Press Release: FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DISASTER: LESSONS FOR INDIA

April 9, 2012 by · Comments Off on Press Release: FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DISASTER: LESSONS FOR INDIA
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On March 11, exactly one year ago, a huge nuclear disaster in human history occurred at Fukushima , such that three nuclear reactors in the Fukushima Daichii plant experienced a nuclear core meltdown. The associated series of hydrogen explosions in the plant released more than twenty times the radioactive radiation of the Hiroshima bomb, causing contamination of air, water, soil, all living and non-living matter. The real cost to human health and life are expected to show up in a few years.

While several western countries, including Japan, have responded to public pressure and plan to halt or phase out their nuclear programs, the Indian government’s response has been to insist that the technology is ‘fully safe’ and to continue with its massive nuclear expansion.

In observing the Fukushima anniversary, PUCL and partners express solidarity with the victims of the nuclear disaster and hope to reach out to fellow citizens to address critically the necessity of India’s nuclear program. The speakers invited to seminar spoke on a variety of issues related to resolving people’s growing nuclear trust-deficit with India’s projected growing need in the energy and power sectors.

Nagesh Hedge emphasized the hazardous nature of the entire nuclear cycle from uranium mining, processing and disposal of the nuclear waste. His arguments hit home when he spoke of the issues of uranium mining coming up at Gogi in Yadgir, on the Bhima river basin; the limited ore supply, if extracted, will destroy the environment, water systems, and cause extensive human damage, while providing for about 7 months of fuel for India’s projected future nuclear program. He spoke also of the large scale and growing public opposition to this project, and also to the proposed building units 5 and 6 at Kaiga.

Shankar Sharma, a power policy analyst, spoke on the need for conservation efforts, limiting transmission losses and the enormous potential of renewable energy initiatives. In states like Tamil Nadu, conversion from incandescent to CFL bulbs can save about 500 MW – which would be the State’s expected share from the Koodankulam nuclear plant, after accounting for losses! Transmission losses in our country are 24% compared to about 5% in developed nations. India’s current nuclear capability is only 2.4% of our total power budget – thus a saving in transmission losses is tantamount to producing, immediately, ten times more power than what we get from our nuclear sector – without any risk.

YB Ramakrishna, noted that renewables and alternatives were not only available, but can provide for India’s burgeoning energy needs using a variety of sources including, solar, bio-fuels, hydro etc. He also gave inspiring examples of successful implementation of distributed renewable energy schemes, including biomass.

VT Padmanabhan spoke of several grave and technical concerns associated with the Koodankulam Nuclear plant, such as the seismic instability of the region, and the dependence of KNPP’s fresh water supply for cooling from a desalination plant. None of these safety concerns were satisfactorily addressed by the expert panel appointed by the central govt.

Prof. Atul Chokshi, IISc, presented calculations showing that for India to meet its long-term projected nuclear aspirations would require a nuclear reactor every eleven kilometers along nation’s shoreline. Equivalent energy was possible from a distributed roof-top solar panel system over all households providing distributed, equitable power for our population – without transmission losses or risks!

The Fukushima anniversary provided a poignant reminder of the potential dangers of catastrophic nuclear accidents. The seminar demonstrated several potential strategies to provide for India’s energy needs, so that there are several viable alternatives to nuclear power

Indian State and the Art of Fabricating False Cases Convention on July 30, 2011 in Bangalore.

July 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Two spectres are haunting the civil society in India – the spectres of communalism and globalisation.As a part this invasion on people, minorities are attacked as it happened in Gujarat or Kandhamal and many other places in the recent past. Multinationals, the World Bank, ADB, IMF and other international organisations decide on the policies of the Indian Government today. Land, forests, hills, lakes, rivers and seas are sold to the corporates. Prices are rising and the corruption level has reached the peak as never before, due to such policies.

While many groups and people’s movements are resisting both these tendencies, the Indian State is using its executive machinery in a brutal way to suppress the dissent. Many innocent people are criminalised, branded and made to suffer for long time. Dr. Binayak Sen is the most well known personality in this category of fabricated cases by the Indian State. Due to active resistance of many groups and concerned individuals all over the country and abroad, he is not only out of jail today, but also absorbed by the Planning Commission. However, there are hundreds of similar such fabricated cases in Chattisgarh itself. Many innocent adivasis are languishing behind the bars in Chattisgarh. While POTA seems to be no more, many innocent muslims are still in jail in Gujarat for no crime. The lesson from Kandhamal is also no different.
Moreover, the growing tendency of the Indian state is to frame false cases on those who are organising and leading peopole’s movements in this country. Many false cases are framed on those who are resisting POSCO. Similar false cases are framed on activists who respond on a number of other issues. When evidences are missing for their guilt, efforts are being made to create false evidences. The real issue is that when they are released without evidences, a part of their lives would already be over. The mainstream press, predominantly follow the version of the police, politicians and the bureaucracy in all these cases. When genuine investigative reports are being made by some journalists, attempts are being made to criminalise them also.

It is time that the civil society in this country wakes up against this process and say `No’ to the process of fabricating cases by the Indian State. For unless, we say `No’ to this process, the vested interests will silence all dissent in this country, threatening the very pillars of Indian democracy.
Therefore, over 20 organisations in Bangalore have come forward to organise a one-day Convention on the `Indian State and the Art of Fabricating False Cases’. We request you to participate, support, mobilise and contribute to this process.

Venue: NGO Hall, Cubbon Park, BangaloreDate: July 30, 2011Time: 9.30 am to 6.30 pm
Programme:

9.30 am – Inauguration

First session: False charges on people’s movements: Globalisation, Development and People’s Movements
Chairperson: Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group
Speakers:
Prafulla Samantarai (Well known activist/intellectual from Orissa)
Prashant Paikray (Official Spokesperson, Anti-Posco Movement, Orissa)
Swami Vishua Bhadrananda Shakti Bhodi (Director, Alathoor Siddha Ashramam/Editor, Ethir Disha Magazine)

Second session: Communalism and Branding
Chairperson: Gauri Lankesh, Editor, Lankesh Patrike
Speakers:
K.L. Ashok (State Secretary, Karnataka, Communal Harmony Forum, A coalition of over 90 organisations
Teesta Setalvad (Well known anti-communal activist, writer and editor of Communalism Combat)
Fr. Ajay Singh (The main initiative from Kandhamal for raising the Kandamal communal issue at a national level)
Dr. K. Muhamed Najeeb (Solidarity Youth Movement)

Lunch Break: 1. 15 pm to 2 pm

Third Session: 2 pm War on Terror or War on People?
Speakers:
Sebastian Paul (Former Member of Parliament)
U.S. Kumar (Mangalore Human Rights Forum)
Sherif Kottapurath (Former CTO of Sun Microsystems)
Bhasurendrababu (Media Critic/Political Observer)

Fourth Session: Approaches of the Indian State, Media and Civil Society Responses:

Speakers:
S.A.R. Gilani (Professor, Delhi University)
Kavita Srivastava (General Secretary, PUCL)
Satya Sagar (Journalist/Activist)

Organised By:
Environment Support Group, PDF, PUCL, Pedestrian Pictures, SICHREM, Karnataka Vidhyarthi Sangha, Samanatha Mahila Vedike, Janasakti, Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike, Indian Social Institute, Students Christian Movement, New Socialist Alternative, Department of Women’s Studies – UTC, Concern, Moving Republic, Stree Jagruti Samiti,Solidarity Youth Movement, Visual Search, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Ambedkar Pilosophy Foundation, Swabhimani Dalit Sangha, INSAF, Human Rights Law Network and Open Space.

[Press Statement] Visit by PUCL-Bangalore to POSCO Affected Areas in Odisha 22-24 July, 2011

July 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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A five member team of PUCL Bangalore visited the POSCO project villages of Govindpur, Dhinkia and Patana in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha between July 22-24, 2011on a solidarity visit with people’s struggle against the POSCO project and to probe large-scale forced acquisition of lands by the State for the proposed POSCO steel plant in the region. The team found a truly strong and democratic people’s movement convinced of their legitimate rights and firmly resolved not to give up their lands or livelihoods for the benefit of either a foreign company or an arguably larger common good for the people of the State. The movement is continuing to gain momentum as villagers from different hamlets take turns to safeguard their lands from attempts to destroy their betel plantations. Most people we spoke to were determined not to give up their lands, even at the cost of their lives.

Participation of people’s organizations from all over the country is adding strength to the local resolve even as the movement is facing increasing threats from the state which is moving into the area by a massive clearance of surrounding forest lands. The large majority of these villages are not ready to leave the forest lands on which they have been cultivating betel vines and cashew for centuries because it will destroy their livelihoods and consequently their very existence.

On July 24th we found five vans and four jeeps filled with armed police stationed in Gadakujang near Mahaveer Chowk purportedly for maintaining the law and order situation in the area. The DySP, Jagatsinghpur and Tahsildar Kailash Chandra of Tirutwar refused to divulge any further information. We observed large scale tree clearance under strong and armed paramilitary supervision. In later conversations with the DC and the SP, we gathered that the police presence was to facilitate the clearance of forest land by IDCO. We were also informed by the DC that it was not necessary for the district administration to either consult or obtain authorization from the village panchayats since they were acting under the mandate given to the police by the constitution. The SP also maintained that the police would continue assisting the tree clearance operation till all the POSCO lands were cleared. In other words, this clearing operation was being conducted in complete disregard of the wishes of the local communities.

The team also visited the transit camp set up by POSCO where the so-called pro-POSCO families from Dhinkia and Patana are housed. They all seemed to suggest that POSCO will bring complete ruin to these villages in spite of their being labeled as ‘Pro-POSCO’. We spoke to Praful Mohanti, the spokesperson for the community in the transit camp. We found the displaced people are living under inhuman conditions. They have suffered for the last four years in overcrowded, unhygienic living conditions with only Rs20 per person per day for sustaining life. They said that their children are unable to attend school and no medical facilities are available to them. Most people there were unemployed and showed a keen interest in returning to their homes and previous lifestyles. We feel that people in this transit camp are victims of the same State-Corporate nexus that is breaking up of communities in this area, and leading to loss of homes, lands, and livelihoods.

PUCL strongly condemns the State of Odisha for its policies that serve the financial interests of corporations. Such policies deliberately harm people’s interests and their fundamental right to pursue lives of liberty and dignity. PUCL condemns the use of armed police for promoting corporate interests in complete disregard of the democratically voiced wishes and interests and legitimate rights of the people of the area. We demand an immediate withdrawal of all armed personnel and a halt to all human rights violations in the area. We call for an immediate halt to the cutting down of thousands of trees which are vital to the local ecology and the economic independence of the people of this region. PUCL also demands that the Odisha government to listen to the democratic voices of the villagers and hence uphold the democratic values of this nation.

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PUCL Karnataka Statement of Somashekar Commission

8th February 2011

PRESS RELEASE

B.K. Somashekar Report

We are greatly disappointed with the final report released by Justice B.K.Somashekar commission Enquiring the attack on churches.

While the interim report clearly held responsible some hindu fundamentalist organisations, Police, state administration and the Govt. The final report appears to have absolved the govt and the Police.

An attempt appears to have been made to ignore the role of hindu fundamentalist organisations and state in the final report. a There appears to be a clear cut understanding between the Commission and the Govt to patch up the damage done by the interim report.

The final report very clearly failed to uphold and protect the Constitutional rights of minorities and appears to have gone beyond its limits in saying that there should be law to ban conversions.

Since Independence, every time the Govts have appointed a Judicial Commission they have invariably failed to do justice to their job and even while  Justice was done those reports have either not seen the light of day or never implemented by the Govt. In the process the question of appointing judicial commissions has become an futile exercise.

The Commission seems to have imagined certain things in spite of overwhelming evidence recorded by the media and presented before the Commission when it says that some attacks/ injuries were self inflicted.

In short the Commission has contradicted itself and brought out a hotch potch report with a clear intention of protecting the Govt, its administration and the fundamentalist organizations from getting banned from the state.

In view of this, we request the Govt to institute a CBI inquiry as the report has failed to pin point the culprits  and in fact created an irreparable communal divide which may permanently damage the secular fabric of India.

For People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka

P.B. Dsa
President

Dr V. Lakshminarayana
General Secretary

Photos – Jan 30th 2011 – Release Dr.Binayak Sen Protest

February 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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[images courtesy Ayushranka.in]

[wppa type=”slide” album=”3″][/wppa]

|Press Release| Binayak Sen Conviction

December 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases, Uncategorized 

Statement in Kannada

Delhi/ Raipur,
24th December, 2010

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties is deeply disappointed at the miscarriage of justice reflected in the judgement of Raipur Additional District and Sessions Judge B. P. Verma  sentencing our National Vice President Dr. Binayak Sen to life imprisonment under charges of sedition 124 (A) of the IPC read with conspiracy (120-B IPC) along with convicting him concurrently u/s 8-(1), (2), (3) and (5) of the Chhattisgarh Vishesh Jan Suraksha Adhiniyam,2005 (Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act, 2005) and
u/sec 39 (2) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 2004 (amended). It is a sad day for the PUCL and all human rights defenders in the country and a black day for the Indian Judiciary

Dr. Binayak Sen was charged with being a courier of letters from co-accused Narayan Sanyal to Piyush Guha. All through the trial not a single Jail authority appearing as prosecution witness confirmed this. In fact, there was no substantive evidence to confirm any of the allegations of the prosecution.
* *
The PUCL holds that Dr Binayak Sen is a victim of the vendetta of the Chhattisgarh government for his bold and principled opposition to state sponsored vigilante operation Salwa Judum, which has been held unacceptable even by the Supreme Court. His conviction is one more example of the state succeeding in securing the conviction of an innocent person on the basis of false evidence. It is an occasion for the nation to demand drastic reform of the criminal justice system to ensure that it is not manipulated by the state to persecute, prosecute and victimize innocent persons.

The PUCL will continue to work towards Dr. Binayak Sen release and take all legal measures in this regard. It will also work towards building public opinion against the ongoing persecution of activists and Human Rights Defenders in the country.

  • Prabhakar Sinha (President)
  • Pushkar Raj (General Secretary)
  • Mahi  Pal Singh (National Secretary)
  • Kavita Srivastava (National Secretary)

Discussion Meeting| Human Rights, Democracy and Media

December 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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INVITATION

!!OPEN DOOR EVENT!!

PUCL-Bangalore invites you to a

Discussion Meeting

Human Rights, Democracy and Media

Challenges in Contemporary Times

11 December 2010 @ 4:00 PM

Xavier Hall, Post-Graduate Campus, St. Joseph’s College
Near Double Road

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Presiding

Professor Hassan Mansur

Founder member – PUCL- Karnataka

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Moderator

Father Ambrose Pinto

Principal, St Joseph’s College

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Speakers

B Parvatheesha

Senior Correspondent, Lankesh Prakashana

Samakalina Madhyama Mattu Maanava Hakkugalu

[Contemporary Media and Human Rights]

Issac Arul Selva

Editor, Slum Jagathu

Marginalised Communities and the media

Siddharth Narrain

Legal Researcher, Alternative Law Forum

Clamping down on the dissenting voice

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Audience driven discussion panel!

***Call to action***

Please attend! Please circulate widely!

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