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10,000 people assemble at Azad Maidan! Mumbaikars put Centre’s claim to shame

Punjab farmer leaders who travelled to the city for the Saturday event thanked attendees for refuting the ‘only-Punjab-Haryana-protest” narrative of the Government of India.

16 Jan 2021

Protest

Around 10,000 people marched towards Azad Maidan in Mumbai on January 16, 2021 in support of India’s farmers battling the three agriculture laws forcibly passed by the central government.

A mammoth number of supporters walked from Islam Gym to the protest point at the call of a coalition of people’s and peasant’s organisations such as Mumbai Aman Committee, All India Ulema Council, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP,) the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS,) the National Alliance of People's Movements, Hum Bharat ke Log, the All India Banjara Samaj, the Chhatrapati Sambhaji Brigade and many others.

 

Organisations put up “Mumbai with Farmers” hoardings all over the city for mass mobilisation from 2 PM to 4 PM.

CJP Secretary and renowned journalist Teesta Setalvad congratulated the farmers near Delhi for awakening the people of India. She reminded attendees at Azad Maidan every Indian citizen needs to stand united in this struggle for food security and people’s rights because farmers.

“Farmers, who put all their efforts in the land are all too aware of what happens when agriculture is corporatized. Our farmers are adivasis (indigenous people,) Dalits, OBCs, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. And so, we need to stand together,” said Setalvad.

She added that the farmers protests on the "borders" of the capital, Delhi was historic as it poses a political challenge to the policies of the regime. Punjab farmers who challenged the British with the Pagdi Sambhal Jatha in the late 1800s are today challenging the 21st century version of neo colonisation.

Similarly, SSS Founder Raju Shetti applauded the assembled Mumbaikars for promising their solidarity with farmers.

“They call us annadaatas. But these annadaatas have been forced at the border of Delhi like beggars for near two months now. India’s farmer cannot enter the national capital to assert his own right. What Independence is this? For whom is it?” said Shetti.

Speaking exclusively to SabrangIndia, Shetti said that the three laws have been thrown upon farmers under the false claim that farmers themselves demanded these laws. Instead of these laws, he said that farmers want the legalisation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) that it not accessible to all farmers.

He warned that the government was spreading a false narrative that this is a farmers’ struggle when in reality both farmers and poor people would suffer under these laws due to its impact on food security.

When asked whether the government was likely to listen to farmers, Shetti said that the alternative would lead to results similar to 1980s when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi tried to silence farmers.

Along with state leaders, three farmer leaders from Punjab Amarjit Singh, Mukesh Chandar Sharma and Jangbir Singh Chauhan also attended the Saturday protest in decrying the three laws and demanding the rights of farmers.

Leaders thanked the people of Mumbai for assembling in the “economic capital” of India and showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi that every state in India opposed the three laws as opposed to the false narrative of it being a Punjab-Haryana agitation.

“This is the country’s struggle. [Union Home Minister] Amit Shah kept making laws as per your wishes. We kept silent. But now that 78 percent of people’s lives are under threat, then the entire nation has stood against you. You are stealing food from the poor!” said one of the leaders.

They also condemned the government for selling public sector undertakings to the private sectors.

Some of the organisations that participated in the Saturday event are listed below:

1. Mumbai Aman Committee

2. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Brigade

3. National Alliance of People’s Movements

4. All India Ulema Council, Mumbai

5. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

6. Citizen for Justice and Peace

7. Jamiatul Ulema Ahle Sunnat

8. Movement for Human Welfare

9. All India Banjara Samaj

10. Subai Jamiat Ahle Hadees, Mumbai

11. Jamaat e Islami Hind

12. All India Majlis e Mashwerat

13. Kamgar Sanghatna Sanyukt Kruti Smiti

14. Hum Bharat Ke Log

15. Panjabi Sanjhi Sabha

16. Jan Andolanachi Sangharch Samiti

17. Milli Council

18. Guru Singh Sabha

19. Teachers Democratic Front

20. Yuva Kranti Sabha

21. National  Christian Forum.

22. Ghar bacho ghar banao andolan.

23. Akhil bhartiya Obc Mahasabha.

24. Sadbhavna Sangh

25. Sambhaji Brigade Paksha

26. Janasena Samajik Sanstha

27. Sanvidhanvadi Republican Paksha

28.  Republic Yuva Sena.

29. Manav Uddhar Samajik Sanstha

30. Bhartiya Aatma Sanghthana

31. Youth Wing JIH Maharashtra

32. Professional Solidarity Forum

33. Ham Bhartiya Mira Bhayandar

34. Mujtama e Olama wo Khotaba, Mumbai

35. Mahfil e Sani e Zahra (s.a.), Zaib Palace, Mumbai

36. Kisan Morcha All Kurla Committee

37. Bhartiya Bodh Mahasabha Kurla

38. Kurla Voice

39. Mulbhut Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti.

40. Rashtra Seva Dal-Mumbai

41. Students Islamic Organisation of India, Mumbai

42. Hadana Education and Welfare Trust (India)

43. Lokanchi Shakti Jogeshwari West

44. Kamgar Ekta Committee

45. Siri Guru Harrai Charitable Trust

46. ACBS Initiative

47. Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Vichaar Manch

48. Lok Hind Party

49. Lok Sangharsha Morcha

50. Swaraj Abhiyan

51. Satyashodhak Shetkari Sabha

52. Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana

53. Aam Aadmi Sarva Shramik Sanghatan

Related:

Jai Kisan, say veteran jawans now stationed on Delhi’s borders in solidarity with farmers
Farmers organisations begin maintaining record of the fallen
Jan 15 talks inconclusive: Centre and farmers remain at loggerheads
Maharashtra organisations declare protests marches from Jan 23-25
Women farmers, students write open letter against SC's comment on women farmers
BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

10,000 people assemble at Azad Maidan! Mumbaikars put Centre’s claim to shame

Punjab farmer leaders who travelled to the city for the Saturday event thanked attendees for refuting the ‘only-Punjab-Haryana-protest” narrative of the Government of India.

Protest

Around 10,000 people marched towards Azad Maidan in Mumbai on January 16, 2021 in support of India’s farmers battling the three agriculture laws forcibly passed by the central government.

A mammoth number of supporters walked from Islam Gym to the protest point at the call of a coalition of people’s and peasant’s organisations such as Mumbai Aman Committee, All India Ulema Council, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP,) the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS,) the National Alliance of People's Movements, Hum Bharat ke Log, the All India Banjara Samaj, the Chhatrapati Sambhaji Brigade and many others.

 

Organisations put up “Mumbai with Farmers” hoardings all over the city for mass mobilisation from 2 PM to 4 PM.

CJP Secretary and renowned journalist Teesta Setalvad congratulated the farmers near Delhi for awakening the people of India. She reminded attendees at Azad Maidan every Indian citizen needs to stand united in this struggle for food security and people’s rights because farmers.

“Farmers, who put all their efforts in the land are all too aware of what happens when agriculture is corporatized. Our farmers are adivasis (indigenous people,) Dalits, OBCs, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. And so, we need to stand together,” said Setalvad.

She added that the farmers protests on the "borders" of the capital, Delhi was historic as it poses a political challenge to the policies of the regime. Punjab farmers who challenged the British with the Pagdi Sambhal Jatha in the late 1800s are today challenging the 21st century version of neo colonisation.

Similarly, SSS Founder Raju Shetti applauded the assembled Mumbaikars for promising their solidarity with farmers.

“They call us annadaatas. But these annadaatas have been forced at the border of Delhi like beggars for near two months now. India’s farmer cannot enter the national capital to assert his own right. What Independence is this? For whom is it?” said Shetti.

Speaking exclusively to SabrangIndia, Shetti said that the three laws have been thrown upon farmers under the false claim that farmers themselves demanded these laws. Instead of these laws, he said that farmers want the legalisation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) that it not accessible to all farmers.

He warned that the government was spreading a false narrative that this is a farmers’ struggle when in reality both farmers and poor people would suffer under these laws due to its impact on food security.

When asked whether the government was likely to listen to farmers, Shetti said that the alternative would lead to results similar to 1980s when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi tried to silence farmers.

Along with state leaders, three farmer leaders from Punjab Amarjit Singh, Mukesh Chandar Sharma and Jangbir Singh Chauhan also attended the Saturday protest in decrying the three laws and demanding the rights of farmers.

Leaders thanked the people of Mumbai for assembling in the “economic capital” of India and showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi that every state in India opposed the three laws as opposed to the false narrative of it being a Punjab-Haryana agitation.

“This is the country’s struggle. [Union Home Minister] Amit Shah kept making laws as per your wishes. We kept silent. But now that 78 percent of people’s lives are under threat, then the entire nation has stood against you. You are stealing food from the poor!” said one of the leaders.

They also condemned the government for selling public sector undertakings to the private sectors.

Some of the organisations that participated in the Saturday event are listed below:

1. Mumbai Aman Committee

2. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Brigade

3. National Alliance of People’s Movements

4. All India Ulema Council, Mumbai

5. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

6. Citizen for Justice and Peace

7. Jamiatul Ulema Ahle Sunnat

8. Movement for Human Welfare

9. All India Banjara Samaj

10. Subai Jamiat Ahle Hadees, Mumbai

11. Jamaat e Islami Hind

12. All India Majlis e Mashwerat

13. Kamgar Sanghatna Sanyukt Kruti Smiti

14. Hum Bharat Ke Log

15. Panjabi Sanjhi Sabha

16. Jan Andolanachi Sangharch Samiti

17. Milli Council

18. Guru Singh Sabha

19. Teachers Democratic Front

20. Yuva Kranti Sabha

21. National  Christian Forum.

22. Ghar bacho ghar banao andolan.

23. Akhil bhartiya Obc Mahasabha.

24. Sadbhavna Sangh

25. Sambhaji Brigade Paksha

26. Janasena Samajik Sanstha

27. Sanvidhanvadi Republican Paksha

28.  Republic Yuva Sena.

29. Manav Uddhar Samajik Sanstha

30. Bhartiya Aatma Sanghthana

31. Youth Wing JIH Maharashtra

32. Professional Solidarity Forum

33. Ham Bhartiya Mira Bhayandar

34. Mujtama e Olama wo Khotaba, Mumbai

35. Mahfil e Sani e Zahra (s.a.), Zaib Palace, Mumbai

36. Kisan Morcha All Kurla Committee

37. Bhartiya Bodh Mahasabha Kurla

38. Kurla Voice

39. Mulbhut Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti.

40. Rashtra Seva Dal-Mumbai

41. Students Islamic Organisation of India, Mumbai

42. Hadana Education and Welfare Trust (India)

43. Lokanchi Shakti Jogeshwari West

44. Kamgar Ekta Committee

45. Siri Guru Harrai Charitable Trust

46. ACBS Initiative

47. Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Vichaar Manch

48. Lok Hind Party

49. Lok Sangharsha Morcha

50. Swaraj Abhiyan

51. Satyashodhak Shetkari Sabha

52. Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana

53. Aam Aadmi Sarva Shramik Sanghatan

Related:

Jai Kisan, say veteran jawans now stationed on Delhi’s borders in solidarity with farmers
Farmers organisations begin maintaining record of the fallen
Jan 15 talks inconclusive: Centre and farmers remain at loggerheads
Maharashtra organisations declare protests marches from Jan 23-25
Women farmers, students write open letter against SC's comment on women farmers
BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

Related Articles


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Ram Mandir fundraising campaign a tool to gauge BJP’s popularity in Bengal?

Lines blur between church and state as President of India becomes first contributor to the fund to build the temple in Ayodhya

16 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirth Kshetra Trust (SRTKT) kickstarted its fundraising drive to construct the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya this week, but according to a report in The Telegraph, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using this drive to gauge its popularity in different regions of the state of West Bengal.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and BJP members were reportedly distributing receipts for donation amounts in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 100 and Rs 1,000. They were also reportedly collecting details of donors. The Telegraph quoted a source saying that this database of donors would serve as a “dipstick survey” of supporters in the state.

This raises several concerns given how this will help the BJP ascertain not only who its supporters are, but also help them figure out those who did not donate, thus enabling their targeting. West Bengal is perhaps the state that the BJP covets the most and with state assembly elections due in a few months, areas from where there have been fewer donors could be in the party’s crosshairs. Non-donors could face intimidation, and this fear itself might make people make donations even if they do not support the cause.

Meanwhile, this week President Ramnath Kovind became the first person to make a donation to the trust set up for building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. NDTV reported that Kovind donated Rs 5 lakhs for temple construction after SRTKT co-president Govind Dev Giriji Maharaj, paid a visit to him along with temple construction committee chief Nripendra Misra, VHP working president Alok Kumar and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Kulbhushan Ahuja.

News agencies quoted Kumar as saying, “He is the first citizen of the country so we went to him to initiate the drive.”

Now, while there is no law to prevent persons holding public offices from making monetary donations in their private capacity to any cause, when the President of India donates to a cause that has a deeply communal and violent history, it appears to send a message.

Carnatic musician and activist TM Krishna tweeted, “Donating to a temple is not the issue, that is his right. But the signal that donating to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya sends out to the citizens of this country is something the President seems to have forgotten, or may be he did not forget.”

 

 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also made a donation and even tweeted about it from his official account saying, “It is the luckiest day of my life. I feel like I have accomplished what I needed to as a human being.” He further said, “My family is also offering one brick.”

 

Once again, the issue is not a donation to a cause, but to publicise it, that too using official channels appears to normalise the blurring of lines between one’s personal and professional lives.

It is also noteworthy, that though the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of handing over the disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindu parties, it also held that the demolition of the mosque was “an egregious violation of the rule of law”.

 

Related:

Ayodhya scam: 4 held for embezzlement from Ram temple trust
The judiciary is abandoning its duties: NAPM on the Babri Masjid judgment
CBI court's Babri Masjid demolition judgment challenged 

Ram Mandir fundraising campaign a tool to gauge BJP’s popularity in Bengal?

Lines blur between church and state as President of India becomes first contributor to the fund to build the temple in Ayodhya

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirth Kshetra Trust (SRTKT) kickstarted its fundraising drive to construct the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya this week, but according to a report in The Telegraph, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using this drive to gauge its popularity in different regions of the state of West Bengal.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and BJP members were reportedly distributing receipts for donation amounts in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 100 and Rs 1,000. They were also reportedly collecting details of donors. The Telegraph quoted a source saying that this database of donors would serve as a “dipstick survey” of supporters in the state.

This raises several concerns given how this will help the BJP ascertain not only who its supporters are, but also help them figure out those who did not donate, thus enabling their targeting. West Bengal is perhaps the state that the BJP covets the most and with state assembly elections due in a few months, areas from where there have been fewer donors could be in the party’s crosshairs. Non-donors could face intimidation, and this fear itself might make people make donations even if they do not support the cause.

Meanwhile, this week President Ramnath Kovind became the first person to make a donation to the trust set up for building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. NDTV reported that Kovind donated Rs 5 lakhs for temple construction after SRTKT co-president Govind Dev Giriji Maharaj, paid a visit to him along with temple construction committee chief Nripendra Misra, VHP working president Alok Kumar and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Kulbhushan Ahuja.

News agencies quoted Kumar as saying, “He is the first citizen of the country so we went to him to initiate the drive.”

Now, while there is no law to prevent persons holding public offices from making monetary donations in their private capacity to any cause, when the President of India donates to a cause that has a deeply communal and violent history, it appears to send a message.

Carnatic musician and activist TM Krishna tweeted, “Donating to a temple is not the issue, that is his right. But the signal that donating to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya sends out to the citizens of this country is something the President seems to have forgotten, or may be he did not forget.”

 

 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also made a donation and even tweeted about it from his official account saying, “It is the luckiest day of my life. I feel like I have accomplished what I needed to as a human being.” He further said, “My family is also offering one brick.”

 

Once again, the issue is not a donation to a cause, but to publicise it, that too using official channels appears to normalise the blurring of lines between one’s personal and professional lives.

It is also noteworthy, that though the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of handing over the disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindu parties, it also held that the demolition of the mosque was “an egregious violation of the rule of law”.

 

Related:

Ayodhya scam: 4 held for embezzlement from Ram temple trust
The judiciary is abandoning its duties: NAPM on the Babri Masjid judgment
CBI court's Babri Masjid demolition judgment challenged 

Related Articles


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Mentally challenged man killed in UP on suspicions of being a cattle thief

Victim was beaten up, shot in the stomach, police have registerd a case of murder against villagers

16 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:timesnownews.com

A 20-year old was killed in Mainpuri, district of Uttar Pradesh. The victim is said to be mentally challenged and was shot dead by villagers who suspected him of being a cattle thief. According to a report in Times Now, this horrific murder took place in the Nagla Sawaj village, under Oncha police station on Wednesday. 

The victim was identified as 20-year-old Sunny Yadav, a resident of Kheria village under Jasrana police station in Firozabad district, who had  come to Mainpuri two days ago. The police have registerd a case of murder against villagers. 

On Wednesday morning at 5 am, the victim reportedly strayed into the nearby fields in Mainpuri village as there was low visibility due to heavy fog. However the villagers apparently thought he was a cattle thief, and began thrashing him. According to the news report the victim managed to escape the beating somehow, but as he ran into the fields someone shot and killed him. He was shot fatally in the stomach, collapsed near a brick kiln and died. 

According to a report in Hindustan daily, senior police officials reached the spot, took custody of the body and sent it for postmortem. Mainpuri SP Avinash Pandey was quoted as saying: “Police reached the spot after receiving information about the incident. The villagers beat him up and shot him dead thinking he was a thief. We have filed a murder cased based on the complaint of the victim's father. We will soon arrest the accused," 

Related

Take action against 'Swami' for hate speech: Subhashini Ali to UP Police
Allahabad HC directs UP Police to not harass interfaith couple
Love Jihad, Conversions and Laws curbing Freedoms

Mentally challenged man killed in UP on suspicions of being a cattle thief

Victim was beaten up, shot in the stomach, police have registerd a case of murder against villagers

Image Courtesy:timesnownews.com

A 20-year old was killed in Mainpuri, district of Uttar Pradesh. The victim is said to be mentally challenged and was shot dead by villagers who suspected him of being a cattle thief. According to a report in Times Now, this horrific murder took place in the Nagla Sawaj village, under Oncha police station on Wednesday. 

The victim was identified as 20-year-old Sunny Yadav, a resident of Kheria village under Jasrana police station in Firozabad district, who had  come to Mainpuri two days ago. The police have registerd a case of murder against villagers. 

On Wednesday morning at 5 am, the victim reportedly strayed into the nearby fields in Mainpuri village as there was low visibility due to heavy fog. However the villagers apparently thought he was a cattle thief, and began thrashing him. According to the news report the victim managed to escape the beating somehow, but as he ran into the fields someone shot and killed him. He was shot fatally in the stomach, collapsed near a brick kiln and died. 

According to a report in Hindustan daily, senior police officials reached the spot, took custody of the body and sent it for postmortem. Mainpuri SP Avinash Pandey was quoted as saying: “Police reached the spot after receiving information about the incident. The villagers beat him up and shot him dead thinking he was a thief. We have filed a murder cased based on the complaint of the victim's father. We will soon arrest the accused," 

Related

Take action against 'Swami' for hate speech: Subhashini Ali to UP Police
Allahabad HC directs UP Police to not harass interfaith couple
Love Jihad, Conversions and Laws curbing Freedoms

Related Articles


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Defending Human Rights is not terrorism!

100 days behind bars, Fr. Stan Swamy continues to inspire

16 Jan 2021

Fr Stan Swamy
Image Courtesy: https://www.mangalorean.com
 

At an online event titled I cannot be framed 110 human rights organisations, including Peoples Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Citizens for Justice and Peace(CJP), came together to stand in solidarity with Father Stan Swamy and 15 other accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. They came together to mark the hundred days of Father Stan Swamy’s incarceration and hail the efforts and struggle of all Human Rights Defenders.  

The demands of the programme were to:

  • Release Father Stan Swamy and the 15 others arrested and falsely accused in the Bhima Koregaon case  immediately

  • Arrest the real perpetrators of the violence that took place on January 1, 2018

  • Repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

The event was moderated by Professor Apoorvaanad, who has fearlessly written on the issues of Indian democracy and rising communalism. It started with a spirited performance by members of India’s indigenous communities playing a variety of drums and other traditional instruments. This was followed by activist and world-renowned classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai’s dance recital based on Maya Angelou's poem, Still, I rise.

Xavier Dias, an activist, humanitarian, and writer, who has worked closely with Father Stan in Chaibasa district said that Father Stan’s detention is unfortunate but it gives every individual hope to prepare to pay the same price. He compelled all the participants and listeners to rise and fight against the brutal affairs of the State.

Henri Tiphagne one of the key activists in India advocating with the United Nations and other International Human Rights Agencies introduced Mary Lawlor, who took up the mandate of Special Rapport on the situation of the defenders on May 1, 2020 and is also the founder of Frontline Defenders.

Lawlor said, “India is a state which doesn’t properly protect human rights defenders. I am appalled by the treatment of human rights defenders such as Father Stan Swamy who embodies solidarity.” She also cited UAPA as a draconian law that designates individuals as terrorists and fails to provide legal certainty. She asserted, "Defending human rights is not terrorism."

She added, “In November 2020, I sent a letter to Indian government raising concerns about arrest. Governments are given a 60-day period during which they are expected to reply but I am still to receive a response from the Indian authorities.”

Elizabeth Soren, the Adivasi leader of a group representing domestic workers also launched a sipper to honour the jailed Jesuit priest. Badges calling for the repeal of UAPA, release of all political prisoners was also launched during the event provided by Citizens for Justice and Peace through its Secretary Ms. Teesta Setalvad.   

Senior Counsel Mihir Desai, a highly respected human rights lawyer who is also defending Fr. Stan Swamy in the case in the Bombay High Court and who also appears in human rights cases before the Supreme Court, gave a background and current status of Father Stan’s case before the court, in addition to the Bhima Koregaon case under which all prominent lawyers, activists, academicians and lawyers have been apprehended. He showcased how the frivolous charges were not dropped despite adequate hard evidence, by comparing it to another case where in a complete contradiction, serious charges were ignored despite witness testimonies and records of meetings. Advocate Desai said, "This is a country where the Zakia Jafri case was not allowed to make much headway, but the Bhima Koregaon case is going strong."

He explained how the narrative of the police have changed over the months from registering cases against the right-wing groups for inciting violence at Elgar Parishad to now placing the blame on the speeches delivered by the undertrials that were allegedly sponsored by Maoists. Advocate Desai said, "One of the first cases was filed against Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide in the Bhima Koregaon case. But suddenly they changed the story and blamed the speeches made at Elgar Parishad instigated the violence," and pointed out, "After the government changed in Maharashtra, the case was taken away from the state police and given to the NIA." He ended on a positive note stating that even though getting bail under UAPA is difficult, we must all be inspired from the Farmers’ struggle and continue to fight.

His speech was followed by the performance of the vibrant Bagaicha Cultural Group that sang for Father, “Oh Stan baba keeps struggling, keep fighting for Adivasis, we too shall struggle”. Father Swamy has been instrumental in setting up this group.

Dayamani Barla, a fellow comrade of Father Stan and a well-known Adivasi activist from Jharkhand who has been at the forefront of several movements on Adivasis for their right to jal (water), jangal (forest), zameen (land), said that the 83-year-old priest has inspired all Adivasis to fight for their rights and raise their voices against injustices. She also fondly remembered how Father Stan asked her to call him his elder brother (dada) and not Father.

Another courageous women’s and Adivasi rights activist, Aloka Kujur, who has known Father Stan for 25 years lauded his efforts and struggles. “His spirit was akin to taking forward the human values that Birsa Munda fought for. He took up the crucial issues of the large number of Adivasi undertrials, the deplorable conditions in prisons in the state and approached authorities and the Court as well,” she said.

General Secretary of PUCL, Chhattisgarh Shalini Gera and lawyer Susan Abraham who’s husband Vernon Fernandes has been falsely accused in the case and is in jail presently, talked about all the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, providing some background of how all of them were arrested and under what circumstances. They include Anand Teltumbde, Arun Ferriera, Gautam Navlakha, Hanny Babu, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Sudha Bharadwaj, Dr. Varavara Rao, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Kabir Kala Manch artists (Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Gorkhe and Jyoti Jagtap), Vernon and Father Stan.

Kabir Kala Manch, a cultural organisation that was formed in Pune in the wake of the Gujarat riots in 1992 also performed a song saluting the effort of all defenders. The event drew to a close with Virginius Xaxa and Sister Dorothy Fernandes’ speech. Virginius, a visiting Professor at the Institute for Human Development (IHD), New Delhi and writer on themes of tribal societies and politics said that Father Stan is not against the State and only desires to fight for oppressed Adivasis in India.

Sister Dorothy, who belongs to the Congregation of the Presentation Sister and is also the Chairperson of the Women’s Commission of the Archdiocese of Patna recited, “Well done my good and faithful servant, I will put you in charge of many things, come and share your masters’ happiness” for Father Stan as a message from Jesus.

 

Related:

Taloja Jail may soon get a deluge of ‘sippers’, but will they reach Fr Stan Swamy?

Father Stan Swamy moves NIA court for bail

Activists, Opposition parties demand release of Bhima Koregaon accused

 

Defending Human Rights is not terrorism!

100 days behind bars, Fr. Stan Swamy continues to inspire

Fr Stan Swamy
Image Courtesy: https://www.mangalorean.com
 

At an online event titled I cannot be framed 110 human rights organisations, including Peoples Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Citizens for Justice and Peace(CJP), came together to stand in solidarity with Father Stan Swamy and 15 other accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. They came together to mark the hundred days of Father Stan Swamy’s incarceration and hail the efforts and struggle of all Human Rights Defenders.  

The demands of the programme were to:

  • Release Father Stan Swamy and the 15 others arrested and falsely accused in the Bhima Koregaon case  immediately

  • Arrest the real perpetrators of the violence that took place on January 1, 2018

  • Repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

The event was moderated by Professor Apoorvaanad, who has fearlessly written on the issues of Indian democracy and rising communalism. It started with a spirited performance by members of India’s indigenous communities playing a variety of drums and other traditional instruments. This was followed by activist and world-renowned classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai’s dance recital based on Maya Angelou's poem, Still, I rise.

Xavier Dias, an activist, humanitarian, and writer, who has worked closely with Father Stan in Chaibasa district said that Father Stan’s detention is unfortunate but it gives every individual hope to prepare to pay the same price. He compelled all the participants and listeners to rise and fight against the brutal affairs of the State.

Henri Tiphagne one of the key activists in India advocating with the United Nations and other International Human Rights Agencies introduced Mary Lawlor, who took up the mandate of Special Rapport on the situation of the defenders on May 1, 2020 and is also the founder of Frontline Defenders.

Lawlor said, “India is a state which doesn’t properly protect human rights defenders. I am appalled by the treatment of human rights defenders such as Father Stan Swamy who embodies solidarity.” She also cited UAPA as a draconian law that designates individuals as terrorists and fails to provide legal certainty. She asserted, "Defending human rights is not terrorism."

She added, “In November 2020, I sent a letter to Indian government raising concerns about arrest. Governments are given a 60-day period during which they are expected to reply but I am still to receive a response from the Indian authorities.”

Elizabeth Soren, the Adivasi leader of a group representing domestic workers also launched a sipper to honour the jailed Jesuit priest. Badges calling for the repeal of UAPA, release of all political prisoners was also launched during the event provided by Citizens for Justice and Peace through its Secretary Ms. Teesta Setalvad.   

Senior Counsel Mihir Desai, a highly respected human rights lawyer who is also defending Fr. Stan Swamy in the case in the Bombay High Court and who also appears in human rights cases before the Supreme Court, gave a background and current status of Father Stan’s case before the court, in addition to the Bhima Koregaon case under which all prominent lawyers, activists, academicians and lawyers have been apprehended. He showcased how the frivolous charges were not dropped despite adequate hard evidence, by comparing it to another case where in a complete contradiction, serious charges were ignored despite witness testimonies and records of meetings. Advocate Desai said, "This is a country where the Zakia Jafri case was not allowed to make much headway, but the Bhima Koregaon case is going strong."

He explained how the narrative of the police have changed over the months from registering cases against the right-wing groups for inciting violence at Elgar Parishad to now placing the blame on the speeches delivered by the undertrials that were allegedly sponsored by Maoists. Advocate Desai said, "One of the first cases was filed against Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide in the Bhima Koregaon case. But suddenly they changed the story and blamed the speeches made at Elgar Parishad instigated the violence," and pointed out, "After the government changed in Maharashtra, the case was taken away from the state police and given to the NIA." He ended on a positive note stating that even though getting bail under UAPA is difficult, we must all be inspired from the Farmers’ struggle and continue to fight.

His speech was followed by the performance of the vibrant Bagaicha Cultural Group that sang for Father, “Oh Stan baba keeps struggling, keep fighting for Adivasis, we too shall struggle”. Father Swamy has been instrumental in setting up this group.

Dayamani Barla, a fellow comrade of Father Stan and a well-known Adivasi activist from Jharkhand who has been at the forefront of several movements on Adivasis for their right to jal (water), jangal (forest), zameen (land), said that the 83-year-old priest has inspired all Adivasis to fight for their rights and raise their voices against injustices. She also fondly remembered how Father Stan asked her to call him his elder brother (dada) and not Father.

Another courageous women’s and Adivasi rights activist, Aloka Kujur, who has known Father Stan for 25 years lauded his efforts and struggles. “His spirit was akin to taking forward the human values that Birsa Munda fought for. He took up the crucial issues of the large number of Adivasi undertrials, the deplorable conditions in prisons in the state and approached authorities and the Court as well,” she said.

General Secretary of PUCL, Chhattisgarh Shalini Gera and lawyer Susan Abraham who’s husband Vernon Fernandes has been falsely accused in the case and is in jail presently, talked about all the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, providing some background of how all of them were arrested and under what circumstances. They include Anand Teltumbde, Arun Ferriera, Gautam Navlakha, Hanny Babu, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Sudha Bharadwaj, Dr. Varavara Rao, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Kabir Kala Manch artists (Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Gorkhe and Jyoti Jagtap), Vernon and Father Stan.

Kabir Kala Manch, a cultural organisation that was formed in Pune in the wake of the Gujarat riots in 1992 also performed a song saluting the effort of all defenders. The event drew to a close with Virginius Xaxa and Sister Dorothy Fernandes’ speech. Virginius, a visiting Professor at the Institute for Human Development (IHD), New Delhi and writer on themes of tribal societies and politics said that Father Stan is not against the State and only desires to fight for oppressed Adivasis in India.

Sister Dorothy, who belongs to the Congregation of the Presentation Sister and is also the Chairperson of the Women’s Commission of the Archdiocese of Patna recited, “Well done my good and faithful servant, I will put you in charge of many things, come and share your masters’ happiness” for Father Stan as a message from Jesus.

 

Related:

Taloja Jail may soon get a deluge of ‘sippers’, but will they reach Fr Stan Swamy?

Father Stan Swamy moves NIA court for bail

Activists, Opposition parties demand release of Bhima Koregaon accused

 

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Living Legend of the Law: Nani Palkhivala

Nani Palkhivala has been given many titles for his work in the legal field, including 'crusader of constitution', 'champion of human rights', 'defender of constitutional liberties', etc. Here’s a look at the extra-ordinary life of a man born in an ordinary low income family in Mumbai.

16 Jan 2021

Nani palkhiwala
Image courtesy: https://www.newindianexpress.com

 

A look at his stellar life, on his 101st birth anniversary

“To my country men who gave unto themselves the constitution but not the ability to keep it, who inherited resplendent heritage but not the wisdom to cherish it, who suffer and endure in pain without the perception of their potential.”  -Nani Palkhivala

 For us at Communalism Combat (now SabrangIndia.in), Nani Palkhiwala will be remembered for quiet assertions of dignity and principle. On  January 30, 1995 our magazine Communalism Combat with 30 other organisations demonstrated at Hutatma Chowk against the then Maharashtra government’s scrapping of the Justice BN Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry into the Bombay 1992-1993 violence. 

As we sat there in silent protest with veteran activists like TK Somaiya of the Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal and KG Kannabiran of the PUCL whom we had especially invited down from Hyderabad to Mumbai, we were stunned as Nani Palkhiwala walked down from Bombay House to lend his presence to the protest. Others like Shashi Kapoor too had stepped in. Then in January 1995 when the Supreme Court of India summarily dismissed an appeal against the Bombay High Court judgement exonerating the newspaper, Saamna for provocative hate speech, Palkhiwala wrote in Communalism Combat, in an issue where veteran constitutionalist HM Seervai penned a special 5,000 word legal opinion. Palkhiwala’s deep commitment to the Indian Constitutional ethos of secularism ran deep.

 

Early Life

Nani Ardeshir Palkhivala, also known as Nanabhoy Palkhivala, was born on January 16, 1920 to a blue collar middle class family in Mumbai. As a lover of literature who would save money to buy second hand books, he wished to pursue a career as a lecturer but he lost the post to someone else due to lack of experience. He then went on to pursue law at the iconic Government Law College, Mumbai that is alma mater to the most cherished names of India’s legal tradition. On completion of his formal legal education, he gained training under the famed legal expertise in the chambers of Sir Jamshedji Kanga and soon became an expert in tax and commercial law. He had a rather meteoric rise in his profession and within a few years of practice, he became quite popular and was briefed in crucial matters at the Bombay High Court.

This sharp knowledge of taxation and commercial law set the stage of his iconic mass lectures at the Brabourne Stadium every year, a Palkhiwala special analysis of the Indian Government’s annual financial budget. For decades, the Budget presentation in Parliament had a companion event in the shape and form of Nani Palkhiwala’s special analysis and exposition of the Budget. He spoke to a packed audience!

Mr. Palkhivala was a humble recipient of several accolades and titles. Surely, “conscience keeper of the nation” has to be the one that suits him the best. On his 94th birth anniversary, the Indian Post released stamps commemorating him.

 

The meteoric rise

In his stellar career as an advocate, Mr. Palkhivala fought many cases that positively paved constitutional jurisprudence and countrymen of today owe him a ‘thank you’ for the same. Only 10 years into his practice, he was before the Supreme Court arguing against an appeal filed by the State of Bombay as Bombay High Court had struck down its circular for being violative of Article 29(2) of the Constitution. It was related to the right of Anglo-Indian schools regarding admission of students in schools teaching through the medium of English. The Supreme Court upheld the high court judgment.

Despite his busy schedule practicing law, he devoted time teaching law to students at his alma mater, Government Law College, Mumbai. One of his many students was Soli Sorabjee, who, till this day fondly remembers him and writes memoirs of him.

“Clarity of thought coupled with precision and elegance of expression, impassioned plea for the cause he espoused in the case, excellent court craft and an extraordinary ability to think on his legs rendered him an irresistible force and made him (Palkhivala) sui generis.” these and many more words have been used by Soli Sorabjee, and eminent jurist and former Attorney General of India who worked for decades with Mr. Palkhivala.

He was offered judgeship of the Supreme Court in the early sixties and before that was offered the position of Attorney General of India, both of which he refused.  In his book, ‘We the nation’ he has written about why had refused the position of Attorney General and stated how it was his privilege to argue for the citizens in exemplary cases like the Bank Nationalisation case, the Privy Purse Case as also the landmark Kesavananda Bharti case.

He, however, went on to accept a Directorship position at the House of Tatas.

 

The conscience keeper

It is probably the most apt title one could have ever been bestowed with. Mr. Palkhivala is rightfully the conscience keeper of the country as he was the counsel arguing before a 13-judge bench of the Supreme Court on behalf of Swami Kesavananda Bharti convincing a mammoth 13 bench jury that there were some essential parts of the Constitution that the Parliament must not be allowed to change, alter or amend. This judgement is seminal for India and India’s fledgling democracy, described as one that “has been a salutary check on Parliament's tendency to ride roughshod over fundamental rights and its insatiable appetite to encroach upon fundamental rights”.

The battle for the assertion of the Constitution over a government heady with an electoral majority did not stop here. Mr. Palklhivala even defended the hallmark judgement before the same Supreme Court when the Indira Gandhi government challenged it and asked the court to reconsider the judgement. In the words of one of the Judges on the Bench, Justice H.R. Khanna, "The heights of eloquence to which Palkhivala had risen have seldom been equalled and never been surpassed in the history of the Supreme Court". Mr. Palkhivala even wrote a long letter to Indira Gandhi stating how he was unwilling to side with the government in challenging the verdict. Among many other things, he wrote,

"I beseech you, dear Indiraji, to consider the consequences of seeking to have the judgment in Kesavananda case overruled. We have reached a historic moment when two roads diverge in the woods and our own decision at this juncture can have an imponderable impact for the good of the country. Please forgive me or inflicting this long letter on you. I would not have done so but for my conviction that you always have an open mind and that your decision can save the Constitution, ensure the onward march of the nation on our chosen path, prevent several months of waste of the court’s time. Parliament’s amending power to be limited, but it is based upon my belief that it would be a great gesture on your part to withdraw the state’s plea for unsettling the law." (reproduced in Nani A Palkhivala — A Life, by MV Kamath)

Another feather to his cap was the judgement in Minerva Mills case (Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India, (1980) 3 SCC 625) which led the Supreme Court to declare that clause (4) of Article 368 of the Constitution which excludes judicial review of constitutional amendments was unconstitutional.

His further contribution to constitutional jurisprudence was marked by the privy purse case or Madhav Rao Jivaji Rao Scindia v. Union of India, (1971) 1 SCC 85. The Government of India had passed an executive order derecognizing the Princes to whom Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had given a pledge in the Constituent Assembly. He felt that the action of the Government of India apart from being unconstitutional was in breach of constitutional morality. He believed that,

"The survival of our democracy and the unity and integrity of the nation depend upon the realisation that constitutional morality is no less essential than constitutional legality. Dharma (righteousness; sense of public duty or virtue) lives in the hearts of public men; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no amendment, can save it."

He also has major contributions in strengthening freedom of press as stands today in the country. He was the counsel for Bennett Coleman while arguing against imposition of severe restrictions on the import of newsprint. "Newsprint does not stand on the same footing as steel. Steel will yield products of steel. Newsprint will manifest whatever is thought of by man", he had argued.

He even fought for the rights of minorities by handling a case for St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, from where he had received his first Bachelor’s Degree. He fought the case at the Supreme Court alongside Soli Sorabjee, neither of them charged fees for this and argued for the autonomy of minority educational institutions and limitations of governmental interference and the nine-judge bench in a majority judgment had upheld the rights of minorities, again a substantial contribution to constitutional jurisprudence.

He had great reverence towards the Indian Constitution and he said,

"The Constitution was meant to impart such a momentum to the living spirit of the rule of law that democracy and civil liberty may survive in India beyond our own times and in the days when our place will know us no more".

He also said that the Constitution provided for stability without stagnation and growth without destruction of human values.

 

International feats

He represented India in three cases in the international for a, namely Pakistani’s claim to enclaves in Kutch, before a special tribunal in Geneva another, before the International Civil Aviation Organisation at Montreal, and later in an appeal before the World Court at the Hague when Pakistan claimed the right to fly over India.

 

The many honours

To this extraordinary human being that he was, it is no surprise that Mr. Palkhivala received many honours and awards for his contribution to the legal field. To name a few, Padma Vibhushan; the Honorary Membership of the Academy of Political Science, New York; the First National Amity Award; the Dadabhai Naoroji Memorial Award; the Living Legend of the Law Award by the International Bar Association; a Certificate of Honour and Award by the Bar Association of India; the first Indo-American Society Award; and “Citizen of Bombay”, “Person of the Year”, “Man of the Year” and “Lifetime Achievement” Awards by various public institutions.

He was also conferred honorary degrees of Doctors of Laws by international Universities including Princeton University, New Jersey, and Lawrence University, Wisconsin, as well as Universities in India, including Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu University and the University of Mumbai.

 

Related:

‘Future of India at stake’

Living Legend of the Law: Nani Palkhivala

Nani Palkhivala has been given many titles for his work in the legal field, including 'crusader of constitution', 'champion of human rights', 'defender of constitutional liberties', etc. Here’s a look at the extra-ordinary life of a man born in an ordinary low income family in Mumbai.

Nani palkhiwala
Image courtesy: https://www.newindianexpress.com

 

A look at his stellar life, on his 101st birth anniversary

“To my country men who gave unto themselves the constitution but not the ability to keep it, who inherited resplendent heritage but not the wisdom to cherish it, who suffer and endure in pain without the perception of their potential.”  -Nani Palkhivala

 For us at Communalism Combat (now SabrangIndia.in), Nani Palkhiwala will be remembered for quiet assertions of dignity and principle. On  January 30, 1995 our magazine Communalism Combat with 30 other organisations demonstrated at Hutatma Chowk against the then Maharashtra government’s scrapping of the Justice BN Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry into the Bombay 1992-1993 violence. 

As we sat there in silent protest with veteran activists like TK Somaiya of the Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal and KG Kannabiran of the PUCL whom we had especially invited down from Hyderabad to Mumbai, we were stunned as Nani Palkhiwala walked down from Bombay House to lend his presence to the protest. Others like Shashi Kapoor too had stepped in. Then in January 1995 when the Supreme Court of India summarily dismissed an appeal against the Bombay High Court judgement exonerating the newspaper, Saamna for provocative hate speech, Palkhiwala wrote in Communalism Combat, in an issue where veteran constitutionalist HM Seervai penned a special 5,000 word legal opinion. Palkhiwala’s deep commitment to the Indian Constitutional ethos of secularism ran deep.

 

Early Life

Nani Ardeshir Palkhivala, also known as Nanabhoy Palkhivala, was born on January 16, 1920 to a blue collar middle class family in Mumbai. As a lover of literature who would save money to buy second hand books, he wished to pursue a career as a lecturer but he lost the post to someone else due to lack of experience. He then went on to pursue law at the iconic Government Law College, Mumbai that is alma mater to the most cherished names of India’s legal tradition. On completion of his formal legal education, he gained training under the famed legal expertise in the chambers of Sir Jamshedji Kanga and soon became an expert in tax and commercial law. He had a rather meteoric rise in his profession and within a few years of practice, he became quite popular and was briefed in crucial matters at the Bombay High Court.

This sharp knowledge of taxation and commercial law set the stage of his iconic mass lectures at the Brabourne Stadium every year, a Palkhiwala special analysis of the Indian Government’s annual financial budget. For decades, the Budget presentation in Parliament had a companion event in the shape and form of Nani Palkhiwala’s special analysis and exposition of the Budget. He spoke to a packed audience!

Mr. Palkhivala was a humble recipient of several accolades and titles. Surely, “conscience keeper of the nation” has to be the one that suits him the best. On his 94th birth anniversary, the Indian Post released stamps commemorating him.

 

The meteoric rise

In his stellar career as an advocate, Mr. Palkhivala fought many cases that positively paved constitutional jurisprudence and countrymen of today owe him a ‘thank you’ for the same. Only 10 years into his practice, he was before the Supreme Court arguing against an appeal filed by the State of Bombay as Bombay High Court had struck down its circular for being violative of Article 29(2) of the Constitution. It was related to the right of Anglo-Indian schools regarding admission of students in schools teaching through the medium of English. The Supreme Court upheld the high court judgment.

Despite his busy schedule practicing law, he devoted time teaching law to students at his alma mater, Government Law College, Mumbai. One of his many students was Soli Sorabjee, who, till this day fondly remembers him and writes memoirs of him.

“Clarity of thought coupled with precision and elegance of expression, impassioned plea for the cause he espoused in the case, excellent court craft and an extraordinary ability to think on his legs rendered him an irresistible force and made him (Palkhivala) sui generis.” these and many more words have been used by Soli Sorabjee, and eminent jurist and former Attorney General of India who worked for decades with Mr. Palkhivala.

He was offered judgeship of the Supreme Court in the early sixties and before that was offered the position of Attorney General of India, both of which he refused.  In his book, ‘We the nation’ he has written about why had refused the position of Attorney General and stated how it was his privilege to argue for the citizens in exemplary cases like the Bank Nationalisation case, the Privy Purse Case as also the landmark Kesavananda Bharti case.

He, however, went on to accept a Directorship position at the House of Tatas.

 

The conscience keeper

It is probably the most apt title one could have ever been bestowed with. Mr. Palkhivala is rightfully the conscience keeper of the country as he was the counsel arguing before a 13-judge bench of the Supreme Court on behalf of Swami Kesavananda Bharti convincing a mammoth 13 bench jury that there were some essential parts of the Constitution that the Parliament must not be allowed to change, alter or amend. This judgement is seminal for India and India’s fledgling democracy, described as one that “has been a salutary check on Parliament's tendency to ride roughshod over fundamental rights and its insatiable appetite to encroach upon fundamental rights”.

The battle for the assertion of the Constitution over a government heady with an electoral majority did not stop here. Mr. Palklhivala even defended the hallmark judgement before the same Supreme Court when the Indira Gandhi government challenged it and asked the court to reconsider the judgement. In the words of one of the Judges on the Bench, Justice H.R. Khanna, "The heights of eloquence to which Palkhivala had risen have seldom been equalled and never been surpassed in the history of the Supreme Court". Mr. Palkhivala even wrote a long letter to Indira Gandhi stating how he was unwilling to side with the government in challenging the verdict. Among many other things, he wrote,

"I beseech you, dear Indiraji, to consider the consequences of seeking to have the judgment in Kesavananda case overruled. We have reached a historic moment when two roads diverge in the woods and our own decision at this juncture can have an imponderable impact for the good of the country. Please forgive me or inflicting this long letter on you. I would not have done so but for my conviction that you always have an open mind and that your decision can save the Constitution, ensure the onward march of the nation on our chosen path, prevent several months of waste of the court’s time. Parliament’s amending power to be limited, but it is based upon my belief that it would be a great gesture on your part to withdraw the state’s plea for unsettling the law." (reproduced in Nani A Palkhivala — A Life, by MV Kamath)

Another feather to his cap was the judgement in Minerva Mills case (Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India, (1980) 3 SCC 625) which led the Supreme Court to declare that clause (4) of Article 368 of the Constitution which excludes judicial review of constitutional amendments was unconstitutional.

His further contribution to constitutional jurisprudence was marked by the privy purse case or Madhav Rao Jivaji Rao Scindia v. Union of India, (1971) 1 SCC 85. The Government of India had passed an executive order derecognizing the Princes to whom Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had given a pledge in the Constituent Assembly. He felt that the action of the Government of India apart from being unconstitutional was in breach of constitutional morality. He believed that,

"The survival of our democracy and the unity and integrity of the nation depend upon the realisation that constitutional morality is no less essential than constitutional legality. Dharma (righteousness; sense of public duty or virtue) lives in the hearts of public men; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no amendment, can save it."

He also has major contributions in strengthening freedom of press as stands today in the country. He was the counsel for Bennett Coleman while arguing against imposition of severe restrictions on the import of newsprint. "Newsprint does not stand on the same footing as steel. Steel will yield products of steel. Newsprint will manifest whatever is thought of by man", he had argued.

He even fought for the rights of minorities by handling a case for St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, from where he had received his first Bachelor’s Degree. He fought the case at the Supreme Court alongside Soli Sorabjee, neither of them charged fees for this and argued for the autonomy of minority educational institutions and limitations of governmental interference and the nine-judge bench in a majority judgment had upheld the rights of minorities, again a substantial contribution to constitutional jurisprudence.

He had great reverence towards the Indian Constitution and he said,

"The Constitution was meant to impart such a momentum to the living spirit of the rule of law that democracy and civil liberty may survive in India beyond our own times and in the days when our place will know us no more".

He also said that the Constitution provided for stability without stagnation and growth without destruction of human values.

 

International feats

He represented India in three cases in the international for a, namely Pakistani’s claim to enclaves in Kutch, before a special tribunal in Geneva another, before the International Civil Aviation Organisation at Montreal, and later in an appeal before the World Court at the Hague when Pakistan claimed the right to fly over India.

 

The many honours

To this extraordinary human being that he was, it is no surprise that Mr. Palkhivala received many honours and awards for his contribution to the legal field. To name a few, Padma Vibhushan; the Honorary Membership of the Academy of Political Science, New York; the First National Amity Award; the Dadabhai Naoroji Memorial Award; the Living Legend of the Law Award by the International Bar Association; a Certificate of Honour and Award by the Bar Association of India; the first Indo-American Society Award; and “Citizen of Bombay”, “Person of the Year”, “Man of the Year” and “Lifetime Achievement” Awards by various public institutions.

He was also conferred honorary degrees of Doctors of Laws by international Universities including Princeton University, New Jersey, and Lawrence University, Wisconsin, as well as Universities in India, including Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu University and the University of Mumbai.

 

Related:

‘Future of India at stake’

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Maharashtra organisations declare protests marches from Jan 23-25

Various farmers groups, trade Unions, people’s organisations, and state ministers promise to participate in the protests starting from January 23.

15 Jan 2021

Maharashtra’s Samyukta Setkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM) coalition organisation declared a series of agitations on January 15, 2021 for the days leading up to Republic Day in response to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) call for more intense farmers protests.

Accordingly, Maharashtra chapters of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), Trade Unions Joint Action Committee (TUJAC), Struggle Committee of Mass Movements (JASS), Nation for Farmers, Hum Bharat ke Log, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and other organisations will leave for Mumbai on January 23 on tractors and other vehicles with thousands of workers. On January 24, protesters will assemble at Azad Maidan for the Mahamukkam agitation. 

The following day, people will march towards Raj Bhavan at 2 PM. Finally, Republic Day will be celebrated with flag-hoisting by farmers at Azad Maidan on January 26.

Along with the repeal of the three laws, people will demand: the repeal of the four labour codes enacted by the central government; a law ensuring Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for agricultural commodities; the withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020; the implementation of the Mahatma Phule debt waiver scheme and forest rights law; pensions to farmers and agricultural laborers; the repeal of the new National Education Policy excluding rural and urban poor students from education.

On January 14, the SSKM committee met former Union Agriculture Minister and former Chief Minister Sharad Pawar, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat and Environment and Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray to request support for the movement on behalf of Mahavikas Aghadi. Ministers promised full support and Pawar, Thorat and Thackeray agreed to join the January 25 agitation.

Accordingly, the delegation requested the State Legislative Assembly to pass a resolution calling for repeal of the three laws – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. It asked officials to convene a special session to discuss the agricultural crisis and protect farmers.

Thousands of Maharashtra peasants also burnt copies of the farm Acts and labour codes from January 13 to January 15. On January 18, the Mahila Kisan Day will be observed widely all over the state.

 

Related:

Women farmers, students write open letter against SC's comment on women farmers

BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

AIKS calls on district agitators to surround Governor’s office in protest

Women Famers still struggling for recognition

Farmers celebrate Lohri, burn copies of Farm Acts into ashes in the bonfire

Amplify farmers’ struggle at the district-level: Janta Parliament to Opposition leaders

Maharashtra farmers plan large-scale protest leading upto Jan 26

 

Maharashtra organisations declare protests marches from Jan 23-25

Various farmers groups, trade Unions, people’s organisations, and state ministers promise to participate in the protests starting from January 23.

Maharashtra’s Samyukta Setkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM) coalition organisation declared a series of agitations on January 15, 2021 for the days leading up to Republic Day in response to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) call for more intense farmers protests.

Accordingly, Maharashtra chapters of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), Trade Unions Joint Action Committee (TUJAC), Struggle Committee of Mass Movements (JASS), Nation for Farmers, Hum Bharat ke Log, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and other organisations will leave for Mumbai on January 23 on tractors and other vehicles with thousands of workers. On January 24, protesters will assemble at Azad Maidan for the Mahamukkam agitation. 

The following day, people will march towards Raj Bhavan at 2 PM. Finally, Republic Day will be celebrated with flag-hoisting by farmers at Azad Maidan on January 26.

Along with the repeal of the three laws, people will demand: the repeal of the four labour codes enacted by the central government; a law ensuring Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for agricultural commodities; the withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020; the implementation of the Mahatma Phule debt waiver scheme and forest rights law; pensions to farmers and agricultural laborers; the repeal of the new National Education Policy excluding rural and urban poor students from education.

On January 14, the SSKM committee met former Union Agriculture Minister and former Chief Minister Sharad Pawar, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat and Environment and Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray to request support for the movement on behalf of Mahavikas Aghadi. Ministers promised full support and Pawar, Thorat and Thackeray agreed to join the January 25 agitation.

Accordingly, the delegation requested the State Legislative Assembly to pass a resolution calling for repeal of the three laws – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. It asked officials to convene a special session to discuss the agricultural crisis and protect farmers.

Thousands of Maharashtra peasants also burnt copies of the farm Acts and labour codes from January 13 to January 15. On January 18, the Mahila Kisan Day will be observed widely all over the state.

 

Related:

Women farmers, students write open letter against SC's comment on women farmers

BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

AIKS calls on district agitators to surround Governor’s office in protest

Women Famers still struggling for recognition

Farmers celebrate Lohri, burn copies of Farm Acts into ashes in the bonfire

Amplify farmers’ struggle at the district-level: Janta Parliament to Opposition leaders

Maharashtra farmers plan large-scale protest leading upto Jan 26

 

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Delhi police detain nearly 35 women protesters outside MP Bhawan

While protesters claimed they were manhandled by police personnel, officials declined to comment on the matter stating the detained will be released soon.

15 Jan 2021

Delhi Police detained approximately 35 women who were protesting peacefully outside Madhya Pradesh Bhawan on January 15, 2021. The women were protesting the MP government’s proposal of tracking the movements of working women.

Social activist and Act Now for Harmony and Democracy Co-Founder Shabnam Hashmi told SabrangIndia that around 40 women were exercising their right to protest on Friday afternoon when police personnel appeared on the spot and took the women to Mandir Marg police station.

“The police told us that they will not let us protest. I have been getting calls since morning where they said that they won’t let us protest,” alleged Hashmi who still had her phone in possession at the police station.

She further claimed that many women had been roughed up while being taken to the police station although they did not suffer injuries.

However, Chanakyapuri police station Inspector Hari Kishan denied any such allegation stating that protesters were detained due to imposition of Section 144. He also stated that detainees were released soon after their arrest although the activist said they were allowed to go around 5 PM.

Along with Hashmi, other women leaders such as All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) member Maimoona Mollah, RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan General Secretary Poonam Kaushik, Deepti Bharti, Ritu Kaushik, Madhuri Varshney and others were detained by the police.

When asked to comment on the incident, Hashmi said, “Protesting is our constitutional right. Yet the space for protesting is decreasing by the day. There were only 40-45 protesters outside the Madhya Pradesh Bhawan. Why can’t women protest? This is a horrible system,” she said.

The activist said that protesters had no expectations from the ruling government considering their past record. Nevertheless, she asserted that this should not keep people from exercising their right to protest such laws that track the movement of women.

On January 11, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared that working women in the state should register themselves at nearby police stations before going out for work. Police will accordingly track individuals for their own safety.

Meanwhile, on January 12 Chief Justice S. A. Bobde questioned the presence of women and elderly in farmers’ protests. Over 800 women leaders sent an open letter to Bobde to denounce the comment for its patriarchal undertones.

Related:

Madhya Pradesh: On being refused water, four gang-rape, brutalise woman with iron rod
Sexual harassment complaint against same gender may seem odd but it’s not improbable: Calcutta HC
Hisar college student, abducted, sexually assaulted in autorickshaw
Women farmers, students write open letter against SC's comment on women farmers 

Delhi police detain nearly 35 women protesters outside MP Bhawan

While protesters claimed they were manhandled by police personnel, officials declined to comment on the matter stating the detained will be released soon.

Delhi Police detained approximately 35 women who were protesting peacefully outside Madhya Pradesh Bhawan on January 15, 2021. The women were protesting the MP government’s proposal of tracking the movements of working women.

Social activist and Act Now for Harmony and Democracy Co-Founder Shabnam Hashmi told SabrangIndia that around 40 women were exercising their right to protest on Friday afternoon when police personnel appeared on the spot and took the women to Mandir Marg police station.

“The police told us that they will not let us protest. I have been getting calls since morning where they said that they won’t let us protest,” alleged Hashmi who still had her phone in possession at the police station.

She further claimed that many women had been roughed up while being taken to the police station although they did not suffer injuries.

However, Chanakyapuri police station Inspector Hari Kishan denied any such allegation stating that protesters were detained due to imposition of Section 144. He also stated that detainees were released soon after their arrest although the activist said they were allowed to go around 5 PM.

Along with Hashmi, other women leaders such as All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) member Maimoona Mollah, RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan General Secretary Poonam Kaushik, Deepti Bharti, Ritu Kaushik, Madhuri Varshney and others were detained by the police.

When asked to comment on the incident, Hashmi said, “Protesting is our constitutional right. Yet the space for protesting is decreasing by the day. There were only 40-45 protesters outside the Madhya Pradesh Bhawan. Why can’t women protest? This is a horrible system,” she said.

The activist said that protesters had no expectations from the ruling government considering their past record. Nevertheless, she asserted that this should not keep people from exercising their right to protest such laws that track the movement of women.

On January 11, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared that working women in the state should register themselves at nearby police stations before going out for work. Police will accordingly track individuals for their own safety.

Meanwhile, on January 12 Chief Justice S. A. Bobde questioned the presence of women and elderly in farmers’ protests. Over 800 women leaders sent an open letter to Bobde to denounce the comment for its patriarchal undertones.

Related:

Madhya Pradesh: On being refused water, four gang-rape, brutalise woman with iron rod
Sexual harassment complaint against same gender may seem odd but it’s not improbable: Calcutta HC
Hisar college student, abducted, sexually assaulted in autorickshaw
Women farmers, students write open letter against SC's comment on women farmers 

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Hisar college student, abducted, sexually assaulted in autorickshaw

Crimes against women continue unabated in Manohar Lal Khattar's Haryana

15 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:timesnownews.com

According to news reports, an autorickshaw driver and his male relative allegedly kidnapped a college student who had hailed the vehicle in Haryana’s Hisar, on Wednesday. The men are alleged to have attempted to rape the young woman, when they were reportedly spotted and chased by two policemen. According to news reports, the two accused have been taken into custody.

The police spokesperson told the media that the two accused were identified as Vinod, a resident of Shiv Nagar located at Mill Gate in Hisar, and his cousin Naveen, a resident of Bhani Amirpur village in Hisar. They were booked under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354(a)(1) (physical contact), 367 (abducting in order to subject person to grievous hurt, slavery etc.), 506 (criminal intimidation), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The college student was abducted and sexually assaulted while the accused kept the autorickshaw running on the Delhi bypass in Hisar town. News18 Hindi reported that a police team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Bharti Dabas arrested the men during the patrolling in the area. The two accused were produced in court and sent to judicial custody.

It was reported that two policemen became suspicious when they spotted the two men in the autorickshaw with the young woman. One of them was driving the auto. According to a news report, it was during the initial interrogation, that the police came to know that the youths had abducted the young woman and one of them was trying to sexually assault her. The survivor complained to the police and reportedly told them that the accused had threatened to kill her after abducting her from near the college.

The state it seems still does not have a zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment, stalking and crimes against women. However the last time a college student was attacked, and killed, the political leaders got busy playing hate politics and fueling ‘love jihad’ rumours. The murder of 21-year-old Nitika Tomar in Faridabad in Octobr 2020, had shocked the nation. She was shot dead by a man whose sexual harassment she had been resisting for a long time. The accused identified as Tausif, and Rehan, were arrested, but cries of 'love jihad' and #KshatriyaLivesMatter were raised along demands for their execution via a ‘police encounter’. Nitika Tomar was shot dead outside her college in Ballabgarh in Haryana's Faridabad. The CCTV clip showed how the accused tried to grab Tomar who tried her best to save herself.  When she resisted and foiled the abduction attempt, one of the accused pulled out a revolver and shot her dead at point blank range. According to news reports, the victim’s family claimed that Tomar was attacked outside her college by a man who was stalking her, and they had even filed a complaint with Haryana Police, against the main accused accusing him of kidnapping in 2018. However that issue ‘was settled’ later.  

Anil Vij, the state’s Home Minister stated in November 2020, that a committee will be constituted to draft  a law against love jihad.  He had stated that this ‘love jihad’ was a disease and “... it is necessary to cure it, so we can save young girls." 

Related:

Haryana: Nitika Tomar's murder being used to fuel 'love jihad …
Haryana to form committee for law on love-jihad

Hisar college student, abducted, sexually assaulted in autorickshaw

Crimes against women continue unabated in Manohar Lal Khattar's Haryana

Image Courtesy:timesnownews.com

According to news reports, an autorickshaw driver and his male relative allegedly kidnapped a college student who had hailed the vehicle in Haryana’s Hisar, on Wednesday. The men are alleged to have attempted to rape the young woman, when they were reportedly spotted and chased by two policemen. According to news reports, the two accused have been taken into custody.

The police spokesperson told the media that the two accused were identified as Vinod, a resident of Shiv Nagar located at Mill Gate in Hisar, and his cousin Naveen, a resident of Bhani Amirpur village in Hisar. They were booked under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354(a)(1) (physical contact), 367 (abducting in order to subject person to grievous hurt, slavery etc.), 506 (criminal intimidation), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The college student was abducted and sexually assaulted while the accused kept the autorickshaw running on the Delhi bypass in Hisar town. News18 Hindi reported that a police team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Bharti Dabas arrested the men during the patrolling in the area. The two accused were produced in court and sent to judicial custody.

It was reported that two policemen became suspicious when they spotted the two men in the autorickshaw with the young woman. One of them was driving the auto. According to a news report, it was during the initial interrogation, that the police came to know that the youths had abducted the young woman and one of them was trying to sexually assault her. The survivor complained to the police and reportedly told them that the accused had threatened to kill her after abducting her from near the college.

The state it seems still does not have a zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment, stalking and crimes against women. However the last time a college student was attacked, and killed, the political leaders got busy playing hate politics and fueling ‘love jihad’ rumours. The murder of 21-year-old Nitika Tomar in Faridabad in Octobr 2020, had shocked the nation. She was shot dead by a man whose sexual harassment she had been resisting for a long time. The accused identified as Tausif, and Rehan, were arrested, but cries of 'love jihad' and #KshatriyaLivesMatter were raised along demands for their execution via a ‘police encounter’. Nitika Tomar was shot dead outside her college in Ballabgarh in Haryana's Faridabad. The CCTV clip showed how the accused tried to grab Tomar who tried her best to save herself.  When she resisted and foiled the abduction attempt, one of the accused pulled out a revolver and shot her dead at point blank range. According to news reports, the victim’s family claimed that Tomar was attacked outside her college by a man who was stalking her, and they had even filed a complaint with Haryana Police, against the main accused accusing him of kidnapping in 2018. However that issue ‘was settled’ later.  

Anil Vij, the state’s Home Minister stated in November 2020, that a committee will be constituted to draft  a law against love jihad.  He had stated that this ‘love jihad’ was a disease and “... it is necessary to cure it, so we can save young girls." 

Related:

Haryana: Nitika Tomar's murder being used to fuel 'love jihad …
Haryana to form committee for law on love-jihad

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PIL filed in MP HC challenging validity of state's anti-conversion law

A law student has filed the petition stating that the ordinance violates right to privacy and freedom of choice as also principles of criminal law jurisprudence

15 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:newindianexpress.com

A plea has been filed at Madhya Pradesh High Court challenging the validity of the MP Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020 by a law student, Amratansh Nema. The public interest litigation states that the provisions contained in the ordinance are motivated by religious intolerance, are a grave violation of constitutional provisions, and a blatant attack on the religious autonomy of individuals of the state. The ordinance which was promulgated by the Governor of the state on January 9 prohibits religious conversion by force, allurement, undue influence and even by marriage.

The petition also points out that the Ordinance was promulgated in utter haste without any proper consultation defying due process of law. This, the petition stated, was a reflection of abuse of legislative powers.

While referring to the provision under the ordinance that mandates given notice to district administration before converting oneself to another religion, the plea states, "Exercising a fundamental right can never be subjected to any approval by or intimation to any authority. The said provision visibly contravenes the fundamental right of personal liberty, privacy & choice and encourages the wrongful intervention of state," reported LiveLaw.

The petitioner states that the Ordinance does not have any provision for a time limit for the District Magistrate to respond with respect to the notice given and this may result in unnecessary harassment of the individual.

The petitioner also asserts that the law violates right to privacy and right to freedom of choice. LiveLaw reported that the petitioner submitted, "The stated provision gives an unrestricted opportunity to the family members of a person converted to harass him by filing frivolous complaints alleging the contravention of Section 3 in order to secure their illusionary social reputation at the cost of personal liberty of an individual exercising his right of practicing & professing the religion of his own choice”.

The petition also raises concerns about the burden of proof imposed on the person who has converted himself/herself which goes against the principle of “presumption of Innocence” in criminal law jurisprudence. It further states that "Burden of Proof can only be reversed in the cases where the charges are based on some foundational facts proved by prosecution, while placing reliance upon apex court judgement in Shakti Vahini v. Union of India & Ors., (2018) 7 SCC 192."

petition challenging the validity of similar anti-conversion laws passed by Uttarakhand and UP, filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace is pending before the Supreme Court.

Related:

Love Jihad, Conversions and Laws curbing Freedoms
Notice publication of marriage under Special Marriage Act violates privacy: Allahabad HC
Love Jihad PILs: UP gov't blames fear psychosis for forceful conversions

PIL filed in MP HC challenging validity of state's anti-conversion law

A law student has filed the petition stating that the ordinance violates right to privacy and freedom of choice as also principles of criminal law jurisprudence

Image Courtesy:newindianexpress.com

A plea has been filed at Madhya Pradesh High Court challenging the validity of the MP Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020 by a law student, Amratansh Nema. The public interest litigation states that the provisions contained in the ordinance are motivated by religious intolerance, are a grave violation of constitutional provisions, and a blatant attack on the religious autonomy of individuals of the state. The ordinance which was promulgated by the Governor of the state on January 9 prohibits religious conversion by force, allurement, undue influence and even by marriage.

The petition also points out that the Ordinance was promulgated in utter haste without any proper consultation defying due process of law. This, the petition stated, was a reflection of abuse of legislative powers.

While referring to the provision under the ordinance that mandates given notice to district administration before converting oneself to another religion, the plea states, "Exercising a fundamental right can never be subjected to any approval by or intimation to any authority. The said provision visibly contravenes the fundamental right of personal liberty, privacy & choice and encourages the wrongful intervention of state," reported LiveLaw.

The petitioner states that the Ordinance does not have any provision for a time limit for the District Magistrate to respond with respect to the notice given and this may result in unnecessary harassment of the individual.

The petitioner also asserts that the law violates right to privacy and right to freedom of choice. LiveLaw reported that the petitioner submitted, "The stated provision gives an unrestricted opportunity to the family members of a person converted to harass him by filing frivolous complaints alleging the contravention of Section 3 in order to secure their illusionary social reputation at the cost of personal liberty of an individual exercising his right of practicing & professing the religion of his own choice”.

The petition also raises concerns about the burden of proof imposed on the person who has converted himself/herself which goes against the principle of “presumption of Innocence” in criminal law jurisprudence. It further states that "Burden of Proof can only be reversed in the cases where the charges are based on some foundational facts proved by prosecution, while placing reliance upon apex court judgement in Shakti Vahini v. Union of India & Ors., (2018) 7 SCC 192."

petition challenging the validity of similar anti-conversion laws passed by Uttarakhand and UP, filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace is pending before the Supreme Court.

Related:

Love Jihad, Conversions and Laws curbing Freedoms
Notice publication of marriage under Special Marriage Act violates privacy: Allahabad HC
Love Jihad PILs: UP gov't blames fear psychosis for forceful conversions

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BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

He says that he quit so as to not compromise the interests of farmers of the country

15 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:dnaindia.com

Bhupinder Singh Mann, one of the members of the Committee constituted by the Supreme Court, has recused himself from partaking as a member claiming he did not want to compromise the interests of farmers of the country. He issued a press statement whereby he said that while he was thankful that he was appointed to the Committee, he was sacrificing the position offered to him “in view of the prevailing sentiment and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and public in general” and said that he will stand with his farmers and Punjab.

Mann has been a former Member of the Rajya Sabha and is the National President of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and Chairman of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC). On December 14, 2020, AIKCC and some other farmers organisations had handed over a memorandum to the government demanding that the three laws be implemented, but with some amendments which included option of legal recourse to farmers, level-playing field for private and state-run markets and the continuation of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

While farmers unions welcomed this move, many union leaders have reiterated that they are not against dialogue but they want the laws to be repealed first.

"Mann's decision is a good step as there is no importance of any committee for farmer unions as it has not been our demand. Mann knew that no farmer union would appear before the court-appointed committee that's why he has taken this decision," farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni, senior member of the Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, told PTI. Sankyukt Kisan Morcha is an umbrella body of around 40 protesting unions. Chaduni said that farmer leaders will not appear before the committee even if the rest three members also recuse themselves and new members are appointed, reported Hindustan Times.

After the Committee was constituted and the names of the members were revealed by the Supreme Court in its order on January 12, the composition of the Committee had caused an uproar amongst farmers as also the rest of the country. It was alleged that all the Committee members favoured the farm laws which the farmers are so vehemently protesting across the country.

“It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the three acts and have actively advocated for the same,” the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) had said in its statement. The other three members, Anil Ghanwat Dr. Pramod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati have all, in recent times expressed their agreement with the government over implementation of farm laws and have stressed upon how these laws are beneficial for farmers.

Anil Ghanwat is the president of Maharashtra’s Shetkari Sanghatana which has come out in support of the farm laws. He had met with Union Minister Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to show his and his union’s support for the laws. “Just a handful of traders control the auctions. Now with the markets opening up, we hope newer traders will enter the trade. This will help fair competition… if under pressure from farmers in just two states the central government takes the decision to repeal the Act, it would mean the end of the road for this (open-market initiative),” he had said.

Dr. Pramod Kumar Joshi a known agricultural researcher has been Director of National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad, and the director of the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research in New Delhi. In a co-authored article written for Financial Express, he said, "The farm-agitations’ demand to repeal the three farm laws and legalise minimum support prices (MSPs) baffle us, given the apprehensions over the impact of the laws on the farmers are mostly misplaced."

Ashok Gulati is a professor for Agriculture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). In December, he had written an article for the Indian Express explaining how there was a gross communication failure on the part of the central government to explain to farmers what these laws are, and how they are intended to benefit them; and how this was being exploited by some political parties and social activists, who believe that Narendra Modi can do no good for this country.

Mann’s press statement was posted by BKU on its Twitter account:

Related:

Women Famers still struggling for recognition
Farmers celebrate Lohri, burn copies of Farm Acts into ashes in the bonfire
Southern farmer leaders debunk call AG’s claim before SC

BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

He says that he quit so as to not compromise the interests of farmers of the country

Image Courtesy:dnaindia.com

Bhupinder Singh Mann, one of the members of the Committee constituted by the Supreme Court, has recused himself from partaking as a member claiming he did not want to compromise the interests of farmers of the country. He issued a press statement whereby he said that while he was thankful that he was appointed to the Committee, he was sacrificing the position offered to him “in view of the prevailing sentiment and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and public in general” and said that he will stand with his farmers and Punjab.

Mann has been a former Member of the Rajya Sabha and is the National President of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and Chairman of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC). On December 14, 2020, AIKCC and some other farmers organisations had handed over a memorandum to the government demanding that the three laws be implemented, but with some amendments which included option of legal recourse to farmers, level-playing field for private and state-run markets and the continuation of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

While farmers unions welcomed this move, many union leaders have reiterated that they are not against dialogue but they want the laws to be repealed first.

"Mann's decision is a good step as there is no importance of any committee for farmer unions as it has not been our demand. Mann knew that no farmer union would appear before the court-appointed committee that's why he has taken this decision," farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni, senior member of the Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, told PTI. Sankyukt Kisan Morcha is an umbrella body of around 40 protesting unions. Chaduni said that farmer leaders will not appear before the committee even if the rest three members also recuse themselves and new members are appointed, reported Hindustan Times.

After the Committee was constituted and the names of the members were revealed by the Supreme Court in its order on January 12, the composition of the Committee had caused an uproar amongst farmers as also the rest of the country. It was alleged that all the Committee members favoured the farm laws which the farmers are so vehemently protesting across the country.

“It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the three acts and have actively advocated for the same,” the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) had said in its statement. The other three members, Anil Ghanwat Dr. Pramod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati have all, in recent times expressed their agreement with the government over implementation of farm laws and have stressed upon how these laws are beneficial for farmers.

Anil Ghanwat is the president of Maharashtra’s Shetkari Sanghatana which has come out in support of the farm laws. He had met with Union Minister Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to show his and his union’s support for the laws. “Just a handful of traders control the auctions. Now with the markets opening up, we hope newer traders will enter the trade. This will help fair competition… if under pressure from farmers in just two states the central government takes the decision to repeal the Act, it would mean the end of the road for this (open-market initiative),” he had said.

Dr. Pramod Kumar Joshi a known agricultural researcher has been Director of National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad, and the director of the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research in New Delhi. In a co-authored article written for Financial Express, he said, "The farm-agitations’ demand to repeal the three farm laws and legalise minimum support prices (MSPs) baffle us, given the apprehensions over the impact of the laws on the farmers are mostly misplaced."

Ashok Gulati is a professor for Agriculture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). In December, he had written an article for the Indian Express explaining how there was a gross communication failure on the part of the central government to explain to farmers what these laws are, and how they are intended to benefit them; and how this was being exploited by some political parties and social activists, who believe that Narendra Modi can do no good for this country.

Mann’s press statement was posted by BKU on its Twitter account:

Related:

Women Famers still struggling for recognition
Farmers celebrate Lohri, burn copies of Farm Acts into ashes in the bonfire
Southern farmer leaders debunk call AG’s claim before SC

Related Articles


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