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Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

Amend the Bill for Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at the Workplace

To introduce bills for the protection of women has been a standard device by governments intent on proving how progressive they are. This is nothing new, since even the colonial rulers did this. Yet,from the colonial imperialists to the present, such bills are very often intentionally flawed ones. The "protection" is all too often aimed only at better off sections, or is couched in such language that protection means the women are seen as inferiors. In the case at hand, the proposed bill for the protection of women against sexual harassment at the workplace, the exclusion of domestic workers, the empowerment of district officers in cases where small bodies cannot set up their own committees, and the threat of punishment to be given to the woman if the charge cannot be proved, all add up to silencing all but the most determined and/or more or less privileged women. We therefore endorse the AIDWA statement published below, and urge women's organisations, trade unions, and democratic rights organisations to all take up the issue.

Radical Socialist

AIDWA Press Statement on Bill for Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at the Workplace.


AIDWA welcomes the introduction in the Lok Sabha of the Bill on the Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at the Work place. This bill has been introduced after a consistent  struggle by  women’s organizations for several years.

However, AIDWA is deeply concerned about certain provisions in the draft. It is unfortunate that “false and malicious complaints” of sexual harassment have been made punishable in the proposed law. This is totally against the Vishaka Judgment which had clearly stated that no action should be taken against a woman for making a complaint. The entire civil law to deal with cases of sexual harassment was meant to be enacted to provide a conducive atmosphere in which women victims could make a complaint, because women employees are usually extremely hesitant to lodge a complaint for fear of reprisal. Our experience of dealing with cases and as members of complaint committees has shown us how accusations of false complaints are routinely made against the women victims. Though mere inability to substantiate the complaint or provide adequate proof has not been made punishable, we feel that this is not good enough. It would be highly improper for the complaints Committee to pronounce judgment on this matter. The fact that she can be proceeded against will hang like a Damocles’ sword over the victim’s head.  AIDWA demands that there should be no such clause in the Bill. Any person who feels that a false complaint has been made against him can always take recourse to the criminal or civil law in this regard relating to defamation etc.
It is also unfortunate that the proposed Bill does not apply to domestic workers. This is despite the fact that the NCW draft had specifically listed domestic work in its scheduled list of unorganized work. Leaving this vulnerable section of women workers out of the purview of this Bill is unacceptable.

The proposed Government Bill lays down that complaint committees with at least 50% women members will be set up in institutions and a local committee will be constituted by a District officer for victims of sexual harassment in very small institutions or in situations where no complaint committee is available. However since the discretion to appoint the committee rests solely with the District officer, it is liable to be exercised in an arbitrary manner. A more transparent procedure should be prescribed under the proposed law.
AIDWA has also always demanded that all recommendations of punishment of the complaint committees to the employers/District officers must be accepted and implemented and no additional inquiries should be initiated.

AIDWA demands that the changes suggested above should be incorporated in the bill and thereafter that the bill be passed without any delay.

Sudha Sundararaman                                                                  Kirti Singh
General Secretary, AIDWA                                                            Legal Convenor, AIDWA


Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace Declaration

*DELHI** DECLARATION-2010*

*Fourth National Convention on the Tenth Anniversary of*

*Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP)*

* (10 – 12 December 2010)*


The Fourth National Convention of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), India, was held from 10th to 12th December 2010 in Delhi. The three earlier conventions were held in Nagpur in February 2008, in Jaipur in November 2004, and in Delhi in November 2000. It may be recalled that the
CNDP was founded to give focus and direction to the anger and concerns that emerged out of the spontaneous nationwide protests against the May 1998 nuclear weapon tests conducted by India and followed by Pakistan. CNDP opposes possession of nuclear weapons by any country including India and is
wholly committed to seeking the complete elimination of the existing stockpile of nuclear weapons at the global as well as regional level. CNDP is also dedicated to championing the cause of world peace by tirelessly striving for general and complete disarmament worldwide. It is an unforgettable fact that the era of nuclear threat began with the mindless atomic bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the USA on 6thand 9 th August 1945. CNDP has an unwavering duty to propagate the fervent appeal of the Hibakusha (the atomic bomb survivors), which stresses that: *“Such sufferings should never fall on anyone, anywhere in the world! Abolish nuclear weapons now! No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis! No More
Hibakushas!”*

* *

We, the assembled delegates at this Fourth Convention of the CNDP, representing the peace movements in India and coming from various corners of the country, reaffirm our conviction in the Nagpur Declaration, the Jaipur Declaration and our Charter of 2000, which states that: *"Nuclear weapons are means of mass destruction regardless of who wields them. They are weapons of genocide. They can impose horrendous suffering on victims across generations. They destroy the ecosystem. The damage they do is lasting and
incurable. The sheer scale and character of the devastation they can cause makes them a profound and distinctive evil. For this and other reasons, the possession, use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons is absolutely immoral." * We also with equal stress re-emphasize that: *“the use, threat of use, or
possession of, and even preparation for making, nuclear weapons is immoral, illegal, and politically unacceptable under any circumstances."* Not only that: "nuclear deterrence" is absolutely *"abhorrent to human sentiment since it implies that a state if required to defend its own existence will act with pitiless disregard for the consequences to its own and its adversary's people.''*


Despite much opposition from the peace movements, the rulers of India and Pakistan – two resource-starved countries – persist with their pernicious nuclear weapons programmes, which are a tragic diversion from addressing vital social needs. Although there have been no further nuclear tests since
1998, the continuing test-flights of Agni and Hatf missiles show that the mindless race between them for perfecting nuclear-weapon-tipped missiles goes on unabated.

An alarming recent *development has been the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal. *Earlier, on 01 August 2008, the IAEA had approved the safeguards agreement with India after which the U.S. approached the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to grant a waiver to India to commence civilian nuclear trade. The 45-nation NSG
granted the waiver to India on 06 September 2008 allowing it to access civilian nuclear technology and fuel from other countries. The implementation of this waiver makes India the only known country with nuclear
weapons, which is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)but is still allowed to carry out nuclear commerce with the rest of the world. The granting of such a waiver to a non-NPT nation shows up yet again the deep hypocrisy of the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) recognized by the NPT on the entire issue.

* *

*The nuclear deal, on the one hand, severely undermines the prospects of global nuclear disarmament by (selectively and arbitrarily) legitimizing India's nuclear status and, in the process, the possession of nuclear
weapons by the existing* NWS* – both so-called “recognized” and “unrecognized” ones – and also the aspirations of other actual and potential aspirants. On the other, it would also further intensify the arms race
between India and Pakistan – both nuclear and conventional. Pakistan, in fact, made a strong plea for a similar deal. And the brusque refusal by the U.S. would only further inflame its passions and thereby turn the dangerous  nuclear mess in South Asia all the more dangerous. Furthermore , the consequent shift in focus in favour of highly expensive nuclear power will significantly distort India's energy options at the cost of efforts to develop environmentally benign and renewable sources of energy. This deal is also an utterly reprehensible move to bring India closer to the U.S. orbit as a regional ally to facilitate execution of its global imperial ambitions. ** **The CNDP remains unwavering in its consistent and high-pitched
opposition to this deal.** *With this deeply disturbing background in mind,
the Fourth Convention of CNDP further resolves as under:


*1. Nuclear Weapons Free Region in South Asia*

*
*The CNDP, in active collaboration with other peace movements in the South Asian region and the Pakistan Peace Coalition in particular, will work towards a Nuclear Weapons Free Region in South Asia as well as establishing a zone of peace in South Asia. CNDP also calls on the people of Nepal who are in the process of drafting their new constitution to become the first country in the world to constitutionally declare itself as a state free of nuclear weapons. CNDP will similarly attempt to work in whatever way it can, in collaboration with the Pakistan Peace Coalition, towards creating conditions that could help the whole of erstwhile state of Kashmir, both under Indian and Pakistani control, to emerge as a zone of peace. This move is expected to provide a clear focus and strong momentum to the peace movements in the region, reinforce the forces of peace and radically bring down the nuclear danger by working on a concrete and workable action plan. A
regional convention of peace activists from the region will be convened at the earliest convenient time to work out a collective charter.

*
**II. Global Convention on Nuclear Disarmament***



The CNDP reiterates its commitment to upholding the essence of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s action plan *"Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free and Non-Violent World Order”*, which was submitted to the UN General Assembly on 09 June 1988. The CNDP also notes with deep concern the total eclipse from the agenda of the UN of the McCloy-Zorin Accords on nuclear as well as general and complete disarmament, which was unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 1961. It is significant that the McCloy-Zorin Accords conformed largely to the formulations submitted in a draft resolution prepared by India and eleven other nations and unanimously adopted by the UNGA on 15 November 1960. However, it is most disheartening to note that even 50 years later, the very nations that unanimously adopted these far-reaching resolutions have refused to initiate any significant step in the direction of nuclear disarmament, let alone general and complete disarmament. Therefore, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the McCloy-Zorin Accord, the CNDP urges the global peace movements to join the CNDP in appealing to the people of all nations to exert pressure on their respective governments to support the call for a global Nuclear Weapons [Abolition] Convention. Such a path-breaking event could be the initial step towards reaching the ultimate goal of general and complete disarmament worldwide. As human survival will be greatly imperiled by large-scale use of nuclear weapons also because of catastrophic climatic effects convening of such a convention has become extremely urgent.



The projected global disarmament convention would chart out a clear and unambiguous road-map towards universal, complete, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament within a defined time-frame. This would also entail all NWS – declared and undeclared, to immediately commence progressively lowering down the operating statuses of their nuclear weapons (de-alerting), commit them to a “no-use” or at least a "no-first-strike" pledge, and also to provide negative security assurance to all non-nuclear
weapon states (NNWS).  Furthermore, the NWS would have to continue with the moratorium/ ban on all types of nuclear tests, freeze all programmes for development and production of upgraded nuclear warheads and delivery/interception systems, freeze production of fissile materials, and  credibly commit to such other measures in consonance with the goal of nuclear disarmament. NNWS could make similar relevant commitments. CNDP will proactively coordinate with all sections of global peace movements and
unwaveringly work towards this goal.

* *

*III. Intensification of Struggles against Ignoring Safety and Hazardous Impact of Nuclear Power *

*
*The clinching of the Indo-US nuclear deal has radically fired up the fantasies of the Indian nuclear establishment, which remains undeterred by its appalling past performance in terms of power production and safety records. It is all set to embark upon a very ambitious plan of setting up mega nuclear plants dotting the entire coastal belt and expanding uranium mining in Jharkhand and also to Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Rajasthan criminally unmindful of severely traumatic social and potentially disastrous ecological impacts and disregarding international safety standards. The CNDP, in keeping with its consistent track record and the mandates of its founding Charter, will actively collaborate with the grassroots people's movements to resist such mindless moves – singularly lacking in transparency and
democratic accountability, and provide all necessary and possible assistances in this regard while unequivocally condemning state repression against such peoples’ protests.


*IV. Demand for End of U.S. Occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, Just Resolution of the Palestine Issue to Ensure Global Peace and Facilitate Nuclear Disarmament** *


The U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan are vital components of the grand project known as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The continuing U.S. support for the apartheid Zionist regime of Israel and its inhuman oppression of the Palestinian people is just another facet of this ugly venture. Consistent with the goal of global nuclear disarmament, the CNDP demands immediate withdrawal of occupation forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. The CNDP also expresses its wholehearted solidarity with the
legitimate struggles of the Palestinian people for an independent state of Palestine, for right of return to their homeland, and against Zionist occupation of their land. The CNDP consequently commits itself to actively associate, in all possible manner, with all global, regional and local movements seeking justice to achieve these goals.


*V. Other Related Issues*


The CNDP clearly recognises that the spurts in national-chauvinist, majoritarian and militarist ideologies and political practices under whatever political banner, and the state at times playing a role of an active facilitator, by their very nature pose a major threat to anti-nuclear peace movements in India. The CNDP hence rededicates itself to fight all these pernicious tendencies in all its manifestations in collaboration with other forces fighting for a just, peaceful and harmonious order. Consistent with its core values, the CNDP reiterates its demand that Indo-Pak peace process be accelerated. It also demands easing of travel restrictions all over the SAARC region to promote friendship between peoples. It furthermore demands 10% progressive cuts in the so-called "defence" budgets of all the countries in the region. While roundly condemning all acts of terrorism, the CNDP is also opposed to the manipulation of the terrorism discourse to justify attack on democratic rights and suppression of democratic struggles. The urgent need for freezing and reducing the runaway senseless global military expenditure and controlling and eliminating the insidious global arms trade are the other continuing imperatives. The CNDP commits itself to
ally itself with all global and regional efforts towards achieving these goals. 

The national question in focus again - Mahinda and Bahu in London

The national question in focus again - Mahinda and Bahu in London


Kumar David

It was a week of contrasts. President Rajapakse was turned away by the Oxford Union because the organisers feared protests would get out of control. Channel-4 TV made matters worse by panning naked bodies on the ground and airing fresh footage of Sri Lankan soldiers allegedly tying-up and shooting Tamil youth of both sexes. The programme said it could not broadcast other images in its possession because they were lurid and horrific and soldiers’ chatter suggested females had been sexually abused before murder. Then came another bombshell; Wikileaks released a cable from the American Ambassador in Colombo to Washington which opines, echoing many at home and abroad, that thousands of Tamil
civilians were killed in the last stages of the war and that the "civilian and military leadership including President Mahninda Rajapakse, his brother and opposition candidate General Fonseka" were
responsible.

NSSP Secretary Vickremabahu was in London at the end of November and it was a contrast. From the web and reports of friends and comrades I have learnt that he was well received by the Tamil diaspora and spoke at a gathering of several thousand on Heroes Day. The NSSP London Branch also organised four meetings, well attended by Sinhalese, Tamils and locals. It has been reported that the British Tamil Forum,
an umbrella organisation with large participation, and the NSSP reached agreement to resist dictatorship and support human and democratic rights in all parts of Lanka. The receptions accorded to Bahu and Mahinda were a study in contrasts; even Sinhalese in the UK did not rally around Mahinda, perhaps because of the persecution of General Fonseka.

[After this article was submitted Bahu and Jayalath Jayasuriya have come under physical assault and political intimidation by government goons and politicians. All democrats must condemn these fascistic acts and rally to their defence].

Marxists and the Tamil question

This is as good an occasion as any to revisit the stand of the NSSP on the national question in so far as it concerns the ‘Ceylon’ Tamils (I am not referring to the Upcountry Tamils today). My association with
Bahu on the national question goes back a long way, forty years, to the early 1970s when we were working away as the Vama Tendency inside the LSSP which, almost ten years later, surfaced as the NSSP. To the
best of my recollection Bahu and I had no disagreements on this issue (but not some others) in those years. I was Secretary for the National Question, responsible for developing theoretical and practical aspects and Bahu was not only General Secretary but also deeply involved in the topic. It was at this time that we rediscovered, re-learnt and I dare say made some contribution to the crucial factor on the global
political landscape in the second half of the Twentieth Century, ethnicity.

It was in the course of these internal discussions that we came to reject the LSSP’s bourgeois democratic thesis on the national question as falling short of a Marxist paradigm and restored the right to
self-determination as our point of departure. It was also at this time that we grasped that Rosa Luxemburg, for all her scintillating brilliance, was wrong and Lenin wholly right on the national question. The key task was to fight majority nation chauvinism, in Lenin’s case Great Russian chauvinism; combating the defensive nationalism of frightened minorities had to take second place. The slogan of an alliance of the working class and minority nations (which even Mao grasped but the JVP has not to this day) was forged by Lenin in the crucible of two Russian Revolutions, 1905 and 1917.

