[This issue of the wire is dedicated to the memory of Edward Said, a renowned public intellectual who died on September 24, 2003; His fine intellectual work, his passionate contribution for the Palestinian people (while challenging Anti-Semitism ), and his unrelenting defence of a cosmopolitan secular culture influenced many around the world. Its is too difficult to list his vast contributions, but among his recent works (highly very relevant in these times of fanaticism) was a powerful critique of the dangerous 'Clash of Civilisations' thesis pushed by Samuel Huntington. Many of south asia's scholars and non scholars identified and collaborated with him. The late Eqbal Ahmad was a close ally and friend of Said, and many others from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka ... shared and admired his concerns. ]
 Edward Said: some URLs
 An Update and call for resistance to Internet Censorship in India
 Youth for Peace: Indian Ocean Performs for Peace and Harmony (sept. 27, New Delhi)
 A Meeting to plan protest re on attack on Habib Tanvir's Play (Sept. 27, New Delhi)
 Press Release: AIDWA Protests Mulayam Singh Yadavs Defence of Amarmani
 Book Review: Storylines: Conversations with Women Writers, edited by Ammu Joseph, Vasanth Kannabiran, Ritu Menon, Gouri Salvi, and Volga ( Barnita Bagchi)
 Muslims for Secular Democracy to meet in Bombay [October,1 -2, 2003]
 Nuremberg International Human Rights Award 2003
- Words of Thanks by I A Rehman at Award Ceremony
- [A news report on Teesta Seetalvad getting the Award] 'Things must, and will, change' (Smita Deshmukh)
 Fascist Dr. dares Medical Council of India on degree cancellation
 Online petition for submission to Indian's National Human Rights Commission Attack on Indian Human Right activist
 Supreme Court asks Gujarat police to "keep off" riot victim
 Correction: re SACW of 25 Sept., 2003
The New York Times, February 18, 2001 | [BOOK REVIEW}
The End of Orthodoxy: For Edward Said, exile means a critical distance from all cultural identities.
By Martha C. Nussbaum
REFLECTIONS ON EXILE And Other Essays. By Edward W. Said. 617 pp. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press
available at: http://india.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=7955&group=webcast
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Professor Edward Said: "Memory, Inequality and Power: Palestine and the
Universality of Human Rights"
Webcast of this recent lecture in Berkeley, dated February 19, 2003 is available for all :
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[See Also: http://www.edwardsaid.org/ ]
South Asia Citizens Web [26 September 2003]
INTERNET CENSORSHIP IN INDIA : Blocking of Yahoo groups in India
An Update and call for resistance.
The continuing blockage of groups.yahoo.com in India has by now affected thousand of web sites and users. The entire groups.yahoo.com domain has remained inaccessible to the vast majority of India based users for the last 5 days or so. [see: reports & URLs below]
All this wont change till the silent majority of users dont speak up. And silence is complicity.
A CALL TO RESIST
This is a flagrant case of violation of freedom of expression. But the right wing govt. of the day whcih swears by democracy, can keep the ban going for some time; This is not the first time the Indian government has tried to block web sites, during the Kargil war of 1999, the web site of the prominent Pakistan daily was blocked; this was very vigorously fought by many in the media in India and some activists abroad. In 1998 a law suit was filed by online activist Arun Mehta to challenge other moves by the Indian state to block some websites. [see: URL's below]
What we ought to and should do:
- As suggested in a previous posting individuals or groups should actively consider filing a law suit or several law suits if possible.
- Feel free to write letters to members of India's parliament protesting the ban
- Write letters to editors to the Newspapers
- The ISPs are to blame too since they are playing too rigidly by the rules, they should overturn the ban in public interest. They should be pressured to break the rules.
- Call the ISP's and threaten to Refuse to pay the bills and write letter to them. In short make noise.
- Contact human rights groups in India which have been unable to get their act together and pressure them to move.
- Write to International Human rights groups to take this up.
- All public spirited citizens in India with Internet access are invited to openly violate / or evade the ban daily by using proxy servers that allow you to bypass the servers of your ISPs.
Here is how to beat the ban:
* at the request of SACW this second proxy has been specially set up by Citizen Lab in solidarity with users in India. Please publicise the existence of this proxy to other users in india.
To better investigate the current process of blocking, Users are requested to report the exact error message they receive and any traceroute data. Send an e-mail to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
I also propose the formation of a campaign group consisting of individuals moderating and managing groups on the groups.yahoo.com domain to challenge the India government, this ban lasts any further.
Lets organise to beat the ban.
Harsh Kapoor (South Asia Citizens Web) E-mail: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
SELECTED ADDRESSES OF THE OFFICIALS AND BODIES TO WHOM PEOPLE MAY WRITE TO PROTEST OR TO SEEK THEIR INTERVENTION
Arun Shourie (Minister of Communications & Information Technology & Disinvestment) Ist Floor,Electronics Niketan, Lodhi Road, New Delhi Email : [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad (Minister of Information and Broadcasting) E-Mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Phone: (91) 23384340, 23384782 Fax : (91) 23782118
Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) www.mit.gov.in/cert/
India's Department of Telecom www.dotindia.com/ [EMAIL PROTECTED]
The Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) www.ispai.com/
Yahoo! India Web Services Ltd;
386, Veer Savarkar Marg Opp. Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai 400025 Phone: +91-22-56622222 Fax: +91-22-56622244
Yahoo! India Web Services Ltd; Ground Floor, First India Place, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road Gurgaon [Haryana]- 122002 Phone: +91-0124-5061888/9 (from Delhi 95124-5061888/9) Fax: +91-0124-2560057 solutions.yahoo.co.in/contact.html
[* India's Official Human rights watch dog] National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) nhrc.nic.in/contact.htm
RECENT NEWS REPORTS & Selected URLs:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/33049.html The Register India's Yahoo! Groups ban - update By Andrew Orlowski Posted: 25/09/2003 at 12:36 GMT
India's blanket ban of Yahoo! Groups continues. It's not 100 per cent, but most of the largest ISPs have complied, removing access for over 80 per cent of users.
The Government's Computer Emergency Response Team - which normally releases security and virus alerts - issued a block on all groups after Yahoo! refused to remove messages in the low-traffic 'kynhun' group. The group carried postings by banned secessionist group the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council.
According to readers, these include In2Cable, Bharti's two ISPs Mantra Online and TouchTel India, consumer dialup provider Sify, Hathway and Siticable both cable providers, Caltiger, DDSL and BSNL. However a reader in Pondicherry says that VSNL and Dishnet dialup are permitting access; while one of VSNL's downstream providers is maintaining the blanket block.
Siddharth Hegde writes in dismay:
"It is truly a shame that a country like India blocks a website. What they do not know is that within a year the most computer illiterate person would have found a five-minute work around. There is no point in try to block websites - people will find work around.
"I am a net user and use three ISPs - one Cable and two dial-ups. All three have blocked them. My cable connection (Hathway, VSNL and Satyam). Satyam would be the first one to pull off this as earlier they had blocked all adult websites without authorization from users." ®
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CIOL, September 25, 2003 India bans Yahoo! Groups http://www.ciol.com/content/news/2003/103092510.asp
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The Hindu, Sep 25, 2003
Protest against blocking of Yahoogroups
By Our Special Correspondent
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM SEPT. 24. Protest is mounting against the blocking of the Yahoogroups by the Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the country on a directive from the Union Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
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Paktibune.com, September 25, 2003
A hostile step to preclude freedom of speech in India
Indian Govt. issued an order to ban yahoo group carrying messages on Govt's unjust policies
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Mid Day, September 24, 2003 web.mid-day.com/news/city/2003/september/64623.htm
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Economic Times, September 24, 2003 Is the government right in blocking all Yahoo groups? economictimes.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=199990
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Sify (Pioneer) September 24, 2003 'Govt has no right to block Yahoo group' sify.com/news/pioneer/fullstory.php?id=13259504&vsv=71
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Cnet Asia, Sept. 24, 2003 India blocks Yahoo web site By Staff, CNETAsia asia.cnet.com/newstech/industry/0,39001143,39152163,00.htm
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Newindpress, September 24, 2003 Yahoo refuses to remove anti-India content, site blocked This is the first time a website has been blocked under Cert-IN since it came into being in July this year. Representatives of Yahoo in India had been www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IEH20030923005101&Title=Top+Stories&rLink=0
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Editorial, Hindustan Times, September 24, 2003 No net gain for Big Brother www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_387920,0012.htm
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News Today, September 24, 2003 Yahoo Groups continue to be blocked newstodaynet.com/23sep/ld1.htm
BACKGROUND RESOURCES ON OTHER INSTANCES OF GOVT CENSORSHIP:
Indian Government Ban of Net Access to Pakistani News Broken July 5, 1999 URL: www.rediff.com/computer/1999/jul/05dawn.htm
The Economic and Political Weekly [Bombay, India] August 23, 2003
"Information Technology Act: Danger of Violation of Civil Rights by Sruti Chaganti
[The full text of this article is available for all interested. Should you require a copy dropa note to <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
YOUTH FOR PEACE
Indian Ocean Performs for Peace and Harmony Sep 27, 2003 6.30pm Lal Chowk Open Air Theatre , Pragati Maidan [New Delhi, India]
( NOTE: In all posters/ advertisements the venue is mentioned as Falaknuma Open Air Theatre. We have changed it at last moment to Lal Chowk Open Air Theatre, Pragati Maidan which is just 2 minutes walking distance from Falaknuma and has more capacity and only a few stairs)
supported by HT City, Vani Prakashan, Radiocity 91FM, Insaf
Young people are disturbed by the violence around them - violence one faces everyday on the streets, at home, in college, in the state and in the country. They are worried and want to make a change. They are tired of being stamped indifferent because they are concerned.
Youth for Peace is a platform to share such concerns – a space without boundaries where each one can voice their opinions and ideas without fears.
Youth for Peace is envisaged as an ongoing activity conceptualised, designed, executed by and for the youth in the campuses and schools.
Youth For Peace is being launched under the banner of Anhad* (without boundaries) in Delhi on September 27, 2003.
And what is a better way than Music to spread the message of Peace and Love. Music that transcends boundaries - is Anhad - like the young minds.
Indian Ocean an internationally famed group of fusion band is performing at the official launch of Youth for Peace.
Known for their albums like Desert Rain and Kandissa, Indian Ocean was formed in the 90’s by Asheem, Amit, Rahul and Susmit. Their Music is very much the Rock variety with a generous measure of Indianness, which makes it Fusion – Rock. The Guitar sound is omnipresent in their music. They search out different Folk tunes and sometimes not restrict it to India.
Indian Ocean's emphasis on performing live is a rare and pleasing phenomena and we wish to bring them live to the music and peace lovers of Delhi.
ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) was formed in the first week of March 2003. ANHAD means without limits. We envisage it as an inclusive institution in which every one who stands for democracy, secularism, justice and peace can participate. ANHAD was conceived as an organization, which would be absolutely action oriented.
4, Windsor Place, New Delhi-110001 Tel- 23327367/ 23327366 [EMAIL PROTECTED] / [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Sub : Meeting on 27th September, Saturday at 4.00 p.m, [Meeting] @ ISI on attack on Habib Tanvir's Play
You may be aware that eminent theatre person, Habib Tanvir has been under persistent attack by the Sangh Parivar, over the performance of the Chhatisgarhi folk play Jamadarin urf Ponga Pandit. Habib Tanvir and his company of actors Naya Theatre have been threatened and the performances disrupted in several cities of M.P. Habib Saab has however taken a very strong and principled position and not given in to the terror tactics of the goons of the Sangh Parivar.
Jamadarin urf Ponga Pandit was originally staged by the Chhatisgarhi folk artists of a local Naccha troup in 1933. It has been since then performed by many other troupes of that area. Habib Tanvir began doing this folk play in 1962 with his repertory company Naya Theatre. The play focusses on untouchability and makes a sharp critique against casteism.
We appeal to you and all secular democratic groups/individuals to come to a meeting on Saturday 27 Sepember'03 at 4 p.m. at the Indian Social Institute, to discuss a course of action and plan a joint protest.
With Best wishes
PRESS RELEASE Sept. 23, 2003
AIDWA PROTESTS MULAYAM SINGH YADAVS' DEFENCE OF AMARMANI
The AIDWA strongly protests against the highly objectionable defence made by UP Chief Minister Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav of Amarmani Tripathi after his arrest in the Madhumita murder case. His statement is all the more shocking because it was he who had raised the demand for action when Tripathi was a Minister in the Mayavati Government. AIDWA is among the many women's organizations that welcomed the collapse of the BSP-BJP Government in Uttar Pradesh that had become synonymous with corruption and during which there had been an unprecedented increase in violence against women. However the Chief Minister's statement in favour of Tripathi clearly indicates that women's security and dignity is of little concern to his Government. Indeed, the implications of the Chief Minister's statement in a State where there are clear trends of the criminalisation of politics are frightening for women. It means that any political leader can commit crimes against women but as long as they ensure the Government's stability they will find patronage and protection. Shri Mulayam Singh's statement is an insult to all women. Neither the State's interest nor the nation's interest can ever be served if it is at the cost of women's dignity and security. Although the UP police have now little to do with the case since it is being conducted by the CBI, statements from a Chief Minister openly supporting the accused certainly amount to pressure on the law enforcement agencies as well as on witnesses. It is quite possible that encouraged by the CMs statement the accused and his supporters will step up the pressure on Madhumita's family and the witnesses to give up the case. This will lead to a travesty of justice. Whether Tripathi is guilty of murder or not is something for the courts do decide. By such an atrocious statement Mr. Mulayam Singh will not strengthen goodwill for his Government among women, because what it would appear that his view of social justice excludes gender justice.
Subhashini Ali Brinda Karat (President) (General Secretary)
From The Book Review, New Delhi, September 2003
Storylines: Conversations with Women Writers, edited by Ammu Joseph, Vasanth Kannabiran, Ritu Menon, Gouri Salvi, and Volga (New Delhi: Women's WORLD India and Asmita Resource Centre for Women, 2003). Paperback, 312 pp, Rs 250.
Seventeen living Indian women writers of great distinction, writing in ten languages, of diverse ages and backgrounds, are captured in extended conversation in this exciting volume. The interviewers themselves are feminists, activists, and writers who have contributed greatly to the recording and recovery of women's creativity and protests: they include Sonal Shukla, the Gujarati writer, Ammu Joseph, the journalist, Ritu Menon, the publisher, and Vasanth Kannabiran, critic and poet.
Unsurprisingly, the book is a treasure-trove. It grew out of a project on women and censorship, undertaken by Women’s WORLD (Organization for Rights, Literature, and Development) and Asmita, a project which had also yielded an earlier volume, The Guarded Tongue: Women's Writing and Censorship in India, based on the proceedings of the workshops and conferences of the first phase of the project. That volume, too, has an easily flowing format capturing the exchanges and conversations between the participants. In the volume under review, the genre is one-to-one conversation between writer and interviewer, and it works beautifully. The questions are short, and are entry-points into the writer’s universe, acting as triggers for what are often reflective, richly modulated remarks, rather than the set pattern of ‘one question, one answer, and to the point, please’. The book bears out Rukmini Bhaya Nair’s thesis, which comes up in her interview, that there is such a thing as a ‘genderlect’, more rich in comparators, exalamatives, joint tellings, and silences, ‘rich, subtle, and modulated’, which has strong affinities with orality.
This is, of course, not to say that the women writers in question acqiesce in their status as a ‘muted group’, in socio-linguistic parlance. Enumerated, even cursorily, their public achievement in their refusal to keep their lips sewn up, as Anamika puts it, is stunning. How, for example, can one not be amazed at the apparent good-humoured ease with which Nabaneeta Dev Sen, internationally known scholar-critic, poet, novelist, and short story writer, has turned the orderly Bengali patriarchal family edifice topsy-turvy? Through her highly popular, acute, humorous travelogues, short stories, and novellas, she brought her own women-only and female-headed household into the living-rooms of Bengalis (as she says, she used humour as a means of distancing the personal), and in the process created a universe in which women can ride off on the back of a truck to the edge of Tibet on the Macmahon line, recount wanderings in the Kumbha Mela in modern idiom, or hold intensely cerebral conversations about life and letters. On the one hand a pioneering researcher into women’s Ramayanas, she has in her creative avatar written searing fiction using those motifs recreated in annals of modern life (most notably in her novella Bamabodhini). Yet as her conversation in this volume conveys, she too has faced censorship, even if it is most often the threat or actuality of censure.
The desire to placate those whom we love, to not offend them, to preserve familial respectability, to avoid being spoken of as the unruly or the improper woman—the ideology of respectability and propriety comes up again and again as a potent form of self-censorship for the writers. And each of them knows that somewhere in their minds there is a madwoman in the attic, (to use Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s image of the mad Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre as a metaphor for women’s writing), wanting to break free and set the house on fire—even if that impulse is not allowed to surface. If it does surface in reconfigured form, then what may appear to the writer and us as cerebral (‘boudhik’) writing, as Mridula Garg says of her own work, may seem to the prurient to be thrill-seeking, improper writing, as happened with Garg’s novel Chittacobra, leading to a vicious campaign by the magazine Sarika, and Garg’s subsequent arrest on grounds of obscene writing.
To remain respectable, then, is an onerous and fragile project for the Indian woman writer. Reading this volume, one gets a mini compendium of the various respectable or acceptable avenues available in the post-Independence Indian public sphere to creative women. Teaching is easily the major avenue that they have used to carve out an identity. Dev Sen taught for most of her working life, and Dhiruruben Patel taught for many years. Vasireddy Seeta Devi, the Teugu writer, coming from an intensely conservative family, trained herself in Hindi and emerged from her village to become a highly respected head of a Hindi Teachers’ Training College. This did not prevent her from writing political novels even as a government servant, to the extent that one was banned during the Naxalite period. Sarup Dhruv gives fascinating accounts of teaching Jesuits about Indian culture and language, about working with the Indian Space Research Organization to develop pedagogic material and plays, and her current activities as civil society activist working in difficult conditions for communal harmony in Gujarat.
Jameela Nishat, a powerful poet in Urdu from Hyderabad, who tries to preserve in her work the feminised Dakkani idiolect, finds in anguish that while she is straitjacketed and discriminated against as a ‘Muslim writer’ by Hindu playmates she had grown up with, within her own community her writings on communal riots are acceptable, but critiques of anti-women practices are not. Choosing to write more free-flowing verse in the stylized ambience of Urdu poetry, Jameela finds that English-language collaborators and translators choose not to use the poetry on social issues she writes. Meanwhile, Sara Aboobacker, a Kannada writer of Malayalam origin, readily admits that, in a lateblooming career begun in her forties, she has chosen to speak with courage and obduracy about the oppression and discrimination that more lower-class women face, but she cannot yet address issues taxing middle-class Indian Muslim women such as herself.
Ilampirai, a rural Tamil poet who composes virtually all her poems as songs, had her right wrist broken by her ex-husband when she dared to write about her marriage after the divorce. Bama, Dalit writer and autobiographer in Tamil, found that when her work was first published, she faced hostility in her village for washing dirty linen in public. Volga, a revolutionary in politics, contended with opposition and criticism from left orthodoxy for daring to form a separate space for feminists and women writers.
The recognition, recovery, retrieval, and recording of women’s creativity is itself a creative enterprise, as much as it a cerebral one. Reading this collection, one feels the crying need of a plethora of translations from the regional languages. The fact that, despite poverty of resources and disinterest from the global publishing monopolies, such translation and recording projects are thriving, thanks to a growing number of independent publishers, feminist resource centers, and translator-activists, allows a cautious shoot of hope to blossom—that Indian women may after all be successful in staking a claim to a world where, with nurture from creative feminist activist-scholars, women’s rights, literature, and development may grow hardily and obdurately.
Muslims for Secular Democracy to meet in Bombay [October,1 -2, 2003] (see report in the Telegraph, September, 26, 2003) http://www.telegraphindia.com/1030926/asp/nation/story_2403169.asp
Nuremberg International Human Rights Award Award Ceremony September 14, 2003 in Nuremberg Opera House
Words of Thanks by Ibn Abdur Rehman (I A Rehman)
I do not have words to adequately express my gratitude to the great city of Nuremberg, especially to the Lord Mayor, Dr Hesselmann and his colleagues at its office of human rights and the jury of its highly valued International Award for Peace and Human Rights for honouring me with the 2003 Award. This award is in fact a recognition of the selfless struggle for human rights by a large number of people in Pakistan. I have had the privilege of working with many of them at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and in India-Pakistan or South Asian forums for peace. And I stand here as one of them, no better than any other.
