Month: July 2016

IFTU Labour Laws

Amendments in Child Labour Act Attack Child Rights

The Parliament of India has passed amendments to the Child Labour Act which are designed to attack child rights and also to legalize the use of children above 14 years of age in industries hitherto considered hazardous. Passed in the Upper House earlier, it was passed by the Lok Sabha on 26th July 2016. Such a Bill had earlier been designed by the erstwhile UPA Govt. but it had lapsed.

The new amendments deregulate the employment of children under 14 years of age. This is done by stating that children below 14 years can only be employed in ‘family enterprises’ in ‘home based work’ and in forest gathering and in family fields after school hours. The earlier Act prescribed hours of work, time off for school and had other stipulations. Children between the ages of 14 to 18 years will now be termed adolescents and such adolescents can be employed in professions other than hazardous professions. This is while bringing down the list of such hazardous industries from 83 to just 3 (Mines, inflammable substances and hazardous processes). Children (meaning below 14 years) can be made to work in family grocery stores, enterprises and shops after school hours – all this camouflages the real purpose of the Bill, which is deregulating the employment of child labour as it does not specify what is implied by ‘family’.… Read More

Uncategorized

Mahashweta Devi’s death is a great loss to the struggling people of the country

 “I have always believed that the real history is made by ordinary people. I constantly come across the reappearance, in various forms, of folklore, ballads, myths and legends, carried by ordinary people across generations. … The reason and inspiration for my writing are those people who are exploited and used, and yet do not accept defeat. For me, the endless source of ingredients for writing is in these amazingly noble, suffering human beings. Why should I look for my raw material elsewhere, once I have started knowing them? Sometimes it seems to me that my writing is really their doing.”

said Mahasweta Devi regarding her own writings. This is really the essence of all her writings. Starting from the ‘Story of Etoa Munda’ written for children to ‘AranyerAdhikar’, ‘HajarChurasir Ma’, ‘Bashal Tudu’, ‘Droupadi’, ‘Rudali’ and many other works of fiction, all the characters of Mahasweta Devi’s novels and short stories are oppressed people, mostly oppressed tribals of the Chhotