Category: Indian Struggles

Foreign Observers Arriving in Bilaspur for Binayak Sen Hearing

IANS | Yahoo News | 24/01/2011

An-eight member delegation of the European Union (EU) is expected to arrive in Bilaspur town Monday to attend a bail plea of rights activist Binayak Sen that is to be heard by the Chhattisgarh High Court. The EU delegation members who landed Sunday night in state capital Raipur amid protests of ‘Go Back’ by somebinayak-sen local groups left for Bilaspur town Monday by car to attend the hearing. The high court is based in Bilaspur town, 110 km from here.

Sen, 60, who is a People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) leader, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a district and sessions court in Raipur Dec 24 on sedition charges and his links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal. The court verdict has been widely slammed by human right activists in India and abroad who say he was victimised by the Chhattisgarh government for highlighting human right abuses.

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Text of the Arundhati Roy’s Statement Responding to the Threat of Arrest for Sedition

CommonDreams.org | Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have 2009-07-28-arundhati-roy-bwritten and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.

Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir that had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer’s husband and Asiya’s brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get insaf-justice-from India, and now believed that Azadi-freedom-was their only hope. I met young stone pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I traveled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones.

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Kashmir talks appear to end in deadlock

Reuters | Wed Sep 15, 2010 | 6:22pm IST

Tear gas canister A meeting of the Indian government and opposition parties to resolve spiraling separatist protests in Kashmir appeared to end in deadlock on Wednesday as four more protesters were killed in police clashes. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting came two days after 18 people were killed in the worst single episode of violence in two decades of violent rebellion against Indian rule and are the latest in a three-month long series of protests. The meeting failed to agree on a partial lifting of a widely-hated law that gives the army immunity from prosecution in case of civilian killings in the region. The only decision taken was to send a delegation of politicians to Kashmir.

Another 40 people were injured in the latest round of protests, in the Mendhar area of Poonch, a district which has rarely seen separatist demonstrations, about 120 km (75 miles) south of Kashmir’s summer capital, Srinagar. At least 90 people have been killed this summer, nearly all by police bullets. The protests appeared to have been sparked by reports of the Koran being destroyed in the United States but may have ballooned into anti-India demonstrations. "We had to open fire when our repeated attempts failed to disperse the mob who was trying to reach to a nearby Christian missionary school in the area," a police official said. Despite a U.S. pastor abandoning his plans to burn the Koran to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, there have been protests in Kashmir.

The latest deaths added pressure on the 77-year-old Singh, who has been criticised as being out of touch for failing to treat the protests seriously, underscoring policy limbo in New Delhi that may spill over into tension with Pakistan, which claims the region. The government has largely painted the protesters as inspired by Pakistan-based militant groups but

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Pranab: Mamata’s statement on Azad’s killing justified

MSN News | Indian Express | 29/08/2010

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee facing flak from the Opposition for her statement on the killing of Maoist leader Cherakuri Rajkumar alias Azad, today received support from Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who found "nothing wrong" with it. When asked whether Banerjee, being part of the UPA government, was unjustified in saying that the killing of Azad was not correct at a public meeting, Mukherjee said, "I don’t think so. We had a detailed discussion with the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Mamata Banerjee and she has explained her position".

"She has said if Azad was killed because of the fact that he was trying to initiate talks with the Centre then that should be explained," Mukherjee said. "Even after that, the Andhra Pradesh government has come out with a statement on the killing of Azad and they explained their position. So there is nothing wrong in making the statement," the Union Finance Minister said. Mamata Banerjee at her Lalgarh rally on August 9 had said Azad’s killing was "not correct", which sparked a lot of controversy. Azad was killed by Andhra Pradesh Special Intelligence Branch at Adilabad district on July 2 allegedly in a fake encounter.

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RIM looks forward as India, other challenges loom

BBC News | Aug 27, 2010 10:34pm IST

BlackBerry from RIM Research In Motion, its global growth and its secure-email niche challenged by both rivals and governments, is preparing for a long fight it may yet lose on a shifting battlefield. The Canadian company’s BlackBerry smartphone was once a byword for safe corporate communication. But its North American market share has shrunk as some core clients loosen security specifications to let employees use alternatives like Apple’s iPhone and devices running Google’s Android operating system. And RIM’s new BlackBerry Torch touchscreen phone, a possible rival to the iPhone, has met a muted reception. In a parallel challenge, India and other countries are seeking enhanced access to BlackBerry emails and instant messages. "Apple and Android have changed the world RIM created," said Ian Grant, the head of telecom consultancy SeaBoard Group. "But they’re actually expanding the universe more than they are cannibalizing it."

RIM launched the Torch amid unusual fanfare this month as it sought to reinvigorate its image with consumers amid a shrinking divide between devices for business and pleasure. But the high-profile launch failed to drum up even a hint of the excitement generated by Apple launches and no one lined up for hours at a flagship store — RIM doesn’t even have one. The Torch, which combines the familiar RIM keyboard with the sexier touchscreen and an updated operating system, may be a slow-burn device that catches up with competitors rather than overtaking them, but it’s not an Apple-style revolution. In its efforts to catch up, RIM has purchased an application storefront company called Cellmania to grow its revamped BlackBerry App World, whose 9,000-odd offerings are eclipsed by Apple’s 200,000-plus third-party applications.

Cellmania, bought for an undisclosed price, will give RIM a way to track downloaded content and let users have charges included in regular phone bills. Its clients include AT&T, which has exclusive U.S. rights to the Torch, Australia’s Telstra and Spain’s Telefonica. RIM has also claimed the web domain http://www.blackpad.com, in what industry-watchers speculate is a preparatory move toward launching a tablet computer of the same name this year — perhaps a secure, business-friendly rival to the iPad.

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Farmers’ protest in Delhi underscores India’s land woes

Reuters | Aug 26, 2010 | 3:28pm IST

Thousands of farmers marched to India’s parliament on Thursday to protest against a government takeover of land to build a new highway, underlining a wider problem of land acquisition in India. The protest follows the death of three farmers in northern Uttar Pradesh state this month, when police fired at protesters demanding more compensation for land taken to build a $2 billion highway connecting the Taj Mahal city of Agra with New Delhi. Underlining the political sensitivity of land issues, Rahul Gandhi, son of ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and a potential prime minister, called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday to find a solution to widespread land disputes.

In New Delhi, about 15,000 flag-waving, slogan-shouting farmers squatted at a square near parliament after where police stopped them. Traffic in central Delhi remained gridlocked for hours. “Why is the government putting pressure on us to vacate our land? Land is our mother, We will die but not give our land,” said Vinod, a protesting farmer who gave only one name. These protests are the latest in a string of violence over government efforts to acquire farmland for industry in India, where two-thirds of the 1.2 billion population is dependent on agriculture and where land is a farmer’s only social security.

STALLED MEGA-PROJECTS

Farmers’ protests have put on hold 230 tax-free export zones and multi-billion investments by ArcelorMittal, South Korea’s POSCO and Tata Steel, according to government figures. Protests over mining on tribal land in Orissa led this week to the government scrapping plans of UK-based Continue reading

Rahul to lead up farmers’ agitation on expressway

Yahoo News | Aug 21, 2010 | 10:45 AM

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will lead the western UP agitation of farmers, who are holding out for a higher remuneration for the land they are to part with to build an expressway. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said this in Tappal, where farmers had assembled on Friday to press for damages at par with that given to farmers in Noida. Three farmers have died in the stir so far. The state government has acquired farmers’ land for the Yamuna Expressway, which is to connect Agra and Greater Noida. An expressway is a connector between two points with no road branching out of it.

Singh, who was here as an emissary of Rahul Gandhi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, said he would do his best to resolve the issues. A delegation of farmers will visit New Delhi and discuss the issue with him. The farmers will also hand over a charter of demands, urging Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi to get the “draconian” Land Acquisition Act, 1894, amended. Continue reading