Category Archives: Meetings-Conferences

5th Death Anniversary of Smitu Kothari

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Dear Friends,

Today is the 5th death anniversary of our beloved friend, scholar, activist and writer Smitu Kothari, who left us on the 23rd March 2009. He died of several complications after having undergone a cardiac surgery the previous day at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.

Today, on his third death anniversary we pay our homage and tribute to him. Smitu’s writings and activities include a wide spectrum of issues and arenas ranging from Development-induced displacement, , the idea of people’s movements, people’s governance and social-environmental movements. He was one of the most consistent voices against the neo-liberal politics, anti-poor policies of the state and a great critique of the contemporary privatisation, globalisation and liberalisation.

for Intercultural Resources

PT George

Sangharsh 2014 – Martyr Bhagat Singh Day Celebration: 23rd March 2014

Inquilab Zindabad! Long live the victory of working peoples’ movements!

 Shaheed Bhagat Singh Diwas, 23rd March 2014

Shaheed Park – 10 am and Jantar Mantar – 1 pm 

 Sangharsh 2014

As a follow up of the Jashn-e-Sangharsh of movements, activists and community leaders along with cultural groups, held in Chirala (Andhra Pradesh) in January 2014, a political meeting of people’s movements, organised and unorganised sector trade unions and traditional natural resource based community representatives was held on the 22ndand 23rd February 2014 in Delhi.

The existence of social movements and trade unions dates back to the history of left movement in India; the mass organisations and trade unions in the country, affiliated to a party or otherwise, have played a very important role in deciding the future of government formation at the centre and the states. It is important that we take this historic opportunity to assert our militant unity and radical positions and re-emphasize the importance of social movements and its political views outside of the electoral politics.

Discussions within social movements, trade unions and the larger left constituency, in the context of the 2014 parliament elections in India, must bring in debates and dialogues of the leading political parties and an analysis of the emerging political trends.

Some of the main positions taken during the meeting were to recognise that:

Current times demand new political coalitions and alliance-building amidst social movements and between people’s movements and trade unions, bringing together the diversity of our political history as represented through the Red, Green and Blue flags! New political formulations that weave through class, gender and caste, organised and unorganised, environment and human must be found.   

This coalition must be built on the basic ideological premise of our collective opposition against global capitalism, brahmanism, feudalism, patriarchy, religious fundamentalism and jingoistic nationalism.

The need to effectively tackle and take forward the political resurgence of the past ten years, since 2004 WSF Mumbai, Sangharsh 2007 and the new political uprisings since 2000s, like; Nandigram, Singur, Mundra, Raigad, the hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Latehar, Chengara, Haripur, Nayachar, POSCO, Niyamgiri, Odisha, Chitrakoot, Bundelkhand, Khiri and Andhra coastal regions, Kudankulam, Kalinga Nagar, Jashpur, and Sonbhadra, Maruti workers, unorganized labour struggles led by the communities and workers themselves, which exemplify this.

At a time when people’s struggles are directed against the state-corporate nexus, there is a need for building a national joint platform of social movements and trade unions especially in the context of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2014.

The battle against patriarchy, and its manifestations in the physical and structural violence against women should be strengthened through strengthening women’s roles in family, society, movement and political dialogue

There is a historical need to re-assert the lives of leaders of political resistance and social change, like, Birsa Munda, Tilka Majhi, Sidhu Kanu, Ayyankali, Periyar, Savitribai Phule, Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar, Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan

It was decided that the efforts to build this sort of a political alliance must be made immediately, especially in the run up towards General Elections 2014.

The need for evolving a joint agenda and rationale in the political dialogue with political parties, in the run up to the elections

  1. The participation of critical mass-based movements in the election process – focus being on agenda-setting with movement demands
  2. The realisation that movements and groups must engage with greater clarity, in a multi-party political democracy, to put forth our issues, concerns and ideological demands to a cross-spectrum of political groups
  3. The realisation that some of the movement groups and leaders have decided to join the electoral process and to contest elections themselves. The situation needs understanding, but should not be allowed the space of political interpretation that all social movements and trade unions are with one political party
  4. The realisation that the decades old struggles of social movements & trade unions and centuries old struggles of natural resource-based traditional communities – especially Dalits & Adivasis, have a collective strength that is rooted in the politics of being in the opposition, asserting the rights of people in the fight against the state. This must not be diluted.

There is a need to unite our demands and assert the fact that we are not pleading for legislations or to have our people in parliament or for our demands to be heard but are demanding a political dialogue on each of these issues and will be aiming towards drafting a people’s charter on these lines.

It was decided to give a call for a national level mobilisation of representatives, leaders, activists and cultural movements to assemble in Delhi on Shaheed Diwas, the commemoration day of the martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades. This will be a political gathering of Adivasi and Dalit groups, forest workers, fishworkers, handloom weavers, domestic workers, street vendors and hawkers, women’s groups and organisations that have been working in the country for social and political change. 

On the 23rd of March 2014, after paying respect to  the martyrs at Shaheed Park at 10 am, the program will continue at Jantar Mantar from 1 pm onwards. Leaders from other peoples’ organizations and from political parties will also be invited. The group is undertaking this action as SANGHARSH 2014. A brainstorming and strategy action planning meeting of activists, community leaders, solidarity groups, etc. will be held on the following day, 24th March, 2014 in Delhi.

Inquilab Zindabad! Long live the victory of Working Peoples’ Movements!

All India Union of Forest Working People AIUFWP, National Fish Workers’ Forum NFF, National Hawkers’ Federation NHF, Krishak Mukti Sangharsh Samiti (KMSS) Assam, Handloom Workers’ Co-operative Union, A.P.; All India Tribal Youth Movement, Gujarat; Voices of Youth ,Gujarat; Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG)

 

Conference: Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

CNDP cordially invites you to a conference on

Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

Relevance for South Asia and the World

NOVEMBER 8, 2013
Conference Room No.2
India International Centre, Annexe
K K Birla Lane,
off Max Mueller Marg
Lodhi Estate,
New Delhi-110003
PROGRAMME:
Tea: 9.00 to 9.30
Plenary I: 10.00-13.00
Chair: Praful Bidwai, Eminent Journalist & Founder Member, CNDP
Speakers:
Tilman Ruff, International Campaign for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons
Mani Shankar Aiyar MP, Indian National Congress
Amarjeet Kaur, National Secretary, Communist Party of India
Siddharth Mallavarapu, Professor, South Asia University, New Delhi Discussion
Lunch: 13.00-14.00

Plenary II: 14.00 – 17.00
Chair: Seema Mustafa, Centre for Policy Analysis
Speakers:
Prakash Karat, General Secretary, Communist party of India(Marxist)
Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
Manoranjan Mohanty, Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy
Achin Vanaik, Political Scientist & Founder Member of CNDP
Jean Dreze, G B Pant Institute, Allahabad

Discussion
Tea: 17.00-17.30

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Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

124A/6, Katwaria Sarai, New Delhi
www.cndpindia.org | cndpindia@gmail.com
CONTACT: Kumar Sundaram (91-9810556134)

 

Press Conference: Reality of the Uttarakhand Flood

Press Conference

Reality of the Uttarakhand Flood

Date: 8th November, 2013

Time: 12.30 pm – 2 pm

Venue: Lawns, Press Club of India, 1, Raisina Road, New Delhi

As you all are aware of the massive flood in Uttarakhand in the month of June, 2013, and it was shown to the world as a natural calamity which is not fully correct. This quantum of natural calamity increased many fold due to existing and dams under-construction on Bhagirathi-Alaknanda and their tributaries. Vishnupryag and Srinagar Hydro Electricity Projects (HEP) are some of the examples in Alaknanda Valley and Assiganga HEPs, Maneri-Bhali phase -2 is another bad example in Bhagirathi Valley, to quote a few.

The situation of these dam affected areas are worst as follows:-

Dam companies are busy with repair work without any study or investigation in to the reasons for the incident or extent of damage not only to the structure but to human life downstream.

No enquiry has been set up by the state or central agency in the instances of dam burst.

No FIR were allowed to be filed in Police stations.

Dinesh Panwar, Ranu Chowhan, P. V. Kala and others from affected villages in these parts are in Delhi to share their experience and to expose the reality of the situation in the Valley.

It is in this context that we would like to invite you for a Press Conference on 8th November, 2013, Tomorrow at Press Club, New Delhi @ 12.30 pm to 2 pm.

Please Join and listen our experience.

With Regards

Vimal Bhai (09718479517), Seela (09212587159)

 

No Place for Poor Indian Activists at the UN Meet in Canada

Lets register protest- Canada or any other govt should not repeat this. See the newsreport below.
From Rasheed

NO PLACE FOR POOR INDIAN ACTIVISTS AT UN MEET IN CANADA

Monday, 07 October 2013 | Moushumi Basu | New Delhi
It was a moment of rare honour for Sabitri Patra and Gopal Chandra Mandal — two conservationists from remote villages near Niyamgiri hills and Sunderbans in Odisha and West Bengal respectively. They were invited by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and officially registered by its Secretariat to participate in its meetings in Montreal from October 7 to October 18.

As per the agreement between the CBD Secretariat and the Canadian Government, the visa of the participants is to be promptly processed free of cost. To their surprise, the duo had to pay for their visa applications, which were rejected on grounds that they possessed insufficient funds in their personal account.

While Gopal is actively involved in restoration of mangrove ecology and developing community-owned mangrove forests in the vicinity of local villages, Sabitri had been working with the Kutia Kondh communities (particularly vulnerable tribal Group) near Niyamgiri hills. She had even participated in the 2012 CBD summit in Hyderabad.

“I was all set to board my flight on Thursday, but just a day before I got a letter from Canada Citizenship and Immigration office saying my application had been rejected,” Gopal said. “I was told I did not have sufficient funds, income or assets… to maintain myself in Canada,” he added.

While the visa officer also considered that the application had not clarified the “Purpose of Visit,” Gopal had a registration letter signed by the Executive Secretary of the CBD confirming that he “has been officially nominated to attend” the concerned CBD meetings.

He also had another letter from a sponsor confirming to cover all his expenses during his stay in Canada. Further, even the return air ticket was furnished along with the application. However, in spite of all these documents, they rejected the visa.

For her part, Sabitri also faced a similar plight. “Poor persons like us cannot hope to go to Canada,” an upset Sabitri said.S Faizi, ecologist, chairing the Board of CBD Alliance and specialising in International Environmental Policy, said, “Canada has breached the headquarters’ Agreement it has signed at the highest level with the United Nations Environment Programme for hosting the CBD Secretariat.”

Article 8.2 of the Agreement clearly points out, “Visas, where requested for persons shall be issued by the Government free of charge and as promptly as possible.”

Similarly, Article 8.1 of the Agreement says that Canadian authorities “shall not” impose any impediments to transit to and from the premises of the Secretariat of representatives of parties, observers….invited by the Secretariat…”

These are unconditional commitments on the part of the host country, as required by the UN system, in order to host universal UN events, Faizi said, adding its breach calls for remedial action by the statutory bodies of CBD.

However, responding to the charges over e-mail, Sonia Lesage, Media Relations Advisor/Spokesperson Western Region – Communications, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said though they cannot comment on the specifics of these cases due to Privacy Act, visa applications are considered on a case-by-case basis on the specific facts presented by the applicant in each case. Decisions are made by highly-trained visa officers in accordance with Canadian immigration law.

“It is important to note that the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that they meet the requirements for a temporary resident visa. Applications should be clear and complete and include all relevant supporting documents, such as an official invitation to attend a special event being held in Canada,” she added.

Kiran Shaheen

 

National Green Assembly on Waste Legislation and Wastepickers

National Green Assembly on Waste Legislation and Wastepickers

New MSW draft rules continue to exclude Waste Pickers
 
Time: 10 AM To 1.30 PM
Day: Wednesday
Date: 23 October 2013 
Venue: Constitution Club, New Delhi.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, has recently come out with the Draft Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2013 (MSW Rules). These rules would supersede the earlier MSW Rules, 2000 and have huge implications for the way waste is managed in cities across India.

 

It is important to draw the attention that these rules completely lack to focus on the lives and livelihoods of millions of workers, both formal and informal, who have been involved in waste management. As per the claim, it is also have lack of potential to address the problem of pollution control.

 

All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM), CIS&LS,JNU, PRIA, FIUPW, NALR, LRC, 350.org, CEC, BVD, CWE, Janpahal, AIPLR, ULRF, Environics Trust, SAFP, LEDS, AMSS has decided to host a dialogue of various stakeholders to thresh out the issues so that the new Rules may lay the foundation for much more sustainable, inclusive, and holistic waste management rather than the present inefficient draft.
We therefore request you to participate in the dialogue and enrich it with your expert views on the matter.

                                                                                                   Organizing Partners

 

Press Release: All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW)

AINSW conference in New Delhi on 22 Aug 2013
AINSW conference in New Delhi on 22 Aug 2013

Press Release

New Delhi, August 22: Recognising the strength of sex workers’ collectives in addressing issues faced by them  Dr. Syeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission of India said that, ” The 12th Five-Year Plan is in many ways imbued with the voices of the excluded.” These communities are at the cutting edge of the inclusive growth she added while delivering the valedictory address along with Mr. Oscar Fernandes and Ms. Aradhana Johri, Additional Secretary, Department of AIDS Control at the two-day National Consultation on the “Protecting Dignity and Rights of Sex Workers”.

Both in his capacity as Union Minister of Surface Transport and Highways Minister and Founder member of Parliamentary Forum on AIDS, Government of India and a long time ally of the sex workers movement Mr. Oscar Fernandes said, “I appreciate your efforts and initiative to come forward and contribute significantly in prevention of HIV.” He informed that PFA is organising a series of workshops all over the country and he sought All India  Network of Sex Workers (AINSW) participation in them.

Social activist Aruna Roy joined the consultation straight from Pension Parishad sit-in at Jantar Mantar. Expressing her solidarity with sex workers’ collective she said, “We recognise sex workers as any other workers in the informal sector.” She supported their demand for de-criminalisation and recognition to their work as work and said that the sex workers should be part of the process of making of laws and policies related to them.

Commenting on the proposed legal amendments in ITPA Ms. K. Sujatha Rao, Former Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India said, “Sex workers are also human being who have their choices and vulnerabilities, they cannot be judged on moral ground. I do not think criminalising clients will help in any way, but it would have adverse effect by increase in violence. Therefore it will not be good measure in public policy terms.”

‘Only Rights can stop the Wrongs’ was the motto of the two-day theme. On the second day of consultation representatives of sex workers discussed issues related with health and violence along with supporters of sex workers’ movements in the Government, Judiciary, Media and Social Activism.

The notable speakers in this session include Ms. Meenakshi Dutta Ghosh, Former Secretary, Ministry of Panchayat and Rural Development, Govt. of India; Mr. Oussama Tawil, UNAIDS; Ms. Sushma Mehorotra; Ms. K. Sujatha Rao, Former Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India;  Ms. Sutapa Deb, Senior Journalist, NDTV; Ms. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Human Rights Activist; Ms. Alka Narang, United Nations Development Programme; Ms. Sarada Murleedharan, Director, National Rural Livelihood Mission; Mr. Nikhil Dey, MKSS;  Ms. Rashmi Singh, Mission Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW); Mr. Sayedul Haque, Member of Parliament, CPI(M)

Other notable speakers representing sex workers collectives include Ms. P. Koushalya, President PWN+; Ms. Bhagya, Ashodaya; Ms. Kusum

Representatives of sex workers from 13 states, affiliated with the All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW), which was founded three years ago, have come together in the capital for the two day consultation on 21-22 August 2013.

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

नई दिल्ली, 22 अगस्त, 2013: सेक्स वर्करों की सामूहिक शक्ति को महसूस करते हुए योजना आयोग की सदस्या डॉ. सैयदा हमीद ने कहा कि 12वीं पंचवर्षीय योजना में कई तरीकों को शामिल किया गया है जिससे उपेक्षित लोगों की आवाज  को भी सुना जाएगा। सेक्स वर्करों के सम्मान और अधिकार की सुरक्षा के लिए दो दिनों तक चली राष्ट्रीय बैठक में अपने समापन भाषण में हमीद ने कहा कि सेक्स वर्करों का समुदाय समाज के विकास से कटा हुआ है। हमीद के साथ इस सत्र में केंद्रीय भूतल परिवहन मंत्री आस्कर फर्नांडीस और एड्स नियंत्रण विभाग की अतिरिक्त सचिव अराधना जौहरी भी शामिल हुईं।

केंद्रीय भूतल परिवहन मंत्री और एड्स के मुद्दे पर बने संसदीय फोरम के संस्थापक सदस्य और सेक्स वर्करों के आंदोलन से लंबे समय से जुड़े हुए आस्कर फर्नांडीज़ ने कहा, “एचआईवी की रोकथाम की दिशा में आप लोगों की कोशिशों औरप प्रयासों की मैं प्रशंसा करता हूं।” उन्होंने इस मौके पर यह भी बताया कि एड्स के मुद्दे पर बना संसदीय फोरम देश भर में वर्कशाप्स का आयोजन कर रहा है। उन्होंने ऑल इंडिया नेटवर्क ऑफ़ सेक्स वर्कर (एआईएनएसडब्ल्यू) को इन वर्कशाप्स में शामिल होने का आमंत्रण भी दिया।

जंतर मंतर पर पेंशन परिषद की बैठक में शामिल सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता अरुणा राय भी इस बैठक में हिस्सा लेने के लिए पहुंची। उन्होंने सेक्स वर्करों को अपना समर्थन देने की घोषणा करते हुए कहा,  “हम सेक्स वर्करों को असंगठित क्षेत्र में काम कर रहे दूसरे वर्करों की तरह ही देखते हैं।”

उन्होंने सेक्स वर्करों के पेशे को काम के तौर पर मान्यता दिए जाने की मांग का समर्थन करते हुए कहा कि इसे अपराध के दायरे से हटाना होगा। उन्होंने इस बात पर भी जोर दिया कि सेक्स वर्करों से संबंधित कानून और नीतियां बनाने में सेक्स वर्करों से सलाह मशविरा किया जाना चाहिए।

आईटीपीए में प्रस्तावित कानूनी संशोधनों पर बोलते हुए स्वास्थ्य एवं परिवार कल्याण मंत्रालया की पूर्व सचिव के सुजाता राव ने कहा, “सेक्स वर्कर भी इंसान हैं, उनकी अपनी इच्छाएं होती हैं। उन्हें केवल नैतिक आधार पर नहीं परखा जाना चाहिए। मैं नहीं समझती हूं कि सेक्स वर्करों के ग्राहकों को अपराध के दायरे में लाने से कोई मदद मिलने वाली है। इससे सेक्स वर्करों के साथ हिंसा के मामले बढ़ेंगे। इसलिए सार्वजनिक नीतियों के लिहाज से यह बेहतर कदम नहीं है।”

दो दिनों के राष्ट्रीय बैठक की थीम है- केवल सही कदमों के जरिए ग़लतियों को रोका जा सकता है। बैठक के दूसरे दिन सेक्स वर्करों के प्रतिनिधियों के बीच स्वास्थ्य और उनके ख़िलाफ़ होने वाली हिंसा पर चर्चा हुई। इसमें सरकार, न्यायपालिका, मीडिया और सामाजिक क्षेत्र से जुड़ी शख्सियतों ने हिस्सा लिया।

