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SC asks Delhi Police to Explain use of Teargas on Baba Ramdev’s Yoga Camp

Express news service  Posted: Tue Jul 12 2011, 03:17 hrsNew Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Monday sought an explanation from the Delhi Police regarding the midnight crackdown at a camp organised by yoga guru Baba Ramdev against corruption. The court also questioned the need for resorting to teargas shells and lathi-charge in a closed enclosure, where people were sleeping.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar asked for responses from the Delhi Home Secretary and the Delhi Police, while posting the case for hearing on July 25.

Referring to Ramdev’s reply in support of his claim that a yoga camp was on at Ramlila Maidan, the bench observed that there are documents and DVDs to show that yoga was undertaken.

The court said it may even view over 30 hard disks of footage to help determine what really happened at the site.

Ramdev had, in his reply, blamed Home Minister P Chidambaram for the entire incident, saying the decision to arrest him was taken well in advance. The yoga guru asked the court to issue a notice to the Home Minister personally.

While the court asked for a reply from the Home ministry, no clarification has been sought from Chidambaram personally.

The government had said that instead of a mass-yoga class for 5,000 people, for which the permission was sought, there were close to 65,000 people present on the grounds.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Ramdev, said a detailed response was required from the police on why they used water-cannons and teargas, putting Ramdev’s followers at the Maidan in harm’s way. He termed the police action as “murder of democracy”.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/explain-use-of-teargas-force-sc-to-police/816272/

Gujarat, Bharat’s Guangdong

 

 

 

Here is a good article about Gujarat’s progress. Of course, just as it is customary to touch steps of a temple before entering it, for all the media it has become customary to harp on 2002 riots (result of burning of 59 Hindus by Muslim mobs in  a train at Godhra) whenever writing about Gujarat or Narendra Modi.- Moderator

A north-western state offers a glimpse of a possible industrial future for India

SO MANY things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like India. In a factory packed with kit from Germany and China, slabs of rubber and bags of carbon black are turned into tyres. After being X-rayed for imperfections, they will be distributed across India or sent for export within three days. Sandeep Bhatia, a manager for CEAT, the firm that owns the project, says it took only 24 months to complete, including the normally fraught process of buying land. There is constant electricity, gas and abundant water. The state government, he says, kept red tape to a minimum, did not ask for bribes, and does not interfere much now.

The tyre plant is not the only sign of prosperity in Gujarat. A nearby village may have fodder strewn all over its alleys and mice scuttling across shampoo sachets in the local store, but it also has satellite dishes poking up from the roofs and power metres on the wall of every house. Most of the men, the villagers say, work for small industrial firms for a wage about 50% higher than they would get in the fields. The road to Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s main city, is privately operated and boasts four lanes. It passes through a countryside that is visibly industrialising.

With a long coastline and too little rain for decent farming, Gujarat has always been famous for its traders. When it was hived off from Bombay to form a separate state in 1960, “the question was how Gujarat would survive,” says Narendra Modi, who has been chief minister since 2001. These days Gujarat accounts for 5% of India’s population but 16% of its industrial output and 22% of its exports. Its growth has outpaced India’s (see chart) and it wins accolades from business people. A recent comparison of Indian states by McKinsey, a consultancy, waxed lyrical about Gujarat. It might yet play the role of industrial locomotive for the country, as Guangdong province did for China in the 1990s. There is lots of excited talk about exporters switching from China to India. Sanjay Lalbhai, the chairman of Arvind, a textiles maker and clothing retailer based in Ahmedabad, says such a move is “imminent” in his industry.

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Chinese-style, big-ticket projects are part of Gujarat’s formula, including refineries and ports, but so are networks of smaller firms and foreign companies which have now achieved critical mass in industries such as cars and pharmaceuticals. The state government uses the usual tricks to try to jump-start growth, including special economic zones. But more important, it has provided the bog-standard things that businesses pray for across India but often do not get—less onerous labour laws, passable roads, reliable electricity and effective bureaucracy.

Against the charge that some people have been left behind, Gujarat can point to reasonable growth in agriculture, helped by irrigation schemes. But the state has a black spot, which dates back to 2002 and an outbreak of sectarian violence. As many as 2,000 people (the official toll is lower) were killed in a month of riots, most of them Muslims. Some say Mr Modi and the state government were complicit in the violence or could at least have done more to stop it.

 Compare the population and GDP of Indian states to those of entire countries using our interactive map

Might prosperity help heal the wounds? In Juhapura, a district on the outskirts of Ahmedabad dominated by the Muslim minority, a young mason grows angry when asked if he feels lucky to make 250-300 rupees a day ($6-7), saying he only gets work for 15 days a month. Others are more content. A bearded man down the road says his party-decoration business is booming. Behind the till of a shop selling top-ups for mobile phones and stationery for the nearby school, a man in a skull cap says life has undoubtedly improved, although his 82-year-old father, sitting in a deckchair, complains that everything went to the dogs when the British left.

Gujarat could be a vision of India’s future, in which manufacturing flourishes, soaking up rural labour. Its economy is expected to grow by double digits, even as India’s rate slows to 7-8% this year. The state may also be a springboard for Mr Modi, who may contest the national leadership of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, perhaps after state elections due in 2012. Mr Modi is enigmatic on this subject. He has yet to shed his polarising image, but he has at least built up an enviable record on the economy.

http://www.economist.com/node/18929279?story_id=18929279&fsrc=rss

Call Off the Global Drug War- Jimmy Carter

New York Times

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

By JIMMY CARTER

Published: June 16, 2011

Atlanta

IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

These ideas were widely accepted at the time. But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries.

This approach entailed an enormous expenditure of resources and the dependence on police and military forces to reduce the foreign cultivation of marijuana, coca and opium poppy and the production of cocaine and heroin. One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries.

The commission’s facts and arguments are persuasive. It recommends that governments be encouraged to experiment “with models of legal regulation of drugs … that are designed to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.” For effective examples, they can look to policies that have shown promising results in Europe, Australia and other places.

But they probably won’t turn to the United States for advice. Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about anexplosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults!

Some of this increase has been caused by mandatory minimum sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” laws. But about three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for nonviolent crimes. And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.

Not only has this excessive punishment destroyed the lives of millions of young people and their families (disproportionately minorities), but it is wreaking havoc on state and local budgets. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state’s budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education.

Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help to bring about a reform of America’s drug policies. At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right.

A few years ago I worked side by side for four months with a group of prison inmates, who were learning the building trade, to renovate some public buildings in my hometown of Plains, Ga. They were intelligent and dedicated young men, each preparing for a productive life after the completion of his sentence. More than half of them were in prison for drug-related crimes, and would have been better off in college or trade school.

To help such men remain valuable members of society, and to make drug policies more humane and more effective, the American government should support and enact the reforms laid out by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, is the founder of the Carter Center and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 17, 2011, on page A35 of the New York edition with the headline: Call Off the Global Drug War.

Sign the Petition: Open letter to Pres., India- Police Brutality at Ramlila Grounds

Date: Sat, Jun 11, 2011 at 5:25 PM
Subject: [BSTUSA} Open Letter to the President of India – Sign Up Campaign against Delhi Police’s brutalities on hundreds of thousands peaceful Satyagrathies on June 4th Night at Ram Lila Ground

Dear All,


OM!

Please click the link below for Sign Up Campaign against Delhi Police’s brutalities on hundreds of thousands peaceful Satyagrathies on June 4th Night at Ram Lila Ground and please forward it to as many people as possible.

Letter To President Of India

Smt. Pratibha Patil
President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi,
India.

Honorable Smt. Pratibha Patil:

This is to express our vehement condemnation of the merciless use of force on more than a hundred thousand Indian citizens including women and children who were unarmed, sleeping, fasting and exercising only their constitutional democratic rights to draw attention of Government of India by peaceful means to skyrocketing plundering and widespread corruption, during the “Satyagraha” against corruption on Ram Lila grounds in New Delhi on June 4th 2011.

The brutality of the police revisited the atrocities committed by British colonial rulers and emergency rule of Mrs. Indira Gandhi during 1975, which many of us have personally experienced and heard from our parents. Innocent, peaceful Satyagrahis assembled were tear-gassed, beaten up in lathi-charge and trampled by thousands of violent policemen under order from the UPA government.

The state-sponsored violence in a closed compound could have even led to an uncontrollable  stampede resulting in the loss of an enormous numbers of innocent lives. This cannot be Democratic India; this cannot be Mahatma Gandhi’s India; this is not India governed by rule of law and a democratic constitution, ensuring the fundamental rights of all citizens for assembly and peaceful protest and demonstration.

These events have left the people of Indian origin around the globe, particularly here in the USA, shocked and horror-stricken. We are thoroughly embarrassed for our native land, asking in disbelief what indeed is the difference between Indian democracy under UPA leadership and the Chinese dictatorial system, where no peaceful demonstration is allowed and any legitimate criticism against the ruling Communist Party is crushed with brutal violence as in Tiananmen Square.

The irresponsible, callous, fascist and totalitarian attitude of the UPA government is evident from the fact that neither the UPA Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi nor Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh considers it necessary to provide an explanation and extend an apology to the nation. The prime minister even made a ridiculous statement that there was no other way except use of violence, near the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi himself – a global beacon of non-violence.

This display of naked power clearly appears to be yet another attempt to crush the ever-increasing strength of anti-corruption movements by the masses all over India, unfortunately implying UPA government intense desire to preserve the culture of corruption among their own political ranks and within the thoroughly corrupt bureaucracy they control. These were the actions of people who do not believe in either human rights for their citizens, freedom of speech guaranteed by the Indian Constitution or Indian values.

This is a serious threat to the fundamental rights of our brothers and sisters in India. The entire Diaspora around the globe as NRI, PIO and responsible Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) unequivocally condemn this act by the Government of India. We are convinced now more than ever as to why the UPA government is trying to brutally crush any and all peaceful anti-corruption movements. Irrespective of our political affiliation, we are totally united in expressing our disgust and anger against unconstitutional violation of democracy and human rights.

Sreemati Patil, as the President of India you have the constitutional duty to uphold democratic norms guaranteeing the freedom and inalienable right of all Indian citizens for peaceful assembly and protest, and also to dismiss a corrupt government which has clearly exhibited no desire to curb rampant corruption and hence lost all moral authority to govern the country. We fervently hope that you will restore freedom, human rights and democratic rights of the citizens by dismissing the corrupt UPA government.  People of India deserve a chance to democratically elect new leaders who will root out corruption.

Thank you for your consideration and thoughtfulness.

Sincerely,


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