Marx’s admonition resonates to this day: "The English working class will never accomplish anything" until it first solves the Irish question; "reaction in England has its roots in Ireland". The Sinhalese working people will never free themselves from the apron strings that bind them to reaction, backwardness and chauvinism - Mahinda worship for example – until they first free themselves of anti-Tamil prejudice. The JVP will never liberate itself of petty-bourgeoisie limitations until it cuts its umbilical cord to remnants of Sinhala chauvinism.

Intellectually, Vasu was a follower on the national question; he would not dare voice anything different from the party position; but he was weak. Not that Vasu is a chauvinist, absolutely not; there is not a drop of chauvinism in him, but weak in the sense that he could be pushed to compromise. The weakness surfaced after Bahu and Vasu split (for which I blame Bahu more than Vasu but that is another topic for another time). I witnessed the slide at close quarters since I stayed in his faction and then joined his DLF. (Actually I would have liked to associate with both NSSP and LSSP in those intermediate years when Vasu was in the LSSP, but this was not practicable). Vasu’s lack of intellectual depth and strength on the national question became explicit in 2000 when, to UNP cheers, he broke with the LSSP and  opposed Chandrika’s constitutional proposal in a great carnival of fanfare. Drafted by Jayampathy Wickremeratne and Neelan Thiruchelvam, this constitutional proposal remains to date the most progressive ever presented in the country. Vasu’s further decline and complete capitulation to Mahinda’s chauvinism was easy; he refused to support my demand that the DLF should call for a ceasefire in 2008 and refused to condemn the war; he felt sorry for the Tamils but was impotent.

Bahu and the LTTE

In the 1990s differences surfaced between my attitude to the LTTE and Bahu’s position. These are variations among cognoscenti and I have refrained from blowing them up in public; it is foolish to let Sinhala chauvinists and reactionary Tamil nationalists drive a wedge between Marxists. Now the LTTE is gone and the discourse on the national question has reopened at a new level; it is productive to explore
these nuances.

I recognise the LTTE led the armed struggle of the Tamil nation against linguistic discrimination, racial pogroms and military oppression by the state. But I was also critical of LTTE militarization, use of terrorism against civilians, curtailment of Tamil freedoms, murder of political leaders even Tamils (including our
own Annamalai), and idiotic attitude to India and the international community. Bahu however has been much more forgiving. His explanation has been that while Trotsky, a Jew, was harsh in his criticism of the
Jewish Bund (a petty bourgeois outfit struggling to salvage Russian Jews), Lenin as a Russian was far more accommodating. This is understandable as psychology, but I don’t think it is good Marxism.

A critique of the LTTE is of even greater importance today when the Tamil community at home and abroad has begun a search for new directions in a post-LTTE world. Far more important than acknowledging
the military heroism of the LTTE as a fighting outfit, the Tamils need to understand and digest where it went wrong politically. I have written about this numerous times in these columns; Bahu is not contributing to this discourse.

Self-determination revisited

Theoretically, the point of departure for Marxists on the Tamil question is the concept of self-determination. Neither the nature of the state, nor the objective circumstances of the community have changed so much that the fundamental socio-economic and political terrain has transformed. There have been substantial demographic transformations of the Tamil community – about three-quarter million in the diaspora and it is said nearly half those in Lanka live outside the North and East – but it is not yet certain that these material
changes vitiate the right to self-determination including the right to succeed. But self-determination is not a fetish; nothing is lost in revisiting theory.

What we recognised was the democratic right to succeed if the people so wished. This distinguishes Marxists from the intellectually flabby soft-left and from the LTTE; the former dared not stand for the right
to secede and the latter thought that the right was vested in itself, not the people. The former could not surmount middle class intellectual blinkers, the latter exercised dictatorship over the Tamils.

There is however a difference between recognising a right and advocating and encouraging secession. Whether one proactively calls upon a minority nation to secede, in its own and greater interests,
differs case by case and depends on the particular circumstances. Arundhathi Roy seems to imply both the Kashmiri people and India may be better off if a united greater-Kashmir secedes from both India and
Pakistan as a separate nation state; my inclination is to agree. In the case of Lanka, while recognising the right of the Tamil nation to do so, we advised the Tamils against secession in the interests of the
Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim people. Why? That would be another long and dated story.

But why dated? When the LTTE was at full throttle the question of Thamil Eelam was relevant and arguably represented the will of the Tamils, though in my view no more than about a third of the Tamils supported secession even at peak; but democracy demanded it be put to the test. Now after the war, Tamils in-country are unmoved by Eelam or secessionist proposals. It is different in the diaspora, but this is not a matter on which the diaspora can be allowed to dictate terms. Go a step further; hypothetically, imagine a referendum on the secession issue in the North and the East. There is not a shadow of doubt that the Eastern Province with a non-Tamil majority will reject it by a landslide. Then what, if at all is the North going to go it alone?
Politically, self-determination becomes passé if the people themselves lose interest.

The time has come to revisit the self-determination/secession issue both as theoretical concept (Is it still objectively relevant to Lanka, given demographic changes?) and political theme (Are the Tamils still interested?). Why not some forum or NGO arrange a symposium; aren’t we all bored with the repetitive menu of low-level stuff they keep inviting us to? Or are they all shit-scared of JR’s Sixth Amendment?

Cancún: No agreement is better than a bad agreement!

Cancún: No agreement is better than a bad agreement!

December 10, 2010

December 9 statement by La Via Campesina: We call on humanity to act immediately to rebuild the life of all of nature, applying the concept of “life in balance.”

 

Members of La Vía Campesina from more than thirty countries from all over the world united our thousands of struggles in Cancun to demand environmental and social justice, and respect for Mother Earth at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 16). We joined together to denounce the attempts of governments, mainly from the North, to commercialize the essential elements of life in benefit of transnational corporations and to publicize the thousands of grassroots solutions to cool the planet and stop the environmental devastation that seriously threatens humanity today.

Working mostly out of our base at the Alternative Global Forum for Life, Environmental and Social Justice, we held workshops, assemblies, and meetings with allies. On December 7 we staged a global action that we called “Thousands of Cancuns”. The events this day had an impact across the planet and even into the halls of the Moon Palace where delegates to the COP 16 meet. Actions included a march of thousands of members of La Via Campesina accompanied by indigenous Mayans from the Mexican peninsula of Yucatan and our allies from national and international organizations.

Mobilization to Cancun began November 28 with three caravans that left from San Luis Potosi, Guadalajara and Acapulco and traveled through places that exemplify environmental destruction, as well as local resistance of affected communities. The organization of the caravans was carried out along with the National Assembly of Environmentally Affected Peoples, the Movement for National Liberation, the Mexican Electricians Union (SME) and the hundreds of villages and people who opened their doors with generosity and solidarity. On November 30 the caravans arrived in Mexico City, where we held an International Forum and march accompanied by thousands of people and hundreds of organizations that also struggle for environmental and social justice.

On our journey to Cancun, other caravans—one from Chiapas, one from Oaxaca and one from Guatemala—joined us after many hours of traveling. We met up in Merida to hold a ceremony at Chichen Itza and finally arrived in Cancun on December 3 to set up our camp for Life and Environmental and Social Justice. The next day, Dec. 4, we inaugurated our Forum and began activities in Cancun.

Why did we go to Cancun?

Current models of consumption, production and trade have caused massive environmental destruction. Indigenous peoples and peasant farmers, men and women, are the main victims. So our mobilization to Cancun, and in Cancun, sought to tell the world that we need a change in economic and development paradigms.

We must go beyond the anthropocentric model. We must rebuild the cosmovision of our peoples, based on a holistic view of the relationship between the cosmos, Mother Earth, the air, the water and all living beings. Human beings do not own nature, but rather form part of all that lives.

Given the urgency to reconceive the system, the climate and the earth, we denounce:

  1. That governments remain indifferent to global warming and instead of debating the policy changes necessary for cooling the planet, they are debating speculative financial schemes, new “green” economies and the privatization of the commons.
  2. False and dangerous solutions that the neoliberal system implements like the REDD+ initiative (Reduction of Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation), the CDM (Clean Development Mechanisms), and geoengineering. These promote the commercialization of natural resources, and the purchase of permits to pollute, or “carbon credits”, with the promise of not cutting down forests and plantations of the South.
  3. The imposition of industrial agriculture through the implementation of genetically modified products and landgrabs that go against food sovereignty.
  4. Nuclear energy, which is very dangerous and in no way a real solution.
  5. The efforts of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization to facilitate the entry of huge transnational corporations in our countries.
  6. The impacts of Free Trade Agreements with the United States and the European Union– trade and investment treaties that open the doors of our countries to transnational companies to take control of our natural resources.
  7. The exclusion of peasant and indigenous peoples in discussions on key issues that affect human life and the Mother Earth.
  8. The expulsion of members of our organizations from the official talks of the COP 16 due to their opposition to government proposals that promote a system of depredation that threatens to exterminate the Mother Earth and humanity.

We do not agree with the simple idea of “mitigating” or “adapting” to climate change. We need social, ecological and climate justice, so we demand:

  1. Incorporation of the principles of the Cochabamba Accords of April 22, 2010 as a process that leads to real reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases and achieves social and environmental justice.
  2. Food sovereignty based on sustainable and agroecological peasant agriculture, given that the food crisis and the climate crisis are the same and both are consequences of the capitalist system.
  3. Changes in life-styles and destructive relations with the environment.

La Vía Campesina, as an organization that represents millions and millions of small farmer families in the world, is concerned about the need to recover climatic equilibrium. Therefore we call for:

  1. Assuming collective responsibility for Mother Earth, changing patterns of development and economic structures, and breaking down the power of transnational companies
  2. Recognizing governments like Bolivia, Tuvalu and others that have had the courage to resist the imposition of governments of the North and transnational corporations. We call on other governments to join the people’s resistance against climate crisis.
  3. Reaching binding agreements that force all those who pollute the environment to be accountable for the disasters they cause and the crimes they have committed against mother nature. Likewise, require a reduction of carbon gases at the source–polluters should stop polluting.
  4. Alert the social movements of the world about what is happening on the planet to defend life and Mother Earth, because we are defining the model for future generations.
  5. Grassroots action and mobilization of urban and peasant farm organizations, innovation and the recuperation of ancestral ways of life to save our Mother Earth from attacks by big capital and bad governments. This is our historic responsibility.
  6. Policies to protect biodiversity, food sovereignty, water management and administration based on experience and the full participation of the communities themselves.
  7. A worldwide consultation with people to decide the policies and global actions needed to defend against climate crisis.

Today, right now, we call on humanity to act immediately to rebuild the life of all of nature, applying the concept of “life in balance.”

This is why, from the four corners of the planet, we stand up to say:

No more harm to our Mother Earth! No more destruction of the planet! No more evictions from our territories! No more murder of the sons and daughters of the Mother Earth! No more criminalization of our struggles!

No to the Copenhagen agreement. Yes to the principles of Cochabamba.

¡REDD NO! ¡Cochabamba SI!

The earth is not for sale, it must be recovered and defended!

GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE, GLOBALIZE HOPE

Women Call for action against shopian

CALL FOR ACTION on CBI COVER-UP!!!

Let us Protest against CBI cover up report on Shopian Rape and Murder case

DEMAND JUSTICE FOR NEELOFAR AND ASIYA!!!

A Public Event in New Delhi on 13th December, 2010 at 4pm in front of CBI Office

Come and participate with one white bed sheet with the words ‘TO THE CBI - FOR YOUR NEXT COVER-UP!!!’ written in huge letters across it with the name of the organisation/individual below.

 

Dear friends,

 

Even as the Kashmir valley has been in turmoil, yet again, with excesses by the armed forces, cases of rape and killings remain unresolved especially when involving the police, para military or military.

Shopian Double Death Case: Asiya Jaan and her sister-in-law Neelofar Jaan left home in the evening of 29th May, 2009 BUT did not return. Their bodies were recovered from the banks of Rambiara Nullah on the morning of 30th of May 2009 in the same spot that a search party including the local police had searched- a very well-lit area- till the early hours of 30th May.

The police was very much on the scene but did little to collect evidence; for five days no case was registered. The first post-mortem report (District Hospital, Shopian) and the second-post-mortem report (by a medical team from Pulwama district and analysed at the Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Srinagar) stated rape and murder in its report. Even as Shopian town observed a 45-day long Bandh the people of Kashmir put aside all other political demands to join this agitation and the people of Jammu also lent solidarity. Further investigations began slowly and progressed in fits and starts. The High Court said that the police were either implicated in the crime or were shielding the culprits. On the basis of the inquiries conducted by the (ex-Justice) Muzaffar Jan Inquiry Commission the interim report was of the view that the two women were sexually assaulted and probably murdered to cover up this crime. It also pointed to acts of omission and commission by members of the civil administration, police and doctors in gross mishandling of investigations.

Amidst the failure of the local police and political pronouncements of the Union Home Minister giving a clean chit to the armed forces before the Parliament, it was decided on September 17, 2009, to hand over the case from a Special investigation Team to the CBI. The CBI, however, built an extra-judicial case and used the media extensively to make all earlier investigations in the case seem motivated or incompetent. Some of the news leaks were simply fantastic – like finding an intact hymen in a body buried for four months and so deny rape, like finding diatoms of Rambiara to show that the women drowned when the Nullah is the source of drinking water for the whole town or like accusing the gynaecologist of substituting her own vaginal swab in the place of those taken from the victims.

The CBI concluded that the women died from ‘accidental drowning’! Its report is based upon the autopsy conducted in September, 2009 by forensic experts of AIIMS after exhumation of the buried bodes. The CBI inquiry is mired in the highly uncertain and contested medical claims of the AIIMS team, allegations of intimidation of many of the witnesses and state representatives and destruction of evidence, the dubious role of many government agencies, incompetence and lack of transparency. It filed supplementary charge-sheets against the State prosecutors, doctors, advocates for the complainant, advocates demanding justice and the family members of the women.

The CBI report states that there was no rape, no murder and that the implicated and suspended policemen were innocent. The report does not explain how the bodies of the two women were invisible to the search party the whole night and appeared suddenly at dawn how these young women drowned in a shallow, two-feet deep Nullah where no deaths have taken place or explained eyewitnesses’ accounts that Neelofar’s body was wet only from one side nor how the hymen can be found intact in a body buried for four months. The policemen’s acts of commission and omission - they did not collect any forensic evidence from the site, did not cordon it, did not register the case- have not been punished; the four suspended policemen have been reinstated. The CBI has not made public the findings of the Special Investigation Team. This calls into serious question the credibility of the CBI Report which has simply tried to bury the case and convinced no one.

We have been following up on this case from the very start. A demonstration demanding justice was held in Delhi in mid- June, 2009 followed by a fact-finding in August, 2009. A press conference on the findings was held prior to the submission of CBI’s final report to the Courts in December, 2009. In May, 2010, with no justice in sight, we wrote an open letter to the Chief Justice of India, to the National Commission for Women and to the National Human Rights Commission which was endorsed by many of you.

WE HAVE HAD NO RESPONSE SO FAR. If the country’s leading investigative agency can apparently facilitate a report to suit the political exigencies of the extant governments, whether at State or Union level, rather than conduct a professional and impartial inquiry that serves the purposes of justice, it points to the levels of both injustice and corruption that subverts the due rights guaranteed in the democratic republic of India.

With official channels exhausted we feel that it is time to make the issue public- expose the role of CBI and shame them for this COVER UP. We propose to send them white bed sheets to shame them for their role in this case.

We hope that every one of you, organisation or individual, who feels that the CBI is responsible for perpetrating this injustice, should participate and send us sheets as symbolic gifts to the CBI .

- Send one white bed sheet with the words ‘TO THE CBI - FOR YOUR NEXT COVER-UP!!!’ written in huge letters across it with the name of the organisation/individual below.

 

WE WILL

- collect all white bed sheets and display your solidarity with Neelofar and Asiya and the countless other rapes and sexual assaults that have taken place in Jammu and Kashmir and which have seen NO JUSTICE.

 

- display all your white bed sheets at a Public Event in New Delhi on 13th December, 2010 to mark the anniversary of CBI ’s handing over its COVER-UP REPORT.

THE WHITE BED SHEETS WILL THEN BE GIFTED TO CBI ’S HEADQUARTERS IN DELHI , WITH YOUR COMPLIMENTS.

 

You can also collect signatures on your sheet from public demonstrations in your region/city.

The Fortnight protesting Violence Against Women could be used to collect signatures in large numbers as many of you might be campaigning and observing this fortnight.

 

Through this action we want the Home Ministry and the CBI to be aware that we continue to DEMAND JUSTICE FOR NEELOFAR AND ASIYA, for all women of Jammu & Kashmir and for all women of India.

 

 

Women against Sexual violence and State repression (WSS), Delhi

 

 

 

 

EVIDENCE AGAINST THE GUILTY IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

EVIDENCE AGAINST THE GUILTY IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN


The Citizens for Justice and Peace (www.cjpindia.org) has been the most proactive survivor and citizens rights group involved in the struggle for justice for the Victims of the 2002 Gujarat Genocidal Carnage.
Through this laborious and even threatening process -- of taking on the system that wishes to shield rather than punish the guilty -- we have been directly or indirectly solely responsible for ensuing that primary evidence against the Perpetrators is placed before the Courts as soon as it is available. It is another matter that our Courts have been tardy, often ignoring this devastating evidence, prolonging the justice process and through this the scrutiny of evidence and deliverance of justice. We have tried as far as is possible to place this material in the public domain.

Now in a renewed attempt to make availabe all this evidence, is the new portal www.gujarat-riots.com. Sequentially all material that is available may be read and evaluated.

We hope too that through this process, asiduously followed by us, the guilty will also be punished.

Citizens for Justice and Peace

Trustees and Office Bearers: IM Kadri (President), Nandan Maluste (Vice President), Teesta Setalvad (Secretary), Arvind Krishnaswamy (Treasurer) and Alyque Padamsee, Cyrus Guzder, Javed Akhtar, Rahul Bose, Javed Anand, Anil Dharker, Cedric Prakash, Ghulam Pesh Imam (Trustees)




Gujarat Violence 2002

ABOUT US


In 2002, after the tragedy of the Godhra Train Mass Arson on February 27, that took 59 lives, violence was orchestrated in Gujarat’s 19 districts spread over three days. Elected representatives of the State, bureaucrats and policemen, bound by oath to the Indian Constitution, abdicated their fundamental duties to protect the lives and properties of the minorities and worse, justified this genocidal carnage in the name of the train burning at Godhra. Preparations for this perpetrated violence, that had a sinister pattern, had been made months before the train burning at Godhra.
Since then every effort was made to subvert the course of justice that is now nearly nine years old. In this process victim survivor, eye-witnesses and legal rights groups alike have together ensured a rigorous and intrepid struggle against a vindictive administration. Those officials and policemen who stood by the law of the land were victimised and sidelined; many who  toed the illegal and unlawful lines were rewarded.
Every effort has been made by us to ensure that evidence of all kinds is placed before the Courts to ensure that the guilty are punished. We have tried at every stage to place these in the public domain and ensure that we are all equipped to evaluate the evidence available and judge whether justice has been done to all those wronged. Propaganda is a tool used by the perpetrators of crimes, who also ensure state power and control over the administration to weave half truths and lies that fail to pin culpability on the highly placed accused. Policeman, bureaucrat or politician, he often escapes the long and often indulgent arms of the law.
A unique achievement of our collective efforts has been the ongoing criminal investigation into a chief minister and 61 other top level accused initiated by a survivor and legal rights group and ordered by the Supreme Court. Through this portal we place sequentially some of this evidence that has been elicited in a long drawn out and demanding process.
Official Reports of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Central Election Commission and the Government of Gujarat; Judgements of the Supreme Court of India and the Trial Courts; Exposures and Analysis of Evidence of Phone Call records of the Powerful conducted by us and submitted to the Courts -- who Spoke to Whom and what were their location;  figures of Relief and Rehabilitation that expose the State’s calls; CBI’s Authentication of Tehelka’s Operation Kalank; the affidavits of, former State Intelligence chief RB Sreekumar with their detailed annexures all this and more present a thoroughly researched case.
We believe that a careful perusal of the same will effectively answer the oft- asked query,
Is there sufficient evidence against those guilty for the State Sponsored Carnage of 2002?
What we cannot predict and only the next few months will reveal is whether all this evidence will be thoroughly probed and evaluated to ensure satisfaction in the due process of law and deliverance of justice.
Time will therefore tell however whether the Indian system has the grit courage and honesty to turn a spotlight on what must surely be remembered as its darkest hour.
Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai
----
Justice JS Verma, Former Chief Justice of India, Chairperson National Human Rights Commission
Interim Report, Gujarat 2002
“The Commission would like to observe that the tragic events that have occurred (in Gujarat in 2002) have serious implications for the country as a whole, affecting both its sense of self-esteem and the esteem in which it is held in the comity of nations. Grave questions arise of fidelity to the Constitution and to treaty obligations. There are obvious implications in respect of the protection of civil and political rights, as well as of economic, social and cultural rights in the State of Gujarat as also the country more widely; there are implications for trade, investment, tourism and employment. Not without reason have both the President and the Prime Minister of the country expressed their deep anguish at what has occurred, describing the events as a matter of national shame. But most of all, the recent events have resulted in the violation of the Fundamental Rights to life, liberty, equality and the dignity of citizens of India as guaranteed in the Constitution. And that, above all, is the reason for the continuing concern of the Commission.......”

SHARIA, FATWAS AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS

SHARIA, FATWAS AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS



Asghar Ali Engineer



Every now and then media reports fatwas issued by muftis in India, Saudi Arabia and other countries. One mufti in Saudi Arabia even
suggested that if a Muslim woman has to keep a man for household work and interact with him though he is not mehram (from prohibited degree
for marriage), she should suckle him from her breast to make him mehram. This fatwa was based on a hadith narrated by hazrat A’isha.



Darul Uloom Deoband, though does commendable work for peace and communal harmony, issues fatwas when it comes to women which reduce
women as mere secondary to men or something subservient to them. Recently someone from Dubai jocularly typed on his computer talaq
thrice he was told your wife has now been divorced and he cannot marry her until she marries someone else who divorces her and then only she
can revert to her former husband who jocularly typed the dreaded word.



In Iran a middle aged woman called Sakineh was punished to death by stoning as she was alleged to have committed adultery though Qur’an no
where mentions such a punishment and prescribes only 100 lashes for zina and in Arabic there is only one word be it rape, fornication or
adultery. More recently, Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa saying that her husband said word talaq thrice on mobile and even is she did
not hear it triple divorce has taken place and she must marry someone else as a necessary condition.



These fatwas are issued just because some jurist or the other had so opined hundreds of years ago keeping in view the conditions then
prevailing in society. On most of these issues there is no ijma’ (consensus) and many of them are even based on controversial hadith.
The opinion given by jurists hundreds of years ago were based not only on Qur’an o hadith but also on social structure and social ethos then
prevailing.



Most of the Ulama or jurists, when asked for fatwa consult only those medieval sources and never bother to apply there own reasoning power.
Taqlid (mechanical following) is considered as safest by all these jurists. However, even in those days many jurists had strongly
condemned taqlid. Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Hazm both were great jurists and both have condemned thoughtless imitation.



Ibn Hazm was from Spain and used to give great importance to freedom of thought and independence of thinking in his juristic thinking. In
this he was influenced by his teacher Abul Khayar. He was also of the opinion that one can be called ‘Alim as long as one engages in seeking
knowledge. But one who thinks he knows enough is, in fact, jahil (ignorant). And seeking knowledge is seeking truth which is possible
only through intellectual process. Our Ulama and jurists, as we know,have long since stopped thinking.



Qur’an is very fundamental source for Islamic jurisprudence but Ibn Hazm, very rightly puts Qur’anic verses in three categories: 1) those
verses which need no other source to understand; 2) those verses which can be understood in the light of other verses of the Qur’an and 3)
those verses which can be understood in the light of authentic hadith and authentic is one which has been narrated by most reliable and many
narrators. Even if this method is followed Islamic jurisprudence, especially in respect of family laws, can be revolutionized.



Most of the jurists unfortunately rely, in matters of family laws, more on weak hadith than on Qur’an. Ibn Hazm, who apparently followed
Zahiri School (but not by way of taqlid) strongly criticizes who do not think by themselves and simply resort to taqlid. And Ibn Hazm said
all this in 14th century Spain. Our jurist live in 21st century and yet resort to mechanical following of their respective schools.



In fact another Spanish jurist Al-Shatibi was also very creative in his thinking about shari’ah laws. He said that one must first
understand the maqasid and masalih i.e. basic objectives and welfare of people for whom shari’ah laws are being framed. Our muftis and
jurists do not at all keep these objectives and welfare of people in mind and simply consult standard books of their respective schools (of
jurisprudence) and issue fatwas.



It is because of these fatwas that Islam is negatively projected in media and them we complain against media for its Islam bashing. A
truly religious person should look at his/her own fault first before blaming others. As someone said we try to remove dust from mirror
instead of from our own face. The mirror is going to show dust on our face in any case as long as it is on our face.



Today it is highly necessary to dust off our own face and restore dignity of Islamic shari’ah by re-thinking several issues pertaining
to personal laws restoring dignity and rights of women as given by Qur’an and taken away due to personal opinions of jurists in their own
circumstances.  Imitation should be thrown out of window and all eminent jurists from entire Islamic world should come together and
compile corpus of laws giving equal rights to women in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc.



There is no doubt if we keep maqasid al-shari’ah (objectives) and masalih al-shari’ah (welfare of people) and resort to independent
thinking and freedom of thought the Islamic laws would become not only highly just but a model to be followed by all. Ibn Hazm, for example,
was of the opinion that if man is economically weak and woman who wishes to be divorced well off, it is for divorced wife to maintain
her former husband, something which modern law stipulates.  We must go directly to Qur’an and accept only very authentic hadith and Muslim
women will be more equal than in other laws.

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Centre for Study of Society and Secularism

Mumbai

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