromise, both parties gain some and lose some. But the onward, non violent march towards socialism should continue. Nothing worth while can be achieved by being a hardliner.
During his trial in the court, Bhagat Singh said that
It is time we paid just more than lip service to the dreams of Bhagat Singh. Their relevance in modern day
AN APPEAL TO HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF
INDIA: Police must act to ensure the safety of a human rights defender
Name of victim: Ms. Hasina Kharbhih, Team Leader, Impulse NGO Network, Ranee's Abode
Near Horse Shoe Building, Lower Lachumiere, Shillong--793001, Meghalaya state
1. Ms. Bethswa Dympep, accused in case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya
2. Mr. Steven Dympep, accused in case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya
Date of incident: Since June 2008
I am writing to express my concern about the case of Ms. Hasina Kharbhih, a human rights defender in Meghalaya. I am aware that Kharbhih is the team leader of Impulse NGO Network, a local human rights organisation based in Shillong, working against human trafficking. Kharbhih is also the complainant in case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya.
I am informed that Kharbhih and the Impulse NGO Network has been investigating cases of human trafficking in Meghalaya and that the investigation has exposed the possible links of some fake recruitment agencies operating in Meghalaya and drug and human trafficking cartels operating in the country. I am informed that since June 2008, Kharbhih has been receiving threatening and intimidating calls asking Kharbhih and the Impulse NGO Network stops its activities, particularly the investigation it is conducting into the cases of girls faked into human trafficking on the pretext of recruitment for private airline companies. Kharbhih not only refused to comply, but filed a complaint at Sardar Police Station, Shillong, informing the police the details regarding the threats that she received. This complaint is registered as case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station.
I am informed that in spite of repeated requests, the police not only failed to properly investigate the case and further let the prime accused abscond and continue threatening Kharbhih over telephone. In the meanwhile the police required Kharbhih to be arrested on the basis of a false complaint filed by one of the accused in case number OC 9436337226 of Sardar Police Station, Shillong, Meghalaya. This warrant has been withdrawn after contest.
I am aware that threatening and intimidating a person is a crime in
Upholders Of Law
By Suroor Mander
18 March, 2009 Countercurrents.org
I am fascinated with what is happening in
At a time when large parts of the lawyer community in India is busy making money and battling people who stand up for human rights, I find it interesting that in a crumbling country like Pakistan, it is the lawyers that are upholding the bastions of truth, however compromised it is.
The judiciary is the only wing of the
In the recent past, lawyers in the country have protested the amendments of the Criminal Procedure Code, mainly because they will lose their bail fees and not because it gives uncontrolled powers to the infamous police. The only time the lawyers united against the judiciary in
The boycott and harassment of lawyers fighting the defence of Kasab, Moninder Kohli or Binayak Sen is a disturbing sign that the lawyer community is becoming n sync with politics and not upholding the fundamentals of the constitution. In post independent
If the lawyer community in
Manichean Echoes: Terrorists As Sub-Human
By Binu Karunakaran
31 January, 2009 Countercurrents.org Lex non distinguitur nos non distinguere debemus (The law does not distinguish and so we ought not distinguish)
Maintaining propriety in public speech is one of the key canons of judicial ethics. Propriety demands that judges desist from airing their views on issues that are sub judice, controversial or that are likely to be adjudicated by themselves or other courts.
While the honourable judges cannot be denied the right to privately hold views, secretly wear ideological and political biases and feel frustrations like that of an ordinary citizen, decorum demands they resist the temptation to air them in public forums.
Lordships should remember that words coming out of their mouth, both inside the sanctum sanctorum of justice and outside carry more weight than that of an ordinary official. They just cannot afford to be frivolous in the use of words. More so at a time when Indian democracy is facing threats from perpetrators of terrorism and the questionable means the state wants to employ in its fight against the menace through enactment of draconian laws and encounter style executions.
The opinion expressed recently by one of the senior judges in the Supreme Court, shows that the judiciary too has started to feel the pressure imposed by politicians who feed the rhetoric on terror as a means to garner votes and a society that feels terrorised in the absence of security. Such thoughts render the concept of fair trial invalid. The fact that such a statement came from top echelons of our judiciary means that list of worries of
According to the learned Judge, who sits in the Constitution bench and has co-authored books that analyse threadbare the Article 21 (Right to life and liberty under the Constitution: a critical analysis of Article 21; Publisher: Bombay : N.M. Tripathi, 1993) a terrorist is not fit to be called a human. "He's an animal and what is required is animal rights," quipped Justice Arijit Pasayat, No 3 in the court by seniority, while speaking at a seminar on 'Investigation and Prosecution of Offences relating to Terrorism', organised by Indian Law Institute in New Delhi.
