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Appeal for Solidarity by Leftwing Environmental Activists

We have received the appeal, reproduced below, from Comrade Rohit Prajapati, a member of Radical Socialist in Gujarat, and a veteran trade unionist and environmental activist. For further details on Prajapati and his co-signatory, Swati Desai, both members of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, an environmentalist activist group of Gujarat, see Class Struggle and Environmental Activism, by Kunal Chattopadhyay.

We will publish further material on the campaign by Prajapati and others, as well as on the offenive of the ruling class. The attack on PSS is evidence that when environmental activism is transformed from a bourgeois issue like shifting slums out of big cities in the name of urban beautification, or petty bourgeois issues where the individual is asked to take responsibility for cleaning up the environment fouled by the ruling class, to a class struggle issue, rulers become vicious. We call for all India and  international solidarity with PSS and the comrades under attack.


Radical Socialist

  • A defamation case, worth of Rs. 25 Crores have been filed against ‘The Times of India’ and Rohit Prajapati by Vapi Industries Association (VIA) and United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) and Avik Pharmaceutical Ltd.
  • We are determined to fight these legal and other battles which we may have to face in the coming days and for that we need your full support – through legal aid, political campaign, and perhaps financial contribution if we appeal for it.
Dear All
Vapi Industries Association (VIA), United Phosphorus Limited (UPL), and Avik Pharmaceutical Ltd. have filed a defamation case, worth of Rs. 25 Crores against ‘The Times of India’ and Rohit Prajapati in the Vapi Court, District Valsad, Gujarat with reference to ‘News Item’ appeared in ‘The Times of India’ on 5thJune 2010 [Vapi: caught in a toxic chokehold, The Times of India, 4th June 2010 http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-06-05/pollution/28278983_1_cpcb-comprehensive-environmental-pollution-index-gpcb]. 

The VIA states in their case “It is submitted that Shri Jairam had in fact visited Vapi, Gujarat.  He had not only praised Vapi but said that other industrial estates should learn from Vapi. He declared Vapi pollution free.  The same was reported in Times of India dated 8th July; 2010. […] The statements made in the said defamatory article is not only baseless but also malicious and made with malafide intentions. […] The statement made “VIA and CETP has failed to regulate its members”, is false. Recently officers of CPCB had visited CETP Vapi and have found that there is remarkable improvement in the COD and BOD in CETP plant. […] The Plaintiffs say and submit that the Defendant have made defamatory imputations and innuendos against VIA and others which in the eyes of right thinking people, particularly the industrial community and the general public of Vapi. […] By the letter dated 1st Dec, 2010 one Sajid Malik of Ventura Securities Ltd. inter-alia stated that there are serious allegations against the plaintiff in the edition dated 7thJune, 2010 titled “Vapi Caught in Toxic Chokehold” the also said that such article can harm the industrial Development of Vapi. It has not only defamed VIA and industries of Vapi but has also reduced its image. […] By his email dated 21st April, 2011 Shri Ajit Premnath, Chief operating officer of U.P.L., Europe addressed to Nirmala Lobo of Uniphos company stated that he had offered 50 M.T. of cyper Methrin Technical to his customer in Europe and he lost the order as his competitors produced a copy of article published in Times of India about Vapi.”

Further they stated in their case “The Plaintiffs further submit that this Hon'ble Court be pleased to order and decree the Defendants to forthwith carry an article/clarification on the front page of the Times of India circulating in all over India clarifying that the Plaintiffs are not responsible for any pollution. […] For the purpose of court fees and jurisdiction the plaintiff values it's claim in the suit at Rs. 25 crores and has paid the maximum court fee of Rs. 75,000/- accordingly. […] The Plaintiffs say and submit that in the facts and circumstances mentioned hereinabove it is absolutely necessary and in the interest of justice that the Defendants and/or the agents and servants be restrained by an order of perpetual injunction of this Hon’ble Court from publishing and/or issuing and/or inserting any articles and/or making libelous and/or defamatory statements and/or indulging in the defamatory campaign against the Plaintiffs of any of the plaintiff which may or which is likely to directly or indirectly injure the reputation and goodwill of the similar kind though disguised in another form […] That the defendants be jointly and/or severally ordered and decreed to pay to the plaintiff No. 1 a sum of Rs. 15 crores and to plaintiff No. 2 Rs. 8 crores and to plaintiff No. 3 Rs. 2 crores with interest thereon at the rate of eighteen percent per annum from the date of filing of the suit till payment and/or realization.”

It is an open secret that most of the ‘Common Effluent Treatment Plants’ of Gujarat are not able to meet the ‘State Pollution Control Board’ norms since long and all most all the news paper have reported about this not once but number of times in detail.

As many of you are aware, attempts to force industry to adhere to environmental norms, and attempts to create norms, have been viewed with deep hatred by industry and government alike. 

The first hearing of the case is on 20th July 2011. 

Probably this is the beginning of the “action” and many more such legal and “other action” may come in coming days from others also. 

We are determined to fight these legal and other battles which we may have to face in the coming days and for that we need your full support – through legal aid, political campaign, and perhaps financial contribution if we appeal for it. 

Rohit Prajapati          Swati Desai
Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti