Tag Archives: Narmada

CACIM DELHI DEMOS BULLETIN 13 : Day of reckoning; updates on solidarity actions and possibilities

From New Delhi, Monday, April 10, 2006
Today, Monday, April 10 2006, is something of a day of reckoning for both the Narmada and Bhopal dharnas going on in New Delhi.
On the hand (and on one side of the road where the two demos are camped), people are waiting for news from the government, following the return to Delhi of the government fact finding team 2-3 days ago. It is now, or never, that the government has to take a position on the questions of any further increases in the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam and of the proper rehabilitation of those being displaced.
The hunger fast by Medha Patkar and others is now into its 13th day (correction to yesterday’s Bulletin, where we said “11th”, following the number given in the NBA report included, but where there was an error).
Newspapers today report that Medha has also written to the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh asking him to intervene so that she is released from her confinement at a government hospital.
On the other hand, and on the other side of the road, the Bhopal demo is preparing RIGHT NOW to do an action in the middle of the city, at 5 pm Delhi / India time, and if they still do not get any reply from the government on their demands by tomorrow morning, then to go on hunger strike from tomorrow April 11, as long planned and announced by them.
We suggest that you watch the news and look for updates in these next 24 hours; a lot can happen in this time. And please ACT on the possibilities listed below !
This CDDB (CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin) is also organised differently; for the first time, we are attempting here to give you a digest of news and information on and related to the Delhi Demos :
[1] Global Relay Hunger Strike for Justice in Bhopal: Fast for a Day or Longer in Solidarity with the Indefinite Hunger Strike by Bhopalis
[2] Latest updates on the Bhopal dharna : Plenty of news coverage in the last couple of days
[3] Solidarity Demonstration in Kolkata with Narmada dam oustees and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement)
[4] Protests organized by mm&P alliance groups in Andhra Pradesh, against Medha’s illegal custody
[5] 24-hour solidarity fast on April 6-7 in Pune
[6] “Medha V R With U!” Solidarity Actions in Arunachal Pradesh on April 7
Jai Sen, for CACIM
Note : All back issues of this Bulletin (the CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin), number 0 onwards, are available @ : http://www.cacim.net/twiki/tiki-view_articles.php?type=article&topic=1

_______________________________________
[1] On 10.4.06 1:10am, “Ryan Bodanyi” <rbodanyi@studentsforbhopal.org> wrote:
Global Relay Hunger Strike for Justice in Bhopal:
Fast for a Day or Longer in Solidarity with the Indefinite Hunger Strike by Bhopalis
Sign up NOW at: https://www.bhopal.net/2006hungerstrike.html <https://www.bhopal.net/2006hungerstrike.html>
Dear Friend,
For 21 years we have waited and suffered; we have drunk poisoned water; we have been beaten and kicked by police for daring to ask why the Supreme Court’s order to give us clean water was ignored; our young women cried to learn that they were feeding their babies poison in their breast milk; we were slapped, punched and arrested when – because nobody else was doing it – we attempted to contain the toxic wastes in Union Carbide’s abandoned factory that are poisoning our wells; we have been called liars, malingerers, scammers and beggars. Now we have walked 500 miles from Bhopal to New Delhi to demand justice and a life of dignity for ourselves and our children.
We are the victims of Union Carbide’s poisons in Bhopal. Many of us inhaled the poison gases on the night of December 2-3, 1984. Of these, more than 150,000 are still suffering. There are others who are new victims who drink handpump water laced with poisons leaching out of the thousands of tons of toxic wastes that still lie abandoned in and around Union Carbide’s factory. We know of at least 70 children from these settlements that have serious birth defects. We know these deformities are because of the water that we are being forced to drink.
The Prime Minister of India doesn’t care. We are camped out on the pavement in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since 27 March, right across the street from the camp of another prominent example of the disdain with which our government treats its poorer citizens. Representatives of people who have lost their land, or stand to lose it, to the rising waters of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the River Narmada fill the air with slogans of struggle and resolve. Both, the Narmada oustees and the Bhopal survivors are camped out under the open sky. Both issues have been festering for more than 20 years; but the Prime Minister just doesn’t seem to care.
We’re poor, you see. When George Bush came, our Prime Minister was everywhere, smiling, almost purring as he was patronisingly patted by Bush. He made time for the CEO of Dow Chemical who came with George Bush. He has known since February 20 that we were arriving on foot from Bhopal, but he has said he doesn’t have time for us.
Our Prime Minister has always wanted lots of foreign investments. He is respectful, even fearful, of foreign investors. He does not want to impose any laws on them, and certainly not punish them, even if they are responsible for something as devastating as the Bhopal disaster. We are ashamed of what our country has become – a desperate nation that is willing to sacrifice its people for a fistful of dollars. We are left with no choice but to go on an indefinite hunger strike. We don’t believe that this will evoke sympathy in the hearts of our Prime Minister or other politicians. That is not our objective. We want to awaken the consciousness of the public. What happened to us, can happen to you, is happening to many others. Let’s reclaim democracy; let’s celebrate protest; let’s revive efforts to build a truly vibrant and humane India; let’s remind the Government who’s boss.
On April 11, the Bhopalis – gassed by Carbide, poisoned by contaminated water, weakened by their gruelling march – will begin an indefinite fast for justice. They need our support.
You can help
1. Sign-up for a day or more as part of the Global Relay Hunger Strike. You
can register at https://www.bhopal.net/2006hungerstrike.html
2. Send a FREE FAX to the Prime Minister. Online at:
http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/FaxAction/fax_action.php
3. EMAIL the Indian Government daily at:
http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/FaxAction/email_action.php
4. DO MORE. Find out how at:
http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/MarchToDelhi.htm
Students for Bhopal www.studentsforbhopal.org <http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/>
Association for India’s Development www.aidindia.org <http://www.aidindia.org/>
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal www.bhopal.net <https://www.bhopal.net/>
Ryan Bodanyi
Coordinator, Students for Bhopal
www.studentsforbhopal.org
1-401-829-6192

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Patkar continues hunger strike at AIIMS

The Navhind Times
New Delhi/Bhopal, April 7: Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Ms Medha Patkar continued her hunger strike at the AIIMS demanding proper rehabilitation of the families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project even as people all across the country staged relay-fast and hunger strikes to express solidarity with her cause.
Ms Patkar, who was forcibly removed to the AIIMS, has been refusing solid food and accepting only water and lemon juice. Her condition was stable and vital parameters like blood pressure and pulse rate were normal, AIIMS medical superintendent, Dr D K Sharma said.
At the Jantar Mantar Camp, Ms Bhagwatibai Patidar, who had began her fast with Ms Patkar, continued to refuse food for the 10th day today. Seven persons, including academicians and students, have been observing fast since yesterday when the NBA leader was forcibly removed to hospital by the police.
NBA has been disputing claims of the Centre that almost 90 per cent of the affected people have been rehabilitated.
Meanwhile, protests by SSP oustees marred visit of three Union ministers touring villages falling under dam’s submergence area at several places in Dhar and Barwani districts of Madhya Pradesh today.
The protestors, under banner of NBA, raised slogans against Centre and alleged large-scale corruption by officials and distribution of inadequate compensation.
Efforts of Union Water Resources Minister, Mr Saifuddin Soz, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Ms Meira Kumar and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Prithviraj Chavan to calm the crowd turned futile and pandemonium prevailed at every village the central team visited.
Protestors blocked roads at Dharampuri in Dhar district and even managed to snatch keys to Mr Soz’s vehicle, before police used mild force to disperse the crowd, the police said.
The ministers, who were in the state to take stock of rehabilitation process following directions of Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, faced public ire at Anjad, Khedi and Piplood villages in Barwani district as their cavalcade was stopped by angry crowds demanding compensation for their land and houses falling under submergence area, they added.

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Times of India editorial: Forgotten people

The country’s two best known struggles are waging a battle for justice under the trees of Jantar Mantar in the capital — the Narmada dam oustees and Bhopal gas victims. Both have a 20-year history, albeit emerging from different contexts.
Having borne the brunt of state brutality and yet remaining non-violent, they have been documented and recognised by the international community. The Bhopal gas tragedy killed more than 7,000 people and injured many within two or three days.
In the last 21 years, at least another 15,000 have died and more than 1,00,000 suffer from chronic illnesses caused by exposure to gas. Nobody has been held responsible for the leak till date. The plant site has not been cleaned.
As a result, toxic wastes continue to pollute the environment and contaminate water that surrounding communities rely on. In Narmada, the planners considered a geogra-phical area without taking into account the people and environment for making a cascade of dams, starting with Sardar Sarovar at the west end of the river.
A considerably good rehabilitation package was prepared and integrated into the law, but never implemented by the states in letter and spirit. In spite of non-violent protests, the dam continued to go up.
Emotions in favour of the dam were flared up, sometimes to absurd levels, by the states. It put the lives and livelihoods of over 44,000 families (or nearly 2.25 lakh people) at peril in western parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, according to official figures.
As the World Bank review committee noted, another three lakh people still await the magic wand for being recognised as project-affected. The role of the judiciary in these two issues has been disappointing.
It dragged proceedings for years, its pronouncements on human rights actually yielding little on the ground. Its refusal to hold people responsible for violations of law encouraged more violations, and cemented the state’s conviction that they were not accountable to anyone.
Calling Narmada Bachao Andolan Publicity Interest Litigation or Private Inquisitiveness Litigation was totally uncalled for. Bhopal or Narmada, by not being able to translate into significant vote banks, failed to find a meaningful mention in common minimum programmes of parties or political formations.
Till a decade back, the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party lent unstinting support to the dam in their election manifestos in Gujarat. In the case of both the struggles, the Centre and state governments kept passing the buck, frustrating the people.
Politicians, once out of power, wholeheartedly supported the struggles. When elected to power, they busied themselves with other things and avoided taking action.
In the absence of an active media, these struggles would not have reached out to a large multitude. In the initial days of the struggle, when sting operations were confined to Bollywood movies and TRP ratings did not decide the news, the media had more space and time to report and analyse these issues.
It helped generate a debate in civil society about development, human rights and state’s responsibilities. But now media would rather devote space and time to details of ‘wardrobe malfunction’, and heap scorn on these struggles as the very height of all impediments.
Hence, the over one lakh families rendered homeless due to demolitions in Mumbai and Delhi, or the hundreds of farmer suicides in many states, do not come under ‘breaking news’.
Two groups of protestors sitting at a distance of a few metres from each other at Jantar Mantar do not invite much media attention. Nor can they pose any political threat to the government, though they are only a couple of kilometres away from Parliament.
Their presence in Delhi with demands for a just rehabilitation speaks volumes for India’s human rights record. Unless that record is set straight, talk of 10 per cent growth or the Sensex crossing 11K does not make India developed or, for that matter, even civilised.
The author is with Amnesty International

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CACIM DELHI DEMOS BULLETIN 12 : NBA press release on government fact-finding mission & summary of solidarity actions in India and internationally; things you can do

From New Delhi, Sunday, April 9, 2006
medha2.jpg
“If the state files a case against me, I will file a case of murder against the state: murder of the Narmada Valley, murder of humanity, murder of justice!”. Medha Patkar
Given below is the latest press release and report from the NBA (Narmada Bachao Andolan), dated yesterday April 8, that also gives a whole lot of news about has been happening in India and internationally in solidarity with the NBA dharna (sit-in demonstration) in Delhi.
Other news from the Delhi Demos, AND THINGS YOU CAN DO :
Narmada :
* Today is the 11th day of the hunger strike. The dharna is continuing at Jantar Mantar. Several others continue to fast at the dharna site in solidarity with Medha Patkar and her NBA colleagues, including Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Mona Das, and Avdesh, all of JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University). Large numbers of people continue to come to the site and be in solidarity with the NBA. Now that the government fact-finding team is back, the big question at the dharna of course is what position the government will take.
* Clifton D’Rozario of the NBA, who is just back from the Narmada Valley, and Prashant Bhushan and Dr B D Sharma who went to watch the government team as independent observers, are coming to the dharna site this afternoon, and will give first hand reports of their impressions of where things are at.
* The government team cut down their trip from even the two days originally planned (and as reported in CACIM DD BULLETIN 9 (April 7)), to just one… and so therefore did not visit any of the more remote, and marooned, Adivasi villages, and visited only three villages in all. They still got a ‘warm welcome’ there, as already reported and where there are also more details below, but it means that they did not get to see those in the worst condition – those whose homes were submerged first (being further downstream) and who have been struggling against submergence and for their rehabilitation rights for several years now.
* Today (Sunday) is a day of solidarity actions at the Delhi dharna site by artists and musicians : A children’s art exhibition is already up, musicians are coming in at 3 pm, and artists at 4:30.
* Things you can do :
o Support Narmada Dam survivors! http://one.aidindia.org/narmada
o Find out about and join solidarity actions taking place near where you are!
Bhopal :
* The Bhopal team with Rahul Gandhi, Member of Parliament, on Friday April 7, in connection with their demands. They came back and reported that they were satisfied with the meeting; he said that he would look into what he could do. They are hopeful that something will come out of this.
* The Bhopal dharna started on March 25. They are giving the government until April 10 to respond, or 15 days. If they do not hear back from the government, then the Bhopalis are ready to go on an indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday, April 11.
* This will be along with solidarity actions across India and in different parts of the world, including relay hunger strikes. This will kick off with a strike at the University of Texas by, among others, prominent Bhopal supporter Diane Wilson. (Diane Wilson, a fisherwoman, is known for ramming her boat into a Union Carbide boat and sinking it, and was recently arrested for putting up a Bhopal banner within a Union Carbide office.)
* Within India, solidarity actions with the Bhopal demo will take place over this next week at Kudalur, Kodaikanal, Kolkata, Mettur, Mumbai, Pune, and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum).
* Things you can do :
o Support Bhopal’s Demand for Justice and Dignity by Sending a FREE FAX to the Indian Government! http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/FaxAction/fax_action.php
o Join the Bhopal relay hunger strike – anywhere in the world. Go to https://www.bhopal.net/2006hungerstrike.html and REGISTER YOUR INTENT THERE (so that the Bhopal campaign knows how many people are striking, and where).
For CACIM
Jai Sen
Note : All back issues of this Bulletin (the CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin), number 0 onwards, are available from:
http://www.cacim.net/twiki/tiki-view_articles.php?type=article&topic=1
—— Forwarded Message
From:
Reply-To:
Date: Sat, 08 Apr 2006 13:50:13 -0700 (PDT)
To:
Subject: [narmada_andolan] NBA Press Release 08.04.06
8th April 2006
New Delhi
NBA Press Release, April 8 2006
 MEDHA PATKAR AND OTHER NBA ACTIVISTS CONDEMN THE FALSE CHARGES FILED AGAINST THEM
 MINISTERS’ TEAM RETURNS FROM THE VALLEY AFTER SEEING SHODDY SITUATION OF REHABILITATION. WHAT WILL THEY DECIDE NOW?
 INDEPENDENT OBSERVERS SHARE THEIR REPORT OF THE TEAM’S VISIT
 MASS OF NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT AND ACTION IN SOLIDARITY
Medha Patkar, Jamsingh Nargave, and Bhagwati Patidam are now in their 10th day of fasting for the immediate halt of illegal construction on the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Medha and Jamsinghbhai both remain in the All India Insitute of Medical Science where they have been isolated since they were forcefully removed against their will from dharna when 500 police stormed the sleeping protestors, late Wednesday night. Medha has been denied contact with any visitors by administration and the police, a gesture which is in total violation of her democratic rights. Moreover, it has since become apparent that a case under Section 309: Attempt to commit suicide, has been filed against her, while it remains unclear whether the same charge has also been filed on other people fasting. Similarly, several charges have been filed against about 25 other persons.
The charges filed were under sections:
– 186: Obstructing public servants in discharge of public function
– 332: Voluntary causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty
– 353: Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty
– 147: For rioting
– 149: Unlawful assembly
– 309: Attempt to commit suicide
– 34: Common intention
Medha’s response to this shenanigan has been that, “Those who commit crimes always put the blame on others. This is not the first time such a thing has happened with the Andolan. So many farmers are committing suicide all over the country. Will the government and the police blame the farmers? Rather, it is clear that the blame lies with the state. If the state files a case against me, I will file a case of murder against the state: murder of the Narmada Valley, murder of humanity, murder of justice!”.