According to a Times of India report he also poured out 'anguish and pain at the current trend of crucification of police officials by so-called human rights groups for every perceived fault in any police operation against terrorists. "Today we are concerned with the rights of the terrorists but we are unmindful of the plight of the victims of terrorism. How many protest marches have been organised seeking to highlight the plight of poor daily wager bystanders, with whose death his family leads a life of extreme penury?" Pasayat said continuing his broadside against rights activists. The Judge also made allusions to the Batla House encounter and the case of Mohammed Afzal whose mercy petition is still pending before the President of India.
Joining him in the tirade was Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati who said lot of "noise" being made for the nabbed Mumbai terrorist Ajmal Kasab's right to defence.
Now contrast this with what Supreme Court Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had to say on December 13, 2008 while addressing the inaugural session of the international conference of jurists on 'Terrorism, Rule of Law & Human Rights' in New Delhi:
Adherence to the constitutional principle of 'substantive due process' is an essential part of our collective response to terrorism. As part of the legal community, we must uphold the right to fair trial for all individuals, irrespective of how heinous their crimes may be. If we accept a dilution of this right, it will count as a moral loss against those who preach hatred and violence. We must not confuse between what distinguishes the deliberations of a mature democratic society from the misguided actions of a few.
No one expects the entire colloquium of judges to speak in one voice. It's perfectly acceptable that Judges differ in opinion, but when the brightest legal minds of the country begin to deviate from the spirit of the Constitution and the accepted and revered statutes of International Human Rights covenants one feels jittery.
Justice Pasayat exhibited a perverse sense of justice, and a pathetic sense of humour when he dubbed terrorists as animals and said shockingly tongue-in-cheek that they require animal rights. The words must have been uttered in a moment of emotional outburst, but it certainly exposed the ideals that guide his current judicial philosophy.
What message would it be sending to Judges of lower level courts waiting anxiously for guidance in hundreds of human rights/terrorism related cases and police officials looking for the slightest excuse to disentangle their actions from the scrutiny of fundamental rights.
Lordships should know that in the fight against terrorism, an error made by a judge who circumvents the due process of law is greater than omissions and commissions committed by other branches of democracy. Only the judiciary holds the power to scrutinise the action of the executive and the legislature and order a correction of course if they have erred.
The role of a Supreme Court Judge in a democracy is two-fold, writes Aharon Barak in 'The Judge in a Democracy' - to bridge the gap between law and society, and to protect democracy and its constitution.
There are no shortcuts here. No 'state of exception' that allows skipping the due process of law because the times are different. Once the threat of terrorism passes and peace returns judges will not be able to wish away the terrible consequence of their actions.
By Binu Karunakaran
20 December, 2008 Countercurrents.org
In a country were human rights activists can be incarcerated for months without bail the introduction of a new 'tougher' anti-terror law should be no news.
Successive governments and architects of anti-terror laws in
Instead they have focussed their energies in formulating laws that look like regurgitated versions of one another oscillating between notions of soft and hard based on which side of the political spectrum you are.
Experience over the years has shown us that ordinary Indian citizens do not remain immune from the ambit of such laws sculpted to suit the agenda of state repression.
The only golden thread is the government statement that an independent authority will be set in place to review the registration and investigation of the case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Not much of a concession when you realise the draconian provisions contained in this piece of legislation enacted in 1967 and infamously utilised to target PUCL leader Binayak Sen.
Almost all the draconian provisions in POTA except the admissibility of confessions, in accordance with the Indian Evidence Act, seems to be back in the amended version of the UAPA posing a serious credibility problem for
The 2008 amendments made to UAPA show that several POTA genes have been transplanted.
Clauses added to section 43 of the Principal act now blatantly asks the courts 'to presume, unless the contrary is shown, that the accused has committed such offence' if evidence suggesting the involvement of the accused has been found at the site.
Suspects can be detained without bail for up to 180 days (The longest pre-charge detention period sanctioned by a democracy), the dreaded special courts of POTA are back and so is the obligation to furnish information sought by the investigating officer.
The failure to furnish the information called for or deliberately furnishing false information shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.
A suspect spending six months in jail risks not just losing his job but also the trust of the community, his friends and even the members of family.
Even if a statute for judicial supervision or parliamentary oversight of terrorism cases exist, clauses that enable cops to detain suspects for unusually long periods will inevitably turn legalised instruments of psychological torture.
These provisions also come in the way of effectively challenging the ideologies that extremists believe can justify the use of violence. In the long run they tend to turn counterproductive, as every actual and perceived acts of injustice will transform into propaganda material at the hands of terrorists.
According to UK Home Office statistics, 669 out of 1,228 individuals arrested as part of terrorism investigations between September 11, 2001, and March 31, 2007, were released without charge. It wouldn't be hard to imagine the scenario in
An Appeal To Government of
An Open Letter to the Prime Minister
We, the concerned citizens, urge your government to support the resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions, at the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Supported by countries from all regions of the world, such a resolution would be an important milestone towards abolition of the death penalty in all countries.
We oppose the death penalty believing it to be a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the state and will inevitably claim innocent victims, as has been persistently demonstrated.
A momentum is gathering to end capital punishment in all countries: 137 countries from all regions of the world have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice and only 25 countries carried out executions in 2006.
By adopting a resolution on a moratorium on executions, the UNGA will take a further, important step towards the fulfillment of the established UN goal of abolition of death penalty set out by the UNGA in 1977 (resolution 31/61 of 8 December 1977).
The vote on this resolution affords
A Global Satyagraha Against Imperialism
By Rohini Hensman
Gandhi's birth anniversary on October 2 provides a fitting occasion to launch a global satyagraha - defined by him as 'truth-force', a non-violent struggle using the power of the truth - against imperialism. Such a struggle is urgently needed today, given the carnage being inflicted by imperialism in
The oldest struggle is that of the Palestinian people against Zionism. While the indigenous Jews of Palestine lived in peace with their Muslim and Christian neighbours for centuries, the advent of European Zionism - a colonial enterprise promoted by the British Raj in the 19th century - ignited conflict by dispossessing Palestinian peasants of the land they were cultivating. During the British Mandate period after World War I, a nationalist Palestinian revolt was brutally crushed by the British, even as they encouraged the Zionist settlers. In 1938 Gandhi, despite his deep sympathy for persecuted Jews, saw quite clearly the colonial character of the enterprise being carried out 'under the shadow of the British gun'. The Zionists quite cynically used anti-Semitism, the Nazi persecution of the Jews, and later the Holocaust, as a justification for their settler colonialism. Although they - like the European settlers in
More recently, the occupation of the West bank and Gaza after the 1967 war, the division of the West Bank into a series of ghettoes by the apartheid wall, and the conversion of the Gaza strip into one big ghetto, has exposed the long-standing Zionist plan to wipe Palestine off the map. It is a model of settler colonialism falling somewhere between the South African model and the genocidal model of the European settlers in North America and
Palestine/Israel is de facto a single state now:
On the other hand, the anti-war movement, while conscientiously publicising the British ORB poll suggesting that 1.2 million Iraqis have died violent deaths as a result of the US-led occupation, and many more - especially children - have died of malnutrition and disease, while reporting that the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan are killing civilians and causing malnutrition, and exposing and opposing plans to attack Iran, seldom highlights the role of Israel, especially in instigating the attack on Iraq and now on Iran. There are occasional complaints that
What this suggests is that the anti-war movement needs to target Israel as much as the US, while the Palestine solidarity movement needs to target the US as much as Israel. In what way can the
Four-and-a-half years later, the war has not stopped, but there is a significant reduction in the worldwide use of the US dollar as a reserve currency, and the value of the dollar has fallen. Campaigns to persuade governments to reduce their dollar holdings further could well be successful, since a falling dollar constitutes a loss for them. Pressure could also be put on oil-producing countries to denominate their oil sales in some currency other than the dollar. This does not necessarily mean denominating the oil trade in euro; in some cases, oil-producing countries could be asked to accept their own currency in payment for oil exports, and pay for imports, likewise, in their own currency. This would be a boon to South Asian countries, for example, who could then use remittances from migrant workers in Gulf countries and earnings from exports to these countries directly for their oil imports. In other cases, barter could be used, as
It must be emphasised that the purpose of these boycott campaigns against the
What about the EU? Some leaders, like Blair and Sarkozy, have been fully supportive of the
It is also necessary to resist the displacement of the goal of nuclear disarmament by that of non-proliferation. Anti-war groups have responded to statements by Bush and Sarkozy that a nuclear-armed
The NPT is a discriminatory treaty, in that it subjects non-nuclear weapon signatories to strict safeguards while nuclear weapons states are allowed to get away with a commitment to nuclear disarmament that there is no means of enforcing. Therefore, instead of the NPT we should emphasise the importance of universal ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans nuclear tests by all countries without discrimination, and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), which would ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and subject the nuclear weapons states to the verification procedures currently applicable only to non-nuclear weapons states. While not actually measures of nuclear disarmament, these treaties would prevent nuclear weapons states from expanding their arsenals and developing new weapons, pending the introduction of a new a treaty on total global nuclear disarmament, which would be the ultimate goal.
In conclusion: if we wish to stop the war in
1) support the Palestinian-Israeli struggle for a single democratic state in historical
2) boycott the US dollar until it ceases to be a world currency, thereby refraining from contributing financially to the war;
3) campaign for a ban on the production, stockpiling and use of all nuclear weapons, including Depleted Uranium weapons, as well as chemical and biological weapons, and weapons such as land mines and cluster bombs that target civilians;
4) lobby the UN on all these issues: an earlier petition to the UN General Assembly that contains the e-mail addresses of UN Ambassadors and others can be found at http://www.waronfreedom.org/petition.html
5) and finally, work for democracy in our own countries and oppose the threat or use of force by our own governments, since a democratic and peaceful world order can only be built out of democratic and peaceful constituents!
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