Press Release: Gujarat fishworkers demand release of all Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails ong with their boats

Urgent Press Release 

Gujarat fishworkers delegation meets the Prime Minister: Demand release of all Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails along with their boats 

New Delhi – 19th December 2013: Today, a ten member delegation of fishermen of Saurashtra, along with leaders of Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD), National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) and a delegation of MPs from Gujarat, met with the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh at the latter’s residence. 

The fisher leaders from Gujarat’s Saurashtra region came to Delhi to meet with the Prime Minister, the Agriculture Minister Shri. Sharad Pawar and the Minister for External Affairs Shri. Salman Khurshid in order to brief the political leadership regarding the issue of jailed Indian and Pakistani fishermen. They also demanded immediate release of boats of Pakistani fisherpeople, kept in the custody of the Indian Government. Shri. Jivan Jungi, National Committee Member, PIPFPD and on behalf of Akhil Gujarat Machhimar Mahamandal raised the issue of a fellow fisherman being killed by Pakistan’s MSA. Raising the issue of Shri. Naranbhai Sosa, the fisherman who was killed in firing by Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) in October, the delegation urged the PM to support the family of Mr. Sosa from the PM’s Relief Fund. 

Fishworkers told the PM that the arrests by Indian Coastguards and MSA have increased manifold in the recent months since the monsoon trawl ban has been lifted in September 2013. Hundreds have been arrested and put behind bars, most of them being Indian fishermen, now in Pakistani jails. At present, around 229 Indian fishermen and about 780 Indian boats are in the custody of Pakistan. In addition to this, 23 boats of Indian fishermen have been confiscated just during the ongoing fishing season. Similarly, around 200 Pakistani fishermen and 150 Pakistani boats are with India. 

The delegation, accompanied by Gujarat Congress leader and MP, Shri Arjun Modhwadia made the following other demands: 

  1. Implement a ‘No Arrest Policy’ for Pakistani fishers, while fishing in Indian waters  
  2. India must take the lead and work out an Economic Co-operation Agreement so as to have fishing rights for fisherpeople from both sides to be able to fish in a joint fishing zone
  3. Unilateral and unconditional release of all Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails
  4. Release of all Pakistani boats, under Indian custody
  5. A separate Fisheries Ministry at the Centre
  6. Centralised (national) Identity Cards for all fishermen who go to sea
  7. Implementation of the interim recommendations by the India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners
  8. The Indian Government to constitute a high-level working group involving the representatives from the fishing community to monitor and prevent the arrest of fishermen and confiscation of the boats
  9. Facilitation of Indian and Pakistani fisher people’s delegations to go to the other country to survey the condition of their boats in the custody of the other country
  10. An urgent meeting be arranged of the Task Force consisting of Indian Coast Guard and Pakistan’s MSA and a proper inquiry be conducted in the case of Naranbhai Sosa’s killing 

Dr. Singh responded to the delegations demands positively. He assured the team that efforts will be taken by the UPA government to release the Pakistani fisherpeople in Indian jails along with their boats – as early as possible. He suggested that he could only expect a reciprocal similar action from the democratic government of Pakistan led by Mr. Nawaz Sharif. 

The Prime Minister promised the delegation that the request for financial assistance to Mr. Sosa’s family will be considered by the PMO and action taken. 

Agreeing that the fisherpeople are caught between the two South Asian conflicting neighbours, Dr. Singh asserted that his government would not leave any stone unturned to protect the lives and livelihood of fisherpeople of Saurashtra, Gujarat. He requested the delegation to also meet with the Agriculture Minister and the Minister of External Affairs to take forward demands specific to these ministries.  

The delegation included the following fishworkers from Saurashtra along with Vijayan MJ (representing the PIPFPD): 

Delegation of Gujarat Fishworkers from Porbandar includes:

Shri Dilipbhai Naranbhai Lodhari

Shri Narshibhai Kanjibhai Jungi

Shri Bhartbhai Dhanjibhai Modi

Shri Sunilbhai Devjibhai Gohel

Shri Hirenbhai Narshibhai Lodhari

Shri Chhaganbhai Gokarbhai Lodhari

Shri Nileshbhai Kanji Postaria 

Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace & Democracy

PIPFPD Delhi Chapter

Press Release: M.P. High Court gears up to look into the concerns of canal affected farmers

Press Release                                                                                     18th December, 2013


CJ of M.P. High Court resolves to address concerns

of canal affected farmers


Principal Secretary, NVDD summoned to Court today and tomorrow


The new Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, Hon’ble Justice A.N. Khanvilkar, along with Hon’ble Justice Shantanu Kemkar has been hearing two public interest petitions on the Omkareshwar (OSP) and Indira Sagar Canals (ISP) since yesterday. One of these was filed in March, 2013, on behalf of thousands of canal – affected families (CAFs) many of those are already seriously affected by the canal network. This petition raises serious issues of social and environmental impacts, lack of rehabilitation, unnecessary excavation of canals in irrigated villages, severe crop losses etc.  The other petition was filed by one Mr. Virendra Patidar, complaining of slow work, illegalities by the contractor, corruption, impacts of water logging in the 1st Phase of the Omkareshwar Project.

The Chief Justice questioned the state authorities on the issue of project delay yesterday. There was a dispute over the government’s claims that 95% of work in the Right Bank Canal (RBC)  and 80% work in Left Bank Canal (LBC) of Omkareshwar was complete. Since the counsel and Superintending Engineer could not convince the Court, Mr. Rajnish Vaish, Principal Secretary of the Narmada Valley Development Department, was summoned in the Court today and questioned on delay in the project work, status of overall canal works including construction. Referring to the people’s agitation being shown as a ‘barrier’, by the state, the CJ asked as to why will people agitate if their issues are solved and demands met within the framework of law.

Even the Principal Secretary, did not give a complete and correct account of the construction as also compliance on other legal measures including environmental measures and rehabilitation. We questioned the same on the basis of field level reality, upon which the CJ directed him to place his statement on affidavit tomorrow. The CJ also asked the Principal Secretary as to whether there were financial constraints and directed him to consult the Chief Secretary and file an affidavit with details.

The CJ, expressed an initiative to resolve all the outstanding issues within the framework of law such as non-compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court, recommendations of the Expert Committees of the Union Environment Ministry, lack of rehabilitation, severe crop loss in dozens of villages due to water logging and muck disposal and lack of compensation for the same, lack of dialogue and use of police force on aggrieved farmers etc. The hearing shall continue tomorrow as well in the Court of the Hon’ble Chief Justice at Indore. Medha Patkar pleaded on behalf of the canal-affected farmers. Adv. Dharmedra Chelawat appeared for the petitioner in the other case, Mr. Virendra Patidar.

Lalchand Patidar           Mukesh Bhagoria                    

 For details: 09826811982 

9 December 2013 – Dalits Protest in Delhi
Thousands of Dalit Adivasi students walked the roads of Delhi, demanding SCP TSP Legislation
9th December 2013
New Delhi: Thousands of Dalit adivasi students walked the roads of Delhi, demanding for legislation of Special Component Plan and Tribal Sub plan, today, 9th December 2013. The Dalit- Adivasi Students’ Parliament was organised by Shiksha Vikas Adhikar (SVADHIK) as part of campaign led by National Coalition for SCP TSP legislation.
Students from Uttar Pradesh, Odhisa, Andra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat spoke about the mismanagement and delay of scholarships. Girl students spoke especially about the poor hostel conditions. Mr. D.Raja (MP, CPI) pledged his support to the demand for legislation of SCP/TSP law.
He urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, from the platform of Students’ Parliament to bring the SCP/TSP legislation in the Central Government. Ms. Annie Namala (CSEI) spoke about the poor condition of students’ scholarships, midday meals and overseas scholarship. Nikhil Dey (Pension Parishad & MKSS) also extended his support to the students’ Charter of Demands.

It has been observed that government gives excuses of lack of resources in case of Dalit/Adivasi educational development issues. However, in reality their share in budget has never been allocated. The analysis of last five years budget indicates that Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) has never received allocation beyond 8.1% which in reality should be 16%. Similarly under Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) 8% of budget should be allocate, when it is presently only around 4.5%.

The funds of Rs. 95266 Cr, which was supposed to be allocated for the development of Dalit community, has been diverted. Likewise, the amount of Rs. 43709 allocated for the development of Adivasi communities has not reached them too. It is shameful that even after 65 years of independence the discrimination, violation of rights of Dalit and Adivasi communities is rampant across the country. If we look at the educational budget allocated for Dalit/Adivasi communities, then the Ministry for Human Resource Development has received Rs. 18896.41 under SCSP/TSP, which is comparatively more than other ministries. However, it very unfortunate that only 5% of this allocated budgeted is spent on the scholarships that are directly beneficial for Dalit Adivasi students. Rest of the money is spent under the head of general allocation and asset building. For instance, in 2011-12 the U.G.C. spent only Rs. 63.36 Cr. on educational schemes for Dalit students out of Rs.780 Cr. allocated from SCP.

Similarly, under TSP only Rs.24.03 Cr. was spent on educational schemes for Adivasi students, out of Rs. 386.11 Cr. allocated to UGC. Under the present 2013-14 SCP allocation to MHRD, only Rs. 60 Cr. out of Rs. 2431.51 Cr. has been spent upon the scholarships for Dalit students. Under the TSP, the amount of Rs. 1219.59 Cr has been released for Higher Education but a mere sum of Rs. 30 Cr.

It is most unfortunate that most of the funds from SCP/TSP are spent on general allocations like constructions of public halls, asset building, salaries of government employees, etc. The scholarships of Adivasi students are not released for years together on the excuse of lack of funds. It is very common to see that the teachers in Adivasi, belts stop to teach the Adivasi children under the pretext that they have not received their salaries. The students requested the Government that the funds from SCP and TSP should be used for Dalit and Adivasi development, not for building jails and police stations, and placed their Charter of Demands with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

Under the banner of National Coalition on SCP–TSP Legislation (NACSTL) as part of the campaign for Dalit and Adivasi Economic Rights, a weeklong protest was launched on 5th December and will end on 10th December on the occasion of International Human Rights Day demanding a central legislation during ongoing winter session of the parliament. The coalition comprises of more than 300 Dalit and Adivasi organizations from across country.

Girish Chandra Pant
Mo No : +919795462339
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of “Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC”)

Climate Change News Updates: 11 December, 2013

Climate Change News Updates: 11 December, 2013

1. Climate Change Opens the Arctic to Drilling, Militarization:

2. Three Ways U.S.-China Conflict Is Helping on Climate Change:

3. Climate Change May Send State Butterflies North:

4. Experts urge climate change alleviation:

5. Exploring climate change:

6. Climate Change Affects Ultrasonic Bat Signals For Better, Worse:

7. China’s climate adaptation bill hits £20bn in 20 years:

8. ‘Great uncertainty about how climate change will affect us’:

9. Fracking support from government climate change adviser:

10. Catastrophe bonds touted in climate change fight:

Climate Change News Updates: 10 December, 2013

Climate Change News Updates: 10 December, 2013

1. ‘Climate change is like Y2k!’ – Oz senator:

2. China ‘poorly prepared’ for climate change:

3. Former WTO Official: Washington’s Climate Change Standard for Coal Port Approvals Violates Int’l Treaties:

4. Climate Change and Socialism – Mike Treen:

5. Obama’s failures on climate change:

6. Evaluating Social and Ecological Vulnerability of Coral Reef Fisheries to Climate Change:

7. Climate change hits bamboo production in India:

8. Climate change threatens Northern American turtle habitat:

9. Climate Change and Sustainability: Case Studies:

10. Children learn about climate change:

11. Surat to share how it tackled floods:

Climate Change News Updates: 7 December, 2013

Climate Change News Updates: 7 December, 2013

1. Canada’s Timber Industry May Be Rebounding, But For How Long?:

2. Climate Change And Tourism:

3. Ecosocialist panel on climate change strategies:

4. Taiwan and the UN Climate Change Framework:

5. Pinning Down Aerosols to Shed Light on Visibility, Clouds, Climate Change:

6. The Climate Post: Report Warns of Sudden Climate Change Impacts:

7. German Scientists Warn Of Coming Cool Period – Eh, It’s Probably “Climate Change”:

8. The (IN)Sanity of Climate Change:

9. Pollution, low levels plague Great Lakes: Climate change to worsen the woes:

Climate Change News Updates: 3 December, 2013

Climate Change News Updates: 3 December, 2013

1. How climate change is helping Al Qaeda (VIDEO):

2. Here’s a Climate-Change Fix: a Giant Solar-Power Plant on the Moon:

3. The Carbon Warrior:

4. U.N. climate conference fails to agree to reduce pollution:

5. Latinos Are Ready to Battle Climate Change if EPA Will Include Them in the Fight:

6. Potato crop delayed by climate change:

7. Climate talks make little progress:

8. New Models Can Simulate Abrupt Climate Changes:

9. How Climate Change Could Ruin Your Christmas:

10. Rewinding the Clock on Climate Change Through Culture:

11. Tuvalu PM says climate change conference frustrating:

12. EU climate chief says UN talks hinge on 2015 deal:

13. Dairy farmers prepare for climate change:

Odisha: Anti-Posco leader Abhaya Sahu released from jail, Odisha Current News, Odisha Latest Headlines

Jagatsinghpur: Chairman of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti PPSS Abhay Sahoo Abhaya Sahu was released from Samagola jail afte

via Odisha: Anti-Posco leader Abhaya Sahu released from jail, Odisha Current News, Odisha Latest Headlines.

Climate Change News Updates: 2 December, 2013

Climate Change News Updates: 2 December, 2013

1. Public transport the only option in a world facing climate change

2. “The International Climate Change Regime: The Road from Copenhagen”:

3. Tahoe women complete Mount Kenya climb; highlight climate change, empowering women:–Africa-Mountaineers-Tahoe-Women

4. Climate Change Killing Pacific Island Nation

5. Global warming at work: how climate change affects the economy and labour:

6. Ghana and five African countries gets support to fight climate change

7. Loss and damage claims in climate justice

8. Marine Reserves Enhance Resilience To Climate Change

9. Rs 17.913 million released for Climate Change Division

10. schemMPs urge government to cut £12bn fossil fuel subsidies, not energy efficiency schemes

11. Food production in a warmer climate – what can Australia expect?:

12. Impacts of climate change on women

13. Australia Invites New Zealand to Join G20 Meeting in 2014, Climate Change May Not Be a Priority

14. ENVIRONMENT: Scientists meet in Panama on water and climate change:

15. Reduced crops will cause main climate change damage to PNG

16. MaingotClimate Change: Are we doing enough?

17. Jan Dietrick: Next step on climate change from Warsaw:

18. Climate change: Severe food, water shortage on the horizon