Posts Tagged ‘POSCO
Aruna Roy, a political and social activist, gave up her career in the Indian Administrative Service in 1975 to devote her time to social work and social reform. She has focused her energies on Rajasthan, where she helped establish the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan in 1990, a grass roots peoples organization that works for the empowerment of workers and peasants. In 2000, Ms. Roy won the Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership and for her role in empowering Indian villagers to claim what is rightfully theirs by upholding and exercising the people’s right to information. As Maoist violence continues unabated in the country, Ms. Roy spoke exclusively to Jyoti Malhotra for the Wall Street Journal. Excerpts from the interview.
WSJ: In recent weeks, India’s Maoists rebels have unleashed a reign of terror across the countryside, especially in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, murdering people and damaging public property. As someone who has worked as an activist for many decades in rural India, what is the reason for this sudden violence?
AR: It is now widely accepted that development has not reached people in Chhattisgarh and other parts of the country. The Adivasis, or tribals who live here, are delinked from other parts of the country socially, culturally and politically, they are really like an island. Since Independence, most government officials have treated these areas as punishment postings. Few have wanted to live and work there and those who have gone have not treated the tribals as their equals. It’s been a sort of sahib-servant relationship. Several activists and those in the development sector did work there, but always came under surveillance like Binayak Sen. With Sen, as you know, he was arrested and put behind bars and accused of sympathizing with the Maoists. An important group which reached the tribal areas were the Christian missionaries who set up schools there, followed by Hindu right-wing groups who decided that the tribals must be “saved” from the Christians. These religious tensions usually ended in violence. In the meantime, the tribal belt, which is really the mineral belt of India, became the focus of interest of multinational companies…
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Bhubaneswar (PTI) Demanding immediate release of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) leader Abhaya Sahu, social activist Medha Patekar on Sunday asked the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa to hold talks with the PPSS and CPI on the proposed project of the South Korean steel giant.
“Abhaya Sahu should be released from jail immediately and unconditionally as he was arrested on false and fabricated charges in an arbitrary and anti-democratic manner,” Ms. Patekar told reporters here.
Maintaining that Mr. Sahu, whom she met at Choudwar jail, was not a Maoist, she said if he is not released forthwith a campaign would be launched to press for it as in the case of civil rights activist Binayak Sen.
Q&A: Dr Binayak Sen, a doctor and an activist
Sreelatha Menon / New Delhi May 31, 2009, 0:20 IST
A military solution to Naxalism is neither possible nor desirable, Dr Binayak Sen, a doctor and an activist, tells SREELATHA MENON, after his release from two years of detention.
You were teaching in New Delhi and could have settled there. What drove you to Madhya Pradesh in the late 70s to practise among tribals? Were the health facilities there as bad as they are at present?
They were not as bad. But, they were similar. There has been no marked improvement as far as healthcare infrastructure or services to the poor are concerned. The Chhattisgarh government did an evaluation of the services by using the Caesarian section facilities in government hospitals as an index. Only three government facilities were equipped to carry out this operation in 2004. Very few health centres are equipped to investigate and treat communicable diseases.
Patrick Barigbalo Naagbanton is a well-known human rights activist. Born in Rivers State, Nigeria, he trained as a journalist before working as a trade unionist at the Port Harcourt factory of the Union Dicon Salt PLC, where he was elected chairman of the workers union, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN). He was eventually fired for campaigning for improvement in working conditions. Naagbanton recruited many workers to join human rights/pro-democracy groups like the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Campaign for Democracy (CD), and Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR). Naagbanton served as a board member of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), representing the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. He also worked with the Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FOEN), documenting, researching and campaigning against human rights and environmental degradation in Nigeria. In recognition of his role in promoting and defending victims of rights abuse in Nigeria, Naagbanton received the Indianapolis University Human Rights Award in 2001; and in 2002, the Rivers State branch of the CLO conferred on him the Saro-Wiwa Award for human and environmental rights defender.
Under military rule in Nigeria, Naagbanton was arrested and held in solitary confinement. However he had to be freed, because there are some networks, institutional mechanisms and accountability of the state towards human rights activists in Africa. Naagbanton remains consistently vocal on issues of human rights and environmental issues and has continued to contribute opinion articles, along with writing news and features for several newspapers. He remains free, in spite of raising his voice against the misuses of government security forces and militia and their consequences on people, especially women and children.
Compare him with Dr. Binayak Sen, an equally well-known human rights activist, Vice President of the People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), and General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh unit of PUCL, and also a pediatrician, who will complete two years in a Raipur prison on 14 May 2009, on false charges of abetting Maoist activity in Chhattisgarh, sedition, waging war against State under various sections of the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 2004 (amended) and the IPC. Dr. Sen raised his voice against Salwa Judum, and disappearances and encounters in the State of Chhattisgarh. Though in the past two years, there have been several calls and actions within and outside India by Nobel laureates, medical professionals, academicians, journalists, human rights and health activists, students, workers and rural folk for the release of Dr. Sen, he continues to be in jail. Human rights and social movements have been protesting against the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 and the UAPA (amended) 2004, demanding for their repeal, and release of those arrested under it. Some 178 people have been detained under these draconian laws in Chhattisgarh. These include traders/businessmen, tailor, journalists, doctors, NGO workers, media persons, filmmakers, farmers, landless agricultural workers and cultural activists. There is no institutional mechanism to address the harassment and prosecution of human rights activists in India.