I am also overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Nuremberg. The popular enthusiasm evident at this grand peace table is more than a measure of your hospitality; it speaks volumes for the investment you have made in the service of humankind. Nuremberg has had many claims as the center of historic developments but its present image as a champion of peace and human rights is undoubtedly the most enviable and most enduring. Each and every resident of this city should be proud of this marvelous accomplishment.
Many present here might have listened to stirring addresses full of wisdom and rich in commitment from my predecessors at this table. I will not try to compete with them. Coming as I do from a country which is mentioned more in dispatches on terrorism and conflict than in reports on enterprise for peace and where human rights are mentioned mostly in accounts of their denial to ordinary citizens I will only mention some of the concerns we in Pakistan have.
We the inheritors of the Indus Valley Civilisation are an ancient people, with a record of many achievements in distant past. Unfortunately, the management of our relatively young state does not figure on the credit chart. Throughout the 56 years since Pakistan came into being the people have been engaged in a struggle, highlighted by a mass upheaval every 10 years or so, to realize their aspirations for a democratic dispensation. This struggle is going on even today.
The ideal of democratic self-determination is of fundamental importance to our people because without it Pakistan cannot speak in a voice that is at the same time authentic and legitimate. The absence of genuinely democratic institutions undermines Pakistan's capacity to respect the call of peace and human rights both.Allow me to say that neither the Pakistani people's need of democracy nor their commitment to it has been fully appreciated by the developed world, which has tended to endorse dictators for narrow considerations. One sometimes hears that in view of some deficiencies in their make-up or their lack of requisites of a democratic order, the people of Pakistan, and for that matter similarly placed societies, should expect no better than rule by military cabals and their self-serving surrogates. Such suggestions are not justified by the history of many communities' progress towards self-realisation. Besides, they reinforce the division of humankind into those who are qualified to enjoy democracy, peace and human rights and those who may fend themselves as best as they can off authoritarianism, bloody conflicts and abuse of basic rights. The very concept of universality of basic human entitlements is undermined. I should therefore stress the need for viewing the Pakistani people's striving for democracy as a matter of international concern.
In a country where authoritarianism has been the rule and short-lived democratic facades an exception, references to human rights appear somewhat unrealistic. In terms of human rights indicators our problems are legion. Women do not enjoy their basic rights, even those sanctioned by law, and violence against them is rampant. We have child labour, though this problem is now attracting more attention than before. There is discrimination against national and religious minorities. The basic rights of the working people are being curtailed. Civil and political rights are under strain and a large number of people suffer denial of liberty and torture every year. The factors contributing to this situation include,besides absence of democracy, gaps and deficiencies in the national charter of fundamental rights, decline in the judiciary's independence, non-adherence to international human rights instruments and indifference to treaties that have been ratified, religious orientation of the state, feudalism, and the state's tendency to ignore the civil society and its undisguised hostility towards political parties and NGOs. On the positive side, human rights standards can no longer be publicly disowned by the government, the people have learnt to articulate their grievances, and quite a few organizations are engaged in advocacy. Peace is on the agenda of many of them. They see little prospect of an early breakthrough but they are sustained by their faith and their optimism.
Many of you perhaps share the concern felt in several parts of the world about the nexus between international terrorism and the so-called fundamentalists in Pakistan. True, there are extremists and militants in our country, perhaps more than our due share of the world population of zealots, but they do not account for the entire society, nor even a majority. They pose a greater threat to their own society than the outside world. While the existence and doings of these cancerous elements are fully covered by the international media, the outside world gets to know little of the other strands that make up the Pakistan mainstream. There are parties and groups that view democracy as a secular ideal.There are women organizations whose fight for basic human dignity and equity the successive regimes have failed to suppress. The lawyers have been battling for rule of law and independence of the judiciary. Trade unions are resisting encroachments on their traditionally recognized rights. Peasant groups are up in arms for their right to land. There are people, however small their number, that have denounced nuclear tests, refused to prefer guns to bread, and protested against terrorist attacks on the Indian people. These groups have the capacity to marginalize the fundamentalists who owe their visibility and share of public space to their interdependence with authoritarian regimes, civil as well as military. All they ask for is a global environment inspired by universal and fair-minded respect for human values of civilized existence.
For, the dynamics of Pakistan society, or in other developing countries, cannot remain uninfluenced by trends on the global scene. The vast population of the countries that emerged from colonial domination after the Second World War has not received a fair deal from the advanced nations. Much of the uneasiness in these countries is due to the dissipation of initiatives such as the Brandt Commission, the Stockholm Social Charter and the North-South dialogues. The have-nots of the world are obviously uncomfortable with a status quo that condemns them to growing impoverishment and denial of social progress. They are seriously scared of new international regimes that treat their concerns with indifference, if not contempt.
The gap between the world's under-privileged and the powerful rich has widened over the past couple of years not only in material terms but also in respect of perceptions of peace and justice. A great deal of the effort to create a world of peace and harmony made since the 1940s is threatened with reversal. If powerful countries can get away with their unilateral decisions on war and peace and bypass the United Nations, the incitement to less mature regimes to keep fighting among themselves is obvious. If the killing of innocent civilians can be justified as collateral damage , if prisoners of war can be denied their rights under the Geneva Conventions, if the right to rebel against injustice can be suppressed, then the whole world is being diverted away from the ideals of peace and human rights.
I have taken the liberty of making these submissions because the deprived sections of humankind expect forward-looking states, such as today's Germany, to defend the universality of the right to peace and human rights and pull their weight in addressing the causes that lead people in poor countries to suicidal despair. They have to ensure that the new socio-political-economic world order offers equity and justice to all peoples of various hues and dispositions. That is the only way to secure peace and human rights.
It is, however, illogical and unfair to put the entire responsibility for keeping the world on a sane course on advanced and rich countries. South Asia's problems, for instance, lie in the main in Pakistani and Indian pathological obsession with politics of hostility. These two neighbours have caused each other huge losses in wars and during long years of preparations for war. Their fondness for nuclear weapons has created a spectre of horrendous devastation. The pursuit of such mutually destructive policies has contributed to the rise of monsters of hate, caused deviations from democracy and fuelled communal strife.The cost is invariably paid by the poor and the vulnerable. Fortunately enlightened sections of civil society in both states are out in the field and braving the risks of struggling for peace and amity. Hope rests with them and they deserve a salute.
For that reason I thank Nuremberg for bringing me together with a distinguished Indian, my very dear and adorable friend Teesta Setalvad, who has faced hazards and challenges that fortune has spared me. I look upon this partnership as symbolic of the common destiny of the people of India and Pakistan, a destiny within their reach if they are released of bondage to forces that thrive on ignorance and prejudice and pave the way to power with decapitated bodies of the innocent. I hope neither Teesta Setalvad nor I will forget the responsibility this coming together places on us.
And I bow to your generosity and kindness. Thank you.
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The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com:80/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=183885
'Things must, and will, change' SMITA DESHMUKH TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2003 03:13:55 AM ]
"We are faced in India with the threat of hatred and division impinging on every aspect of public life. Caste has been an unfortunate historic factor that has denied dignity and access, apart from perpetrating brutal violence on 25 per cent of Indians in the past. Yet, we must carry on, firm in our belief that things must and will change."
Human rights activist Teesta Setalvad's International Prize for Human Rights of Nuernberg comes at a time when the Supreme Court has severely indicted the Gujarat government for mishandling riots cases, on petitions filed by National Human Rights Commission and Zahira Sheikh, key witness in the Best Bakery case.
Says Teesta, "Now that the SC has intervened seriously, we hope that it will see how the Gujarat government has failed to inspire any confidence in survivors of the violence. A retrial in all the cases outside of Gujarat is the only way out."
Setalvad's NGO â¤" Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) â¤" has filed affidavits and other material to show how victims are being terrorised and not protected. CJP is also helping in the Gulberg massacre case. "In this case, the Gujarat government has appointed Chetan Shah to be a public prosecutor, a man charged with burning alive nine people in 1985. How can survivors of carnages have faith in this government?" asks Teesta.
The activist also charged that the Narendra Modi government has failed to provide security to all witnesses. "We are confident that the SC will take note of it," she says.
Teesta hopes that with the checks imposed by the SC, Gujarat as well as the Centre will be more straightforward. Keeping a close watch on developments back home, Teesta agrees that a proposal of having eminent lawyers as prosecutors for riot cases should be fleshed out. She, however, reserves her opinion on the Opposition demand for President's rule in Gujarat. "We are hopeful of the SC intervening effectively. A vibrant alternative to what is happening in Gujarat to rekindle hope is what we hope to get."
Can Gujarat pave the way for reopening other riot cases? "There are any number of possibilities for reopening the 1984 Sikh massacre trials, Bhagalpur killing cases, Meerur Malliana cases. It is overdue and welcome. We have a sorry record of dealing with mass crimes. It's about time the judiciary and legal system looks hard at our failures to prosecute such criminals," says Teesta.
Teesta admits that the battle for human rights is sometimes lonely and hard. "But the words and deeds of a small but strong group of friends and family keep us going."
Asked what prompted her to bring Zahira to Mumbai, she says, "The fact that there was no support for her, which made her turn hostile, is a sorry comment on us. We need to stay with the survivors and their struggle."
Indian Express, 25 Septeember 2003 Dr. Togadia dares MCI on degree cancellation MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 24: VHP leader PravinTogadia presented a rare sight today, putting aside the Sangh's thinking cap to flaunt his credentials as a cancer specialist. Angered by remarks that his provocative speeches are a violation of the medical code of conduct, Togadia dared the Medical Council of India (MCI) to cancel his registration. At a press conference, Toga-dia raged against the doctors who have lodged a complaint with the MCI, quoting from his speeches in Gujarat. "Some mad people are demanding that I be deregistered. I became a cancer specialist due to my intelligence and not due to their meherbaani (favour). These people do not realise that any professional degree cannot be withdrawn without professional misconduct," he fumed. The 100-odd doctors, who comprise groups in Mumbai and other cities, have specifically quoted Togadia's speeches after the Godhra incident. Scoffing at the demand, To-gadia said: '"Karketo dikhai" (Let's see how they do it.) On a relatively mellow note, he said he would return to farming for if the unexpected happened "Kisan ka beta hoon, waapas khetimejaoonga."
[Online petition for submission to Indian's National Human Rights Commission Attack on Indian Human Right activist ]
Framing of false Charges on Dr.Lenin Ashoka Fellow & Defender of Human Rights, Threat to life and false detention, for demanding Right to Education for marginalized Dalit Children.
Full text of the sign on petition is at: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/pvchr/petition.html
The Hindu, September 26, 2003
SC asks Gujarat police to "keep off" riot victim
New Delhi, Sept. 25. (PTI): The Supreme Court today asked Gujarat police to "keep off" the petitioner and riot victim Bilkis Yakub Rasool, who was raped during the Gujarat riots, till the court decided on her plea for transfer of the sexual assault case from State police to the CBI.
When counsel for the petitioner pointed out that the CID Crime Branch of the State police was harassing her, a Bench comprising Justice S Rajendra Babu and AR Lakshmanan said, "it would be appropriate for the State police to keep off her till the court decides her plea for transfer of the case to CBI".
It was alleged by Bilkis Rasool that though the medical reports categorically stated that she had been sexually assaulted, the State police, on technical plea, had closed the case.
After she filed a petition before the court seeking transfer of the case to CBI, the State Government had entrusted the probe into the case to CID-CB, the Gujarat counsel informed the court.
The petitioner's advocate alleged that she was called by police officials for questioning at 2200 hours on September 16, on the plea that she had be taken to Godhra for identification of bodies.
The petitioner had refused to accompany the officers saying no body would be available at the place of the incident as it took place 18 months back.
[Correction: Please note that in yesterdays SACW dispatch the following article was errroneously described as having appeared in The Hindu]
The Hindustan Times, September 25, 2003 FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED Sitaram Yechury Full Text at: www.hindustantimes.com/news/printedition/250903/detPLA01.shtml
Buzz on the perils of fundamentalist politics, on matters of peace and democratisation in South Asia. SACW is an independent & non-profit citizens wire service run since 1998 by South Asia Citizens Web (www.mnet.fr/aiindex).
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