Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

A Critique of Binayak Sen’s Judgment

We reproduce with courtesy Kafila,

This note critiquing the judgement that setences Binayak Sen for life has been written by ILINIA SEN, SUDHA BHARADWAJ and KAVITA SRIVASTAVA

Raipur, 26 December, 2010

As you are aware the Second Additional District and Sessions Judge of Raipur Sh. B. P. Verma convicted Binayak Sen, Pijush Guha and Narayan Sanyal for rigorous life imprisonment on the 24 December, 2010. A ninety two page judgement was delivered by Judge BP Verma on the 24 December, 2010. What follows is a quick analysis of the facts of the case and the judgement that has finally been delivered.

Important Dates of the case

The FIR was lodged on the 6th of May, 2007, when Pijush Guha’s arrest was shown. Dr. Sen was arrested on the 14th May, 2007 from Bilaspur and Narayan Sanyal was only made an accused in July 2007, who was already an under trial detained in the Bilaspur Jail in another case. The Charge sheet was filed in August, 2007. The charges were framed on 27th December, 2007 and subsequently the trial began. The trial lasted for two years where 97prosecution witnesses and 12 defence witnesses deposed. Many of the prosecution witnesses were policemen. Three judges presided over the two year trial. They were Judge Saluja, Judge Ganpat Rao and finally Judge B P Verma (a judge awaiting confirmation in the lower judiciary). The judgement would have taken longer had it not been for the Supreme Court, which on a bail application filed by Pijush Guha ordered in October, 2010 that the trial be completed in three months.

The Analysis of the Judgement

The Second Additional Sessions Judge, Raipur B.P. Verma has sentenced human rights defender Dr. Binayak Sen, Kolkata businessman Pijush Guha and Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal for rigorous life imprisonment and shorter prison terms, to run concurrently under Sections 124A read with Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 8(1), 8(2), 8(3) and 8(5) of the Chhattisgarh Vishesh Jan Suraksha Adhiniyam, 2005 (Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act) and Section 39(2) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. Narayan Sanyal has been additionally sentenced under Section 20 of the UAPA Act, 1967. Briefly put Section 124A read with Section 120B of IPC pertains to sedition and conspiracy for sedition; CSPSA, 2005 makes culpable membership of, association with, and furthering the interests, financially or otherwise, of organizations notified and banned under the Act as unlawful. UAPA, 1967 seeks to penalize membership of a terrorist gang or association, holding proceeds of terrorism, or support given to a terrorist organization.

To hold the three accused guilty under the above mentioned laws, the judgment had to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the accused were either directly indulging in seditious activities as individuals or as members of an organization, or conspiring to abet and further seditious activities of individuals or organization. Also, the judgment was to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the accused were either members of organizations notified as unlawful under CSPSA or/ and UAPA, or conspiring to abet and further the activities of such unlawful organizations. Judge Verma’s verdict weaves a flawed legal narrative trying to establish the aforementioned links.

Judge Verma’s narrative hinges on the following points:

  • Narayan Sanyal is a member of the highest decision making body, Politburo, of CPI (Maoist) a seditious organization and notified as unlawful under the CSPSA and UAPA. As a basis for this, the judgment cites the content of certain journals purported to be organs of the CPI (Maoist) and certain cases lodged against him for Maoist activities in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand. The above-mentioned magazines have been reportedly seized from co-accused Pijush Guha who has contended that they were planted on him by the police. The judge has unquestioningly accepted the version of the police on the basis of the supposed testimony of the seizure witness Anil Singh, ignoring the objections of Pijush Guha and co-accused Binayak Sen to the effect that the seizure witness had claimed to overhear a conversation between Guha and the police in a situation where the police had Guha in their custody, and any statement made by Guha to the police in a custodial situation is inadmissible as evidence under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. It should not be forgotten that the seizure witness Anil Singh did not accompany the police when they came to apprehend and search Guha, but was supposedly a passerby, who was stopped by the police when Guha was already in their custody. The judge has held Narayan Sanyal to be a member of CPI (Maoist) on the basis of cases against him in other states in which he has not yet been pronounced guilty.
  • The central point around which the verdict’s narrative is woven is the arrest and seizure of certain articles, including the abovementioned journals and three letters supposedly written by Narayan Sanyal to his party comrades, handed over to Binayak Sen when he met Sanyal in jail, and then handed over by Sen to Pijush Guha who was supposed to pass it on to Sanyal’s party comrades. This supposedly establishes a chain binding the three in a conspiratorial relationship. According to this supposed conspiratorial chain, Narayan Sanyal is a leader of a seditious organization also notified as unlawful and as such banned; Binayak Sen conspires with Sanyal to pass on his letters to his party comrades through Guha, thus both Sen and Guha assist in the activities of a seditious and unlawful organization. In constructing this conspiratorial chain, the Judge has relied on forensic evidence testifying that the letters were indeed written by Sanyal, but for them being in possession of Pijush Guha, he has relied solely on the evidence of police officers and seizure witness Anil Singh whose versions have been contested by Guha but ignored by the Judge. Guha’s statement before the Magistrate which was recorded when he was produced on the 7th of May, 2007 says that he was arrested on 1.5.2007 from Mahindra Hotel, kept in illegal custody blindfolded for six days and finally produced before a Magistrate only on 7.5.2007. The Judge has ignored even Guha’s statement to this effect made before the Magistrate as soon as he was produced. Judge Verma has said in his verdict that Guha has failed to produce any evidence in favour of his statement, thereby putting the onus of proof on the accused and not the prosecution, which is bad in law. (Neither the CSPSA or UAPA (2004) puts the burden of proof on the accused.
  • The Judge has also ignored the contradiction between the police affidavit filed before the Supreme Court while opposing the bail application of Binayak Sen and the police version presented in the charge sheet filed in the sessions court. In the Supreme Court the police said that Guha had been arrested from Mahindra Hotel (which Guha has alleged in his testimony) but in the sessions court the police have said that Guha was arrested from Station Road where the police supposedly seized the aforementioned incriminating articles in the presence of seizure witness Anil Singh. The police’s flimsy argument, that the discrepancy was because of a typographical error in the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, has been fully accepted by Judge Verma. Actually, the police officer responsible should be tried for either filing a false affidavit in the Apex Court, or lying in the Sessions court under oath. Accepting Guha’s testimony would have rendered the seizure witness’s statement implausible on which the Judge has centrally relied for his narrative. This would have in turn resulted in a complete collapse of the case against all the accused, especially so against Guha and Binayak Sen, against whom there was no material evidence of either being a member of CPI (Maoist) or being in conspiratorial relationship with  Narayan Sanyal, the principal Maoist character in Judge Verma’s narrative.
  • Once the central conspiratorial point and incident has been constructed in the judicial narrative, conspiratorial linkages between the three accused and their common causes and actions before the incident also needed to be established. This has been attempted in Pijush Guha’s case by a reference to his frequent visits to Raipur and a case pending in district Purulia, West Bengal. Judge Verma has ignored the fact that Guha was made an accused in the Purulia case after 6.5.2007, the date on which he is said to have been arrested in Raipur. This fact strongly generates a suspicion of afterthought by the police of the two states acting in collusion. Judge Verma’s verdict also naturally ignores the fact that Pijush Guha’s frequent visits are explained by his being a tendu leaf trader trading in the areas of Chhattisgarh.
  • Binayak Sen’s supposed conspiratorial relationship with Narayan Sanyal and his seditious Maoist causes is sought to be established by the following:

1. Testimony of the so called Landlord of Narayan Sanyal

Deepak Choubey’ in his testimony stated that he accepted Narayan Sanyal as a tenant in his house on the recommendation of Binayak Sen some time before Sanyal’s arrest.

The Judge has ignored the fact that Deepak Choubey did not own the house but acted on behalf of his brother in law. More crucially, the Judge set aside Sen’s objection that Choubey’s assertion came in response to a leading question by the Public Prosecutor. Judge Verma’s verdict makes no reference to Sen’s objections against this witness going beyond his statement under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C., and the fact that the witness admitted in cross examination that an earlier statement recorded by the police at the time when allegedly a Maoist leader was arrested from his house was not brought on record. This casts doubt as to the veracity of the statement made subsequently since the same could be manipulated so as to suit the Prosecution story.  Judge Verma rejected Sen’s contention that Choubey’s statement was made under duress because the police threatened to implicate him in context of the said arrest. It also does not take into account the contradiction with the police’s own version that Narayan Sanyal was arrested from Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh to which effect police officers of Andhra Pradesh have testified.

2. Binayak Sen’s thirty three meetings in eighteen months with jailed Narayan Sanyal.

The judge without giving any reason has ignored Sen’s contention that he was merely performing his duty as a human rights activist and a physician in addressing the legal and health issues of an ailing undertrial prisoner on the request of the undertrial’s family. The Judge has not considered the documents exhibited by the defence showing that Sen had permission from the Senior Superintendent of Police for his jail visits. Instead, Judge Verma’s verdict makes a convoluted argument by holding that Sanyal’s sister-in-law’s (Bula Sanyal’s) phone calls to Binayak Sen in this regard proved a conspiratorial relationship between him and Narayan Sanyal, whereas Bula Sanyal is a housewife absolutely unconnected with any kind of Maoist/ unlawful activity. Since the prosecution failed to produce even a single jail official or any other eye witness testifying to any letter or message, oral or written, being passed by Narayan Sanyal to Binayak Sen in their jail meetings, the verdict makes much fuss about certain entries in jail registers referring to Sen being Sanyal’s relative, ignoring the defence contention that these entries were filled in by the jail officials, and not by either the visited or visitor, as apparent from the face of the record. On the contrary, all the applications Binayak Sen submitted to the jail officials, requesting a meeting with Sanyal, were written on the letterhead of his organization – PUCL (a Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights organization founded by leading Sarvodaya leader Jayprakash Narayan). These visits were duly permitted by the jail officials and transpired in their full view and hearing.

3. Binayak Sen’s relationship with the CPI (Maoists)

3.1 That Binayak Sen had a close relationship with CPI (Maoist) is sought to be established by the unsubstantiated testimonies of police officials claiming that Sen and his wife Ilina Sen had assisted alleged hard core Maoists Shankar Singh and Amita Srivastava. Sen has not disputed that Shankar was employed by Rupantar – an NGO founded by his wife Ilina. Nor has he disputed that he and Ilina knew Amita Srivastava whom the latter, on the recommendation of a friend, had helped find a job in a school. But the Judge has just accepted the police’s word, without any other testimony or material evidence whatsoever that Shankar and Amita were Maoists.

3.2 Judge Verma has also wrongly concluded, on the basis of hearsay by the police, that one Malati employed by Rupantar was the same person as Shantipriya, also using the alias Malati, a Maoist leader’s wife convicted for 10 years in a case tried in another court in Raipur. The judge has not even mentioned or verified the defence evidence put on record that the Malati employed by Rupantar was actually Malati Jadhav, whose address was provided by defence witness Prahlad Sahu.

3.3. Judge Verma’s narrative seems to have a particular fondness for police hearsay as he has blindly accepted, without any corroboration by another witness or any material evidence, wild allegations made by police officials Vijay Thakur and Sher Singh Bande, officer in charge of Konta and Chhuria police stations respectively that Binayak Sen, his wife Ilina Sen and other PUCL members and human rights activists attended the meetings of Maoists in their respective areas.  These officials have gone well beyond their Section 161 statements introducing documents not earlier annexed with the charge sheet, and all defence objections in this regard were overruled by the Judge.

3.4 But a certain planted letter, exhibit A-37, takes the cake in Judge Verma’s narrative. This unsigned letter, supposedly written by the Central Committee of CPI (Maoist) to Binayak Sen, was claimed by the police to have been seized from Sen’s house when the police ran a search there. But this letter finds no mention in the seizure list, neither has it been signed by Sen nor the investigating officers nor the search witnesses as per proper procedural requirement. The said letter was also not part of the copy of the charge sheet received by Sen in the court. But the Judge has completely overlooked this obvious planting of evidence, accepting the ridiculous explanation provided by investigating officers BS Jagrit and BBS Rajput that the Article A-37 probably stuck to another article (chipak gaya tha) and hence could not get signed by either Sen or the investigating officer or search witnesses. It is no surprise that the judge has also ignored the very valid testimonies of defence witnesses Amit Bannerji and Mahesh Mahobe in this context.

3.5 The verdict lets the cat of its ideological bias out of the bag , however, when it accepts above the Supreme Court’s wise judicial pronouncements which were brought on record in the case by Sen, the testimony of a mere district collector KR Pisda in charge of Dantewada district that Salwa Judum was a peaceful and spontaneous protest movement of the tribals against the atrocities committed by the Maoists, and not a brutal and armed vigilante operation sponsored by the state. Later in his judgment Judge Verma insinuates that Binayak Sen’s principled opposition as a human rights defender to such a non-legal, repressive, brutal vigilante operation indulging in mayhem and violence put him in the Maoist camp against whom the Salwa Judum was targeted.

Not taking into cognizance the evidence provided by the Defence

The statement made by Binayak Sen, the evidence that he brought on record as to his work as a human rights activist, and the newspaper reports which were exhibited by the defence carrying statements of the then DGP Police threatening to take human rights activists to task, which reveal prima facie malice and motive have not been taken into consideration by the Judge, who appears to have considered and relied only upon that interpretation of the evidence that supported the prosecution case without a reasoned consideration of the lacunae and contradictions therein, the objections of the defence and the evidence adduced by Sen, or even the well settled legal principles on which the defence rested its  arguments.

Using the legal provision of sedition as a political instrument

While weaving a narrative of sedition against Binayak Sen and other accused in the case, the Sessions court verdict violates a well laid judicial principle of the Supreme Court in matters of sedition. InKedarnath Singh Vs State of Bihar the Supreme Court has held that the provision of sedition in the Indian Penal Code must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the fundamental freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. In this regard the Supreme Court held that the offence of sedition, which is defined as spreading disaffection against the state, should be considered as having been committed only if the said disaffection is a direct incitement to violence or will lead to serious public disorder. No speech or deed milder than this should be considered seditious. The Sessions court verdict in the case against Binayak Sen and others fails to establish that the words or deeds of the accused were a direct incitement to violence or would lead to serious public disorder. This would be the case even if it was established beyond doubt that Binayak Sen had passed on Narayan Sanyal’s letters to Pijush Guha, or Pijush Guha was likely to pass on these letters to other members of the CPI (Maoist), or that Narayan Sanyal was a politburo member of the CPI (Maoist).


Binayak Sen Case Update

We reproduce this item, sent to us by Prof. Kavita Panjabi. This shows the real face of Operation Green Hunt.


The Binayak Sen Case Update

Five days later, on December 24, the Raipur sessions court will deliver its verdict in the Dr Binayak Sen case. Supriya Sharma in Raipur puts together the legal evidence and arguments by both the prosecution and defence on which the court will base its judgment. 

Over the last week, a battery of lawyers engaged in a marathon summation of evidence and arguments in a two-and-half year long trial, in a small square court room, with three men crammed in the dock. 

One among them was a familiar and famous face — award-winning doctor and civil rights activist Binayak Sen, whose arrest and two year incarceration had triggered headlines and protests. 

The other two — Narayan Sanyal, an old man, in his 70s, allegedly a Maoist ideologue, and Piyush Guha, a 30-year-old Kolkata-based businessman — may not have elicited much attention, remaining peripheral in the public mind, but in the case, they are as central as Sen. 

In fact, the fate of all three men is intertwined since the prime charge they face is conspiracy for war against the state and treason under Section 121A and 124A of the Indian Penal Code, apart from being members of a banned organisation. 

"There can be no direct evidence for conspiracy," contended the special public prosecutor, T C Pandya, as he made a quick wrap up of the accusations levelled by Chhattisgarh government. Binayak Sen met Narayan Sanyal in prison 33 times between May 26 and June 30, 2007, carrying out seditious letters, and passing them to Piyush Guha, who was arrested on May 6, with three of the letters. Sen, Pandya alleged, was part of an effort to establish an urban network of the banned extremist group CPI (Maoist). 

A handwriting expert verified in court that the letters were written by Sanyal. But is there evidence that they were handed over to Sen, or that he passed them onto Guha, or that Guha was indeed found carrying those letters? 

With 'no direct evidence' to present, Pandya piled inferences over circumstances, while Sen's lawyer, advocate Surinder Singh cited a Supreme Court judgement from 2009: "There is no doubt that conviction can be based on circumstantial evidence but in cases where evidence is circumstantial in nature... all facts need to be consistent with hypothesis... and no alternative hypothesis should be possible". 

Do the prosecution's inferences pass this test? Here is a brief wrap up of the prosecution's claims and inferences, and the defence's counter arguments: 

Article 37 

This is a letter purportedly written by the Maoists to Sen, that Pandya claims was seized from his house by the police. In the typewritten letter, the Maoists thank Sen for his work and ask him to take a fact-finding team to Sarguja to probe police atrocities. "It is evident from the letter that Sen was not just in correspondence with Maoists, he even acted on their behalf," said the public prosecutor. But the defence argued the letter was planted by the police. "For a letter sent more than two years ago, it is curiously fresh, without a single fold," said Surinder Singh, Sen's lawyer. 

Besides, he argued, while all other objects found during the search were noted in a seizure memo and corroborated on the spot by signatures of Sen and the investigating officers, just this letter — the most significant of all the seizures — was unsigned. As explanation, the prosecution said it perhaps got stuck to other documents and went unnoticed and unsigned. The prosecutor also claimed: "If the police had to fabricate and plant evidence, they would have planted something more incriminating". 

The Cloth Merchant 

The prosecution produced Anil Kumar Singh, a cloth merchant, as the sole independent witness for Guha's arrest. In court, he testified that he was hailed down by the police on station road on May 6, 2007, where he saw Guha being searched by the police, and the three incriminating letters being found in his bag. He said he even heard Guha confess. But the defence pointed out a contradiction: in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, BBS Rajpoot, the investigating officer, stated that Guha was picked up not from station road but from Mahindra hotel. 

The Hotel Managers 

The prosecution claimed Guha stayed in Mahindra Hotel where Sen visited him. For this, they produced the statements of Rajkumar Namdeo, the manager of the hotel, and Balram Soni, the receptionist. In court, both witnesses turned hostile. 

The Jailors 

"Binayak Sen meet Sanyal 33 times in less than 35 days," underlined the prosecution. The defence responded that Sen visited Sanyal on his brother's request, applying on a People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) letterhead each time, and getting clearances by the jail and police officers. "The meetings took place in the jailor's room. Instead of talking in English or Bengali, they stuck to Hindi, so that every word could be heard and understood by the supervising officer. Where does that leave room for conspiracy or passing letters?" contended Singh, Sen's lawyer. Half a dozen jail officials appeared in court and stated that all meetings between Sanyal and Sen were strictly supervised. 

The Landlords 

Much before the meetings in jail, Sen knew Sanyal. He even helped him find a house in Raipur, stated the prosecution. To prove this, they called Deepak Choubey to court. Choubey claimed he let out his father-in-law's house in Daulat Estate to Sanyal on Sen's recommendation. He said he did not realize anything was amiss till January 2006 when he went to collect rent and was told by his neighbour 'Sharma ji' that Andhra Police had swooped down and arrested his tenant in the last days of December. The defence pointed out a contradiction: according to the testimony of a police officer, Sanyal had been arrested not in Raipur, but in Bhadrachalam. 


When a sub-inspector Prakash Soni was kidnapped, the Maoists asked for the withdrawal of CRPF from Maoist areas in return for his release. So did PUCL, claimed Pandya. "This showed PUCL is a hiteshi sangathan or sympathetic front organisation of the Maoists. It is not even a registered body," he said. Even Rupantar, the NGO run by Sen's wife Ilina, was suspect. One of its employee Shankar Singh is a hardcore Naxal who is currently absconding, added Pandya. 

The defence countered: PUCL was founded by the socialist stalwart, Jayaprakash Narayan in the post Emergency years, and has boasted a series of distinguished members, including former Justices V M Tarkunde and Rajinder Sachar. As far as Rupantar goes, there are no cases against Shankar Singh, responded the defence, adding: "the state government is funding Rupantar. Should we presume the state government is funding Naxalites? This is scandalous and defamatory". 


In two postcards seized from Sen's house, he is addressed as 'Comrade Binayak Sen'. In printouts of his computer's records, his wife Ilina Sen writes an email to 'Comrade Kusumlata'. "Comrade ussi ko kehte hai jo Maowadi hai," argued Pandya. Not true, responded the defence, even Communists use the term, it is just a takiyakalaam, a common expression. "It is a citizen's right to embrace Communism," said Singh. (Outside court, Ilina Sen clarified Comrade Kusumlata was Kusumlata Kedia of the Gandhi Institute in Varanasi). 

Jungle Meetings 

Investigating officer BBS Rajpoot claimed to have seen a video recording showing Sen meeting Naxalites inside a forest, but when questioned by the defence whether those Naxalites were armed and uniformed, he could not give a clear answer. The defence has requested the judge to watch the recording. Another police officer claimed Sen had participated in Maoist meetings in the jungle, but on cross examination, conceded it could be hearsay. 

Naxal Literature 

The objects seized from Sen's house included anti-imperialist pamphlets, postcards by jailed Maoists, and the magazine 'People's March', that the prosecution argued established Sen's sympathies for the Maoists, as well as close links. The defence pointed out that People's March was a registered publication. Invoking the freedom of speech and thought, and citing similar cases, Surinder Singh said, "reading Mao's collected speeches does not make someone a Maoist". 

More Letters 

The prosecution produced a letter that PUCL member Shoma Sen wrote to her husband, Tushar Kant Bhattacharya. Arrested in Patna and currently in Hyderabad jail, he was charged with being a Maoist. The letter said: "I am enclosing a small note from Bijoya da from jail, given to Binayak Sen". The prosecution claimed Bijoya Da is an alias for Narayan Sanyal. But the defence said it was instead a name used by Madanlal Barkhade, a jailed Maoist who had posted a note to Sen, complaining about the appalling conditions in the prison. 

As he concluded his brief, Sen's lawyer Surender Singh asked, "Do we not have the right to criticize the government?" He accused the government of "fabricating evidence by hook or crook with the sole motive of crushing Sen's voice", since Sen had been a fierce critic of Salwa Judum, the state supported anti-Maoist movement. 

These are broadly the arguments that sessions court judge B P Varma must take into account when he delivers a verdict in the case on Friday, December 24. 

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


*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

* *

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

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!


Women Call for action against shopian


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


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.



- 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.



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