From Kathmandu, Saturday, June 17, 2006

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IN THIS ISSUE OF CDDB :

  1. NBA Convention on ‘Myths, Lies and the Narmada Betrayal’ on Sunday 18th June 2006 (NBA Baroda, June 14)
  2. Press Note : ‘The Oversight Group’s survey of SSP may prove a mere ploy to legitimise official claims’ (NBA Baroda, June 15/16)
  3. Attack On Office Of Mahesh Bhatt Condemned (Jamiat, June 15/16)
  4. Hunger Fast Starts in US (Students for Bhopal, June 16)
  5. The ghosts of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy continues to haunt the Dow group of companies; Dow Group jittery over mistaken identity (Tim Edwards, June 13)
  6. Mumbai Slum Struggle Update | June 12, 2006 (Eviction Watch, June 12)

“There Is A Fury Building Up Across India” (Arundhati Roy, April 29 – see CDDB 29)

Jai Sen, for CACIM

Note : The CDDB (CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin) is a digest of material on the struggles that have been going on for twenty and more years, and have recently intensified, in Bhopal, the Narmada valley, and Delhi, for a place to live in security and dignity – and everything that goes with that. The CDDB series started during late March and April 2006, when all three movements were holding protests in Delhi, and with the Bhopal and Narmada movements on ‘dharna’ (sit-down strike) simultaneously at a place called ‘Jantar Mantar’ in the city. See CDDB 1 and 2 for more details on Jantar Mantar and the demos. All back issues of this Bulletin (the CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin), number 0 onwards, are available @ : https://www.cacim.net/twiki/tiki-view_articles.php?type=article&topic=1https://www.cacim.net/twiki/tiki-view_articles.php?type=article&topic=1

Disclaimer : The views of the author/s of the articles featured here are not necessarily those of this Bulletin (and vice versa). You may copy and print extracts from this Bulletin for your own personal and non-commercial use only.

Some sites for more information : Go to www.cacim.net (external link) https://www.cacim.net and see ‘Newsclippings’ and ‘Links’.


[1]

On 14.6.06 6:34 pm, “baroda@narmada.org” baroda@narmada.org wrote:

Convention on
‘MYTHS, LIES AND THE NARMADA BETRAYAL’
on
Sunday 18th June 2006
10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Indian Social Institute
3rd floor auditorium
10, Lodhi Institutional Area (behind Sai Baba Mandir), New Delhi

13 June, 2006

Dear Friends,

As you know, the struggle of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) reached a high point in March – April with the month long dharna and hunger strike in Delhi. Despite three activists putting their lives on the line for justice, despite the Group of Ministers’ report on failed rehabilitation, and despite scathing evidence against the lies of the MP government, both the Supreme Court and the central and state governments have chosen to ignore the truth and side with the powerful pro-dam lobby thereby silently sanctioning the devastation of the Narmada Valley and over 35,000 families.

The way Manmohan Singh and the UPA government subverted the law and succumbed to political pressures, shocked many. The report of the three Ministers’ team – the first of its kind to the Narmada valley – vindicated what the NBA has been saying about the failure of rehabilitation, but was conveniently swept under the rug, while Manmohan Singh refused to take action or stand by his Cabinet colleagues’ findings.

Worse still, the Supreme Court after postponing its decision for two months, violated its own former orders and gave a clean chit to the illegality and injustice being perpetuated by the ongoing construction of the dam. The one alarming message that emerged from the Supreme Court’s order was an assurance to governments that they could fearlessly continue violating the law, even when such a violation was entirely unconstitutional and jeopardized the lives and livelihoods of thousands.

The last eyewash in this undemocratic process was Manmohan Singh’s appointment of the Oversight Group headed by V.K. Shunglu – which is merely a means to delay and deny justice to the people. While the construction of the dam continues in violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Supreme Court orders of 2000 and 2005, and while the Group of Ministers has already clearly reported non-compliance with rehabilitation laws, the survey being conducted by the Oversight Group under the auspices of the NSSO has little purpose, apart from allowing the construction of the dam to be a fate accompli.

The Shunglu Committee is almost done with its survey in MP and is expected to submit its report by 30 June 2006. However, the Committee’s mode of operation and its survey methodology have been highly problematic. Surveys have not been exhaustive or comprehensive. Instead they have been carried out very hurriedly, in few areas, and without adequate consultation with the people. Ignoring the suggestions of the NBA, the Committee did not visit Gujarat and Maharashtra, which are also affected by the dam; neither did it agree to submit an interim report of its findings.

By the time the Committee completes its final report and by the time the Supreme Court reconvenes on 10 July to take stock of the situation, the dam would have reached 121.92 metres and, by then, the monsoon would have intensified in the Valley. Neither the Court, nor the Oversight Group can control the rains. A normal monsoon would spell doom to thousands of adivasi and farmer families, would submerge their houses, fields, and villages, and would destroy rich archeological treasures and forests.

The situation is indeed grim.

With every democratic process failing to provide them with a just recourse, representatives of the affected communities from the Narmada Valley will be coming to Delhi on June 18 and 19 to stage a dharna at Jantar Mantar, and to once again, raise their voices against this ongoing injustice, perverse political posturing, and complete failure of law and governance.

We, the Delhi Solidarity Group for the NBA feel that the gravity of the current situation calls for a larger discussion on the issue with civil society, social movements, representatives of political parties, academicians, and other supporters.

It in this context that we would like to invite you to join us for a Convention on:

‘MYTHS, LIES AND THE NARMADA BETRAYAL’
on
Sunday 18th June 2006
10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Indian Social Institute
3rd floor auditorium
10, Lodhi Institutional Area (behind Sai Baba Mandir), New Delhi

The day will be structured around 3 main sessions:

10:30 – 11:00 am: Inauguration

11:00 – 12:00 pm Failure of Governance in the Narmada This session will include exposing the myths and lies, with testimonies from the Valley, and interventions by academicians and policy specialists. The session will cover:
– the silence and ‘games’ of the government, including failed responsibility
– the denial of the Group of Minister’s report: why?
– the modus operandi of the Oversight Group and its shortcomings

12:00 – 1 pm: Failure of Law and Violation of Justice This session will reveal how the Supreme Court orders have been flouted and how the SC has also succumbed to political pressure in complete violation of the law. It will also discuss the continued denial of justice not just by the Courts, but by all government agencies, including the case of recent evictions in Delhi.

1 – 2 pm: Lunch

2 – 3:00 pm: The Politics of Displacement The politics behind the Sardar Sarovar dam are indeed complex and ugly. A panel of select representatives of political parties and NBA activists will share their views and discuss how human rights and the Constitution are violated for meeting petty political interests, not just in the Narmada, but in all projects involving displacement and evictions.

3:00 – 4:00 pm: Questions and Open Discussion

We request you to participate in this convention and express your views on the issue, also keeping in mind the broader implications of, and connections with, large-scale displacement and forced evictions that are taking place all over the country. It is important for us, more than ever before, to come together, join forces, and develop effective strategies to counter the anti-people and undemocratic powers that be.

We look forward to your active participation and support.

in solidarity,

Vijayan MJ, Shivani Chaudhry, Rajendra Ravi, Shree Prakash
(on behalf of Delhi Solidarity Group for NBA)

For more details, please contact: 9868 114470, 9818 030423, 98682 00316, 9868 165471


[2]

On 16.6.06 11:23am, “baroda@narmada.org” baroda@narmada.org wrote:

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN

– 62 M.G. Marg, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh 451551. Ph: 07290-222464
– Maitri Niwas, Tembewadi, Dhadgaon, dist Nandurbar, Maharashtra. Ph: 02595-220620
– c/o B-13 Shivam Flats, Ellora Park, Baroda, Gujarat 390023. Ph: 0265-2282232
Press Note

June 15th, 2006

* THE OVERSIGHT GROUP’S SURVEY OF SSP MAY PROVE A MERE PLOY TO LEGITIMISE OFFICIAL CLAIMS

* PRIVATISATION IN OSG’S INVESTIGATION WITH NO TRANSPARENCY AND INVOLVEMENT OF PEOPLE’S ORGANIZATION INDICATIVE OF FLAWED METHODOLOGY

The Oversight Group (OSG) appointed by the Prime Minister of India during the Narmada Bachao Andolan‚s month-long struggle in Delhi appears to have undertaken a survey that may prove to be just eyewash. The Terms of Reference and the timing of the investigation into rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar affected people itself is problematic and NBA had clearly explained the same, during its meeting with the group on May 17th, and through various written submissions to the OSG. So, by the time its report is out and considered, the dam height would have been raised to the targeted height of 122 m. This will make the submergence of almost 200 villages (depending on level of rainfall) a fate accompli and the report will be rendered redundant.

The NBA tried to and did cooperate with the OSG and the NSSO teams, also made an elaborate presentation on the methodology and the objectives of the survey that should be pursued. We demanded that the committee should investigate into the compliance with the Narmada Tribunal Award in letter and spirit. This would mean, questioning the situation of no offer of agricultural land made to the oustees or ex-part allotment of land made on paper, of land allotted in some distant part of Gujarat against the farmers‚ choice. It also must be investigated how the government of M.P. is offering only cash in lieu of land with a gigantic amount of corruption by all the officials involved, which many farmers fell prey to. It would also mean looking into the left out families who are eligible but whose names are not on record, as also the false names who have been included into the lists only due to rampant corruption. There are 34 such names in one village Piplud in Badwani district in whose names

Adequate house plots compared to the required number to be allotted one year before submergence as also amenities, existing and functional. All these and more information could be obtained from the villagers who are still residing in he original villages. However, there has been a conscious effort not to involve the villagers in the process at all, and as a result only partial information has been collected. In district Jhabua, the hilly adivasi villages, the surveyors went without any questionnaire & in some villages, without even the official Action Taken Report (ATR). The surveyors accompanied by the former NVDA officials and patwaris went and stayed for a short while (in Kamat faliya of Kakrana village didn‚t even get down from the boats, in village Jhandana spent only about 20 mins talking to people) and asked a few questions only to those few who were available. They didn‚t even inform all the villagers about their visit and changed the date of visit that had been informed to villagers earlier.

With all this, the NSSO survey will not bring out the total reality, and we are afraid this exercise carried out fully with NVDA officials will be used to try and prove that NBA, the affected people as well as the Group of Ministers, wrong and the governments claim to be right.

Moreover, the latest blunder is, the committee has appointed a private company, Infrastructure Development Consultancy (IDC) of Bhopal, with a contract worth lakhs of rupees, to verify a small sample of the NSSO data. This verification is being done by 19 and 20-year old boys with very little information about the policies etc and certainly no knowledge about socio-economic surveys. They are headed by one S.P. Singh Bhaduria. When villagers and activists, Bhaduria pretended that he was from Dainik Jagran newspaper, and claimed to be conducting media research and gathering press stories. This just proves that the private company is very secretive and non-transparent about its work, and in fact is lying to affected villagers as well. Is this what the Oversight Group intended in its survey?

As judged by our activists with years of experience, were in the field for a handful of days, and this too seems to be a step taken to make a point that the committee has looked into, reviewed and confirmed the data, whereas this verification by this group of people is truly a joke. Such a measure of privatisation entering into the work of a PMO-appointed committee of former bureaucrats is certainly condemnable. The OSG and NSSO avoided the affected people, their Gram Sabhas and volunteer activists, and put their trust in a shady private company instead. While the concerned citizens, the court and the world await the OSG‚s report, the situations seem to be grave, and the expensive and belated exercise may just prove to be a ploy to reconfirm the official data instead of extracting the truth and the reason of a serious conflict between the people & the state. NBA reiterates its warning to the state and the Prime Minister, who initiated this flawed process, that thousands of families to be affected during the impending monsoon and flood will be not just victims of development but of the killer Sardar Sarovar dam and the criminal State. All the eminent supporters of NBA from people‚s movements and political parties are to march in Delhi on June 18th 2006 to continue the campaign and challenge the UPA government.

Medha Patkar Ashish Mandloi Shanta Yadav


[3] ATTACK ON OFFICE OF MAHESH BHATT CONDEMNED

On 16.6.06 12:48 pm, “Jamiat” jamiatulama@bol.net.in wrote:

Press Release

For favour of publication

New Delhi, June 15, 2006

Maulana Mahmood Madani, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind?, presently on foreign religious tour, has strongly condemned the firing at the office of the famous film producer, Mahesh Bhatt. He suspects it to be the mischief of extremists and communal elements. Mahesh Bhatt has always raised his voice against the tyrants, in support of the weak and suppressed. Several times he has spoken from the platform of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind?, challenging the might of extremists and exploiters. Maulana Madani declared that it is essential to challenge and fight the extremists and communal elements wherever thy might be. Those who have faith in peace and rule of law must stand up in support of courageous persons like Mahesh Bhatt. We have resolved firmly to stand behind him with full force at our command. Amir Khan too has taken a firm stand in support of rehabilitation of the displaced and also against communalists. In the fight against communalism and extremism, we should not see that who has spoken. Whether it is Mahesh Bhatt or Amir Khan, wherever there is an attempt to suppress the voice in support of truth that must be resisted.

Dear Sir,
Kindly publish the Press Release and oblige.

Abdul Hameed Noumani
Press Secretary

[4] HUNGER FAST STARTS IN US

On 16.6.06 12:53am, “by way of Spartacus rbodanyi@studentsforbhopal.org” WilsonAlamobay@aol.com wrote:

June 15, 2006

Dear diane wilson,

President Bush makes a stealth visit to the Green Zone in Baghdad for a quick photo op with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, while Iraqis are plagued by ongoing violence PROVOKED by the very presence of the US troops. Hillary Clinton, the most likely Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, supports the war and believes we shouldn’t set a timetable for withdrawal. And when elected officials finally make a positive move, in both the House and Senate, by passing an amendment against permanent bases in Iraq, the amendment is simply yanked from the bill in the conference committee. If we don’t do more to stop the US occupation of Iraq, we will be there for DECADES to come, and our children and children’s children will live is a state of perpetual war.

US soldiers have been forced to put their bodies on the line; the lives of the Iraqi people are at risk every day. It’s time for us to do something to show the depth of our commitment to bring our troops home and allow the Iraqis to rebuild their own nation. That’s why CODEPINK and Gold Star Families for Peace, together with activists across the country, will be starting an open-ended hunger strike, called Troops Home Fast, on July 4th, in front of the White House and around the country.

“We’ve marched, held vigils, lobbied Congress, camped out at Bush’s ranch. We’ve even gone to jail. Now it’s time to do more,” says Cindy Sheehan. “While others are celebrating July 4th with barbeques and fireworks, we’ll be showing our patriotism by putting our bodies on the line to bring our troops home.”

As a sign of solidarity with Cindy, CODEPINK and the other long-term fasters, we are asking you to join us by fasting for at least one day. It could be on July 4, our launch date, or any other time during the summer. You can fast from wherever you are, or better yet, join us in Washington DC. We’ve already received commitments from hundreds of people, including Susan Sarandon, Willie Nelson, Danny Glover, Dick Gregory, Dolores Huerta, Eve Ensler, as well as military veterans, religious leaders, students, and women’s groups. Go to our new website www.troopshomefast.org to see who’s fasting and to sign up.

Diane Wilson, who has engaged in several other hunger strikes in her history as an environmental activist, says she will not set an end date to her fast. “My goal is to bring the troops home. I don’t know how long I can fast, but I’m making this open-ended,” she says. “I plan to take this as far as I’ve ever taken anything in my 58 years. I fear our future is at stake, and I’m ready to make a major sacrifice.” Click here~ to read more about Diane’s reasons for making this commitment.

Throughout history, fasts have been used to end wars, gain the right to vote, free political prisoners, improve conditions for workers (click here to read more). With your help, this fast will awaken the public, pressure elected officials and move us closer to peace. Please join us for a day or more as a show of support for the Iraqi people and our soldiers, and your commitment to bring our troops back home-FAST!

In peace,

Allison, Dana, Farida, Gael, Jodie, Katie, Medea, Nancy, Rae, Samantha and Tiffany P.S. Join with us this summer in one of our many travel opportunities, from a New Orleans work camp to Camp Casey in Crawford to a retreat/spa in Austin. Click here for info. Also check out our summer reading list with books to inspire your summer activism. Sign the Voter’s Pledge affirming your dedication to vote for peace candidates by clicking here.

Don’t forget to forward this message to friends, and please consider making a donation towards our campaigns here.


[5]

On 13.6.06 6:27 pm, “tim edwards” tim@lifecycle.demon.co.uk wrote:

“One of those who raised concerns about possible investments in India was Dow Corning CEO Stephanie Burns. Headquartered in Michigan, Dow Corning is owned equally by the Dow Chemical Company and Corning Inc.

Even as Ms Burns showed keen interest to expand her company’s operations, she expressed the apprehension that protests over the gas tragedy in India might prove a stumbling block. ”

http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=130315

THE GHOSTS OF THE 1984 BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY CONTINUES TO HAUNT THE DOW GROUP OF COMPANIES

DOW GROUP JITTERY OVER MISTAKEN IDENTITY

ARUN S
Posted online: Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 0000 hours IST

NEW DELHI, JUNE 12: The ghosts of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy continues to haunt the Dow group of companies. Even after two decades, the tragedy’s fallouts could be an impediment to the Group’s investment plans in India.

This came to light in Greenbrier, USA during an interactive session that the CEOs of a clutch of multinational companies had with minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar.

One of those who raised concerns about possible investments in India was Dow Corning CEO Stephanie Burns. Headquartered in Michigan, Dow Corning is owned equally by the Dow Chemical Company and Corning Inc.

Even as Ms Burns showed keen interest to expand her company’s operations, she expressed the apprehension that protests over the gas tragedy in India might prove a stumbling block.

Dow Chemicals holds a part of equity in Union Carbide, the company accused of the gas tragedy.

Confirming the concerns raised by Dow Corning CEO, the minister told FE from the US that he assured her that the Indian government will act within the legal parameters and that the legitimate concerns of Dow Corning will be addressed.

When contacted, Dow Corning (India) head Raj Kapur said “We are very happy with our experience in India so far. In fact, we are committed to India and have made large investments here. Our only concern is that we don’t want to be misunderstood as the entity connected with the tragedy. We are a separate entity and have no connection with the businesses of Dow Chemicals and Union Carbide.”

French oil company Total SA’s CEO also expressed apprehension that the Petroleum Petrochemical Investment Regions may be exclusively driven by the Indian government and the public sector units.

This would not leave much choice for private initiative in the matter, he said.

Mr Kumar told FE that he informed the CEO that this was a flawed perspective and that the government was committed to being an enabler and facilitator.

He added that the government was looking forward to encouraging private sector investment in such regions.

What has given hope to the government is the positive response given by big multinationals like British Petroleum. The company’s executive Ifty Nasir reiterated its commitment to have a major presence in India, sources said.

— tim edwards


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[6] MUMBAI SLUM STRUGGLE UPDATE | JUNE 12, 2006

On 12.6.06 6:56 pm, “Eviction Watch” evictionwatch@yuvaindia.org wrote:

The struggle at Azad Maidan has entered 27th day today. Hundreds of women men and children are sitting in an indefinite agitation which started on May 17th after Mandala was demolished and set on fire by the Municipal authorities and the activists were cruelly beat up by the police. The demands include

  • Stop slum demolitions immediately
  • Declare demolition of Mandala illegal
  • Provide security of tenure and evolve affordable housing for the poor
  • Withdraw false cases against activists and stop police atrocities
  • Compensate the loss of houses burnt at Mandala

Discussions / Dialogues

The government has been highly indifferent to the struggle. Although the principal secretary of housing Mr. N. Rama Rao called for a meeting, he is yet to get back to the people as promised after discussing with the Chief Minister.

There was also a meeting with Mr. Gurudas Kamant, Member of Parliament and President of Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee. The agitators raised the issues of non compliance of earlier promises including legalisation and survey of people who are pre 2000 and demanded list of 5645 people whom the government claims who are eligible for legalization. This discussions are till now is indecisive and inconclusive.

MMRDA Chief criticized

Mr. Gurudas Kamat criticized MMRDA and it commissioner on corruption in building rehabilitation houses which turned into a major controversy in the state. He demanded strict action against Mr. Chandrasekhar for „misusing‰ his powers by getting poor quality tenements constructed for the displaced people.

Jeevanshala

A Jeevanshala (Balwadi) has started functioning in Azad Maidan and about 55 children attend the Balwadi regularly. Children of Mandala formally inaugurated the Balwadi in the presence of noted educationist and Magsaysay Award winner Mr. Sandeep Pandey. Many eminent persons including Mr. Annand Patwardhan, Ms Arundhathi Dhuru, Veteran Gandhian Mr. Daniel bhai etc attended the meeting.

The Balwadi was decorated with paintings drawn by the children and Ms Soni who works with the children of Mandala criticized the government for demolishing the earlier Jeevanshala leaving hundreds of children out of education.

Activists still in Jail

Twelve of activists including 3 women are still in Jail after being denied their bail in the Magistrate court. The activists are charged under attempt to murder. The case was manufactured to instill fear upon the slum dwellers and the demand is to withdraw all the false cases. A bail application is now being filed in the session‚s court.

TISS Report on Police Atrocities

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences came up with a report based on a rapid enquiry into the demolition and Fire on the 9th May 2006 at Indiranagar and Jantanagar in Mandala, Mankhurd.

The report clearly establishes among other things intimidation and excessive and arbitrary use of force by the police particularly on women and children. According to the report „The nature in which the demolition was carried out is akin to meting out collective punishment, a clear violation of national and international law. No enumeration of Œillegal‚ settlements was done and it appears neither was there any process of delimiting the area scheduled for demolition.‰

The report have documented cases of police excesses and violations in national and international law and has been submitted to the Government of Maharashtra.

( Pls request for a copy of the report which is available with Eviction Watch)

Monsoon and the Struggle at Azad Maidan

Monsoon has almost arrived in Mumbai and there were some heavy rains in the last week. The vulnerability of people who have become homeless has increased many fold with children and old people falling sick. Although the satyagraha pandal and balwadi collapsed on Sunday with the rains people worked in the rains to erect it again.

The struggle continues..

Maju Varghese