Following the directions of the Prime Minister on Tuesday, a delegation of Ministers returned today from the Narmada Valley after having gone there to visit some of the affected families at and under 121.92m within the Sardar Sarovar Dam affected area, to assess the veracity of claims that Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) have been sufficiently completed for the next stage of construction. The team, which included Union Minister for Water Resources, Prof Saif-ud-din Soz, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Smt Meira Kumarji, and Minister of State in the Prime Minster‚s Office, Shri Prithviraj Chauhan, was met by hundreds of Project Affected Families (PAFs) who had travelled more than 100 kilometres to come to Avalda to make their voices heard. The anger, frustration and persistent hope of the affected people were embodied in various forms, from speeches to written applications, to slogan shouting and songs.
The team didn’t manage to visit the 100% adivasis villages in the affected zone, where families have had to face submergence without rehabilitation every monsoon for more than a decade now, which the NBA had strongly recommended. However, there was so much that took place in one day and so much that revealed itself to the three Ministers regardless. Through the repetition of accounts from the affected people, whether regarding the paucity of basic amenities, like drinking water, electricity or sewage lines, the insufficiency of house-plots at R&R sites, or lack of R&R sites at all, it was made blatantly clear that the law is being flouted. The high participation of PAFs in the programme, considering that Narmada Valley Development Authority informed no one of this visit, is proof enough of the severity of problems in resettlement. The fact that every single R&R site is empty except for a handful of families is further testimony. And that those entitled to land for land are yet to be [para incomplete] The Team had a meeting with Shri Prashant Bhusahan, Shri B. D. Sharma, Shri Denzil Saldana, Ashish Mandloi and Clifton D’Rozario (the latter two being members of Narmada Bachao Andolan). [Please find attached a statement released by the independent observers, Advocate Prashant Bhushan and Dr B D Sharma.] In this meeting the Ministers were briefed on the legal implications and scale of human tragedy that would befall the villages affected at and below 121.92m, should the construction of the dam not be suspended immediately. It was made clear that the PAFs have been absolutely relentless in writing letters to the officials and the GRA to seek redressal of their problems but that the GRA does not visit the R&R sites or the original villages and hence has no real sense of what is actually happening. Indeed, even though there are grievances related to those affected below 110.64m, clearance was still given for the dam to be further raised to 121.92m, which exemplifies how out of touch [para incomplete] Having returned to Delhi today, the team are currently discussing their findings and will further consider the issues they have faced with the Prime Minister, subsequent to which they will then release their report.
In the anticipation of the findings from the delegation, the dharna of project affected persons and concerned protestors being held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, has remained vibrantly alive and active with a multitudinous stream of supporters continuing to visit the peaceful protest in its fourth week and convey their solidarity with the cause and concern for the health and rights of both Medha and Jamsinghbhai.
There has been an absolute outpouring of international and national support towards the movement to stop further construction on the Sardar Sarovar Dam, with spontaneous protests, dharnas and solidarity fasts bursting out all across India. On Thursday marches in Bangalore and Plachimada were accompanied by a 24hr fast in Pune, with 50 organisations involved culminating in the submission of a petition to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra with almost 400 signatures. Yesterday 150 people worldwide signed up for a one-day solidarity fast, simultaneously undertaken by a peoples‚ sit-in fast in Chennai, a symbolic hunger-strike in Bangalore, which was accompanied by various cultural performances, and a one-day fast in both Jalna and Aurangabad where Ex MP Dr Bapu Kaldate, Justice (Ret’d) Narendra Chapalgaonkar, and Ex MLA Dr T S Patil all took part. Solidarity protests were also held in Kolkata, a 1.5 km silent rally in Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) and a rally of exposure through handouts [para incomplete] Today, more than 200 people in Bangalore and more than 400 people, under the banner of the National Alliance of Peoples‚ Movements, in Kolkata undertook relay hunger fasts. A one day fast was held in both Latur and Parbhani, with rallies, dharnas and hunger fasts being held in Shimla with Nadi Gheti Mon, Palampur with Narrachna Manch, and Mandi, all three villages within Himanchal Pradesh. The Mumbai supporters continued their exposure to the rush-hour trainstation masses today and will keep going each day until the dharna is concluded.
So far, more than 2,000 people worldwide, and counting, have signed an online petition (http://petitions.aidindia.org/narmada/) in protest against the construction of the dam. The Open Challenge to Sardar Sarovar Dams (http://petitions.aidindia.org/narmada_petition/), too, is growing at a phenomenal rate, with over 600 signatures from prominent scientists and engineers from across the world. The Open Challenge is a slamming denounciation of power generation figures having been glamorized by the SSP engineers in the Indian Express, where they had claimed that the SSP dam will generate Rs 2500 crores of power every year. The challenge condemns the advertising of unrealizable benefits in terms of power and irrigation and the luring of their nation to increase the dam’s height to 121.9 mts. despite the fact that 35,000 families are still living in the submergence zone without rehabilitation. It states that the signatories “take a strong exception to the misuse of science for promoting hu… [para incomplete] Similar petitions, memorandums and letters of concern have poured through to the concerned authorities, and many more words of support have been passed through to the movement in solidarity from a myriad of organisations and individuals, just several of which include Rivers‚ Group, BAPAEC, Transboundary River Group, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies Environment and Development – Bangalore, Water and Energy Users‚ Federation – Nepal, PRASHANT, Arunchal Pradesh Citizens‚ Rights, Child Rights and You, and the International Farakka Committee. Such a magnitude of response has really built up a substantial resistance to the unjust submergence of the settled communities in the Narmada Valley; an injustice which won‚t be consequential to the complacency and apathy of the people.
The ministers who have visited the valley can no longer deny the state of rehabilitation. The decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam to 121.92m must be rescinded and further construction suspended since the rehabilitation of PAFs incompliance with the NWDTA, Supreme Court judgements and State policies has not taken place. Until then, Medha, Jamsinghbhai and Bhagwatibai, along with the number of people who have joined them, will continue their indefinite fast until such action is taken.
Dipti Bhatnagar Yogini Khanolkar Noorji Padvi Kailash Awasya
—— End of Forwarded Message
……………………………………………………………
THINGS TO CHECK OUT :
* FORTHCOMING in 2006 :
o Nayi Rajniti (‘New Politics’), Hindi edition of Talking New Politics, Sen and Saini, eds 2005
o Nayi Subah Ki Or (‘Towards A New Dawn’), volume 1 of Hindi edition of World Social Forum : Challenging Empires
o Are Other Worlds Possible ? Books 2 & 3 – ‘Interrogating Empires’ & ‘Imagining Alternatives’
* Open Space Webspace : www.openspaceforum.net
* WSFDiscuss – an open discussion listserve on the World Social Forum and cultures of politics in movements : Send an empty email to worldsocialforum-discuss-subscribe@openspaceforum.net
* Out in 2005-6 : World Social Forum : Challenging Empires – in German, Japanese, Spanish, and now in Hindi and Urdu !
…………………………………………………………………
January 2005 : ‘Are Other Worlds Possible ? Talking NEW Politics’
Preview : http://www.choike.org/nuevo_eng/informes/2487.html
Publishers : Zubaan / zubaanwbooks@vsnl.net
Tel: +91-11-2652 1008, 2686 4497, and 2651 4772
………………………………………………………………….
In late 2004 :’Explorations in Open Space : The World Social Forum and Cultures of Politics’
Issue 182 of the International Social Science Journal
Editorial advisers : Chloé Keraghel & Jai Sen
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/servlet/useragent?func=showIssues&code=issj&open=2004#C2004
……………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………….
2004 Book : ‘World Social Forum : Challenging Empires’
Edited by Jai Sen, Anita Anand, Arturo Escobar, and Peter Waterman
http://www.choike.org/nuevo_eng/informes/1557.html
India / South Asia distribution : Viveka Foundation,
info@vivekafoundation.org, viveka4@vsnl.com
2005 : NOW OUT also in German, Japanese, Spanish, and forthcoming in Hindi and Urdu
……………………………………………………………
Jai Sen
CACIM – India Institute for Critical Action : Centre in Movement
A-3 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110 024, India
www.cacim.net
Em jai.sen@cacim.net – PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EDDRESS !
[+ while travelling, ALSO jai_sen2000@yahoo.com] M 91-98189 11325
T 91-11-4155 1521 and 2433 2451 – Please note change in one phone no
+
Italitar, Hattigauda
Kathmandu
Nepal
T 977-1-437 0019 and 437 0112

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Bhopalis condemn forcible removal of Narmada hunger strikers

FROM CHOIKE.ORG
http://www.choike.org/nuevo_eng/informes/4221.html
Society – Thu Apr 06 2006
Victims of Union Carbide from Bhopal, who are currently camped on the pavement across anti-dam protestors from the Narmada valley at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, condemned the heavy-handed police action against the Narmada activists.
6 April, 2006. New Delhi – Victims of Union Carbide from Bhopal, who are currently camped on the pavement across anti-dam protestors from the Narmada valley at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, condemned the heavy-handed police action against the Narmada activists, some of whom were on the 7th day of hunger strike.
Six survivors and four Bhopal supporters will join the Narmada Bachao Andolan today and fast in solidarity with their call to stop construction at the Sardar Sarovar Dam, and for rehabilitation of those already displaced. “The struggles of Narmada and Bhopal are one. They like us are being punished for protesting against Government’s anti-people policies in furthering industrial development,” said Shehzadi Bee, a 49 year old survivor who has walked 800 kilometres from Bhopal to New Delhi. About 300 police marched in army-style, dragged and kicked people who tried to prevent the police from reaching the hunger strikers. Satheesh Kumar, a Bhopal activist from Kerala and one of those who will undertake the indefinite hunger strike for justice in Bhopal, was among the 25 or so that were removed to the police station. All activists were released by 2 a.m. today.
In a separate development, the Bhopal campaign received a major boost from US Congressman Frank Pallone and 10 other members of the US Congress who filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Bhopalis claims against Union Carbide Corporation in a lawsuit where Bhopal residents have demanded clean-up and compensation for damages to health and property.
In a public statement, Pallone, who is the founder-leader of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said “The Bhopal victims have repeatedly tried their cases in the US court system, but were subjected to unfair treatment and corporate favouritism.”
In 1999, survivors filed the class action lawsuit against Union Carbide and its officials in the Southern District Court of New York. The lawsuit was dismissed and later reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York in November 2001 and dismissed again in March 2003 by the District Court. “The matter is currently on appeal, and the intervention by the US Congresspersons is likely to increase the chances of its success,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
In yet another unrelated development, the Union Cabinet announced yesterday that it will release Rs. 50 crores towards compensation for survivors. “The Rs. 50 crores is the shortfall that the Government was supposed to make up, and is money that rightfully belongs to survivors. In any case, it is unrelated to the demands of the survivors and the timing of the release of this information can only be seen as a cheap PR ploy by the Government,” said Shehzadi Bee.
In 1989, pursuant to the Supreme Court order on the settlement, the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India agreed that any fluctuation in the exchange rates would accrue to the amount of compensation held in the dollar account. The surplus compensation resulting from this agreement amounted to more than Rs. 1500 crores. The amount sanctioned by the Government of India yesterday is a shortfall in this amount, which was due to be paid by the Government.
Survivors of the Bhopal disaster are on indefinite strike at Jantar Mantar since they arrived in Delhi by foot from Bhopal. The Prime Minister has declined to meet the Bhopal delegation despite the fact that a meeting had been requested more than 45 days ago. Barring the Ministry of Chemicals, which was positive on all six demands of the survivors, the signals from the Government indicate that it is unwilling to hold the company accountable for fear of angering US investors and the Government.
Unlike the Bhopalis, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris has had no trouble getting audiences with the Prime Minister, who met him for lunch on two occasions – on September 15, 2005 in New York, and on March 2, 2006 in New Delhi when Liveris had accompanied the Bush delegation. The Prime Minister has instructed the setting up of a special task force in the Planning Commission to facilitate investments in two petrochemical complexes in Vizag and Haldia by Dow Chemical and DuPont. Dow Chemical wholly owns Union Carbide Corporation, the company that was declared an absconder by the Bhopal court for failing to honour court summons to appear in court to face charges of “culpable homicide” in a matter related to the 1984 gas disaster. The leak has taken more than 20,000 lives till date, and more than 100,000 remain chronically ill.
The Bhopalis will launch an indefinite fast starting 11 April, 2006.
For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman – 9868474437.
Rachna: 9911289845
Website: www.bhopal.net or www.studentsforbhopal.org
Email: nity68@gmail.com

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