इस सत्र में बोलने वाले विशिष्ट लोगों में भारत के ग्रामीण विकास और पंचायती राज मंत्रालय की पूर्व सचिव मीनाक्षी दत्ता घोष, स्वास्थ्य एवं परिवार कल्याण मंत्रालय की पूर्व सचिव के सुजाता राव, सुषमा मेहरोत्रा, यूएनएड्स के ओसामा तावेल, एनडीटीवी की वरिष्ठ पत्रकार सुतापा देब, मानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ता कामायनी बाली महाबल, यूनाइटेड नेशंस डेवलपमेंट प्रोग्राम की अलका नारंग, राष्ट्रीय ग्रामीण आजीविकाय आयोग की निदेशक शारदा मुरलीधरन, एमकेएसएस की निखिल डे, राष्ट्रीय स्त्री सशक्तिकरण आयोग की मिशन डायरेक्टर रश्मि सिंह, सीपीआईएम की सांसद सैयदुल हक शामिल थे।

इनके लोगों के अलावा सेक्स वर्कर्स कलेक्टिव के प्रतिनिधियों में पीडब्ल्यूएन प्लस की अध्यक्ष पी कौशल्या, आशोदया की भाग्या और कुसुम ने अपने विचार रखे।

ऑल इंडिया नेटवर्क ऑफ़ सेक्स वर्कर्स (एआईएनएसडब्ल्यू) के बैनर तले तेरह राज्यों के सेक्स वर्करों के प्रतिनिधि राष्ट्रीय राजधानी में सेक्स वर्करों के सम्मान और अधिकार को सुनिश्चित करने के लिए 21-22 अगस्त को हो रहे राष्ट्रीय सम्मेलन में हिस्सा लेने के लिए जमा हुए। तीन साल पहले सेक्स वर्करों के अधिकार और उनके लिए सुविधाओं की मांग के लिए एआईएनएसडब्ल्यू का गठन हुआ था।

 

 

 

 

PRESS INVITATION: The Unresolved Tamil Question in Sri Lanka

PRESS  INVITATION

The Unresolved Tamil Question in Sri Lanka

10:00 am – 3:00 pm, August 13, 2013

Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road, New Delhi

Dear Friends,

Zindabaad !

The Tamil question in Sri Lanka, after the military offensive in 2009 seems to have vanished from the general discourse everywhere. After the war a UN panel found that as many as 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the final months of the civil war, most as a result of indiscriminate shelling by the Sri Lankan military. The panel called on the UNSG to conduct an independent international investigation into the alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by both sides. The Sri Lankan government rejected the entire report, calling it “fundamentally flawed in many respects”, and as being based on “patently biased” and unverified material and produced another report titled Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

Sri Lankan state has given such an impression that the question has been solved, 3,50,000 displaced Tamils in the final stages of war have been rehabilitated and brought in ‘mainstream’. However, the reality is very different. The rights violations of Tamils continue to occur, they remain the second grade citizens in their own country. In Tamilnadu many of the civil society groups continue to take up these issues and pressurise upon the TN government and Indian government intervene. In March 2012, the United Nations passed a resolution urging Sri Lanka to investigate alleged abuses during the final phase of war with Tamil rebels. India voted against Sri Lanka, under pressure from parties from south India. However, the strategic interests prevent any such action from the government and situation of Tamils remain far from better.

NAPM Tamil Nadu has been involved with the issue in various capacities and have collaborated with Save Tamils Movement, May 17th Movement, group of Socialists and so on. In May – June this year at a meeting organised in Chennai a decision was taken that during the Parliament session a national meeting would be organised in Delhi.

It is in this context that we are writing to invite you to the meeting on August 13th, at Indian Social Institute 10, Lodi Road, New Delhi from 11:00 to 5:00 pm. We need your support in taking this initiative forward and ensuring rights and justice to Tamils.

Do join us !

In Solidarity,

Medha Patkar, D. Gabriele, Vijay Pratap, Rajendra Ravi, Y. Arul Doss, Sudandiran, Jacquline, Adlin, Jayaharan, Sanjeev kumar, Madhuresh Kumar, Seela M

Organised by National Alliance of People’s Movements, Socialist Front, Delhi Solidarity Group and others

Endorsed by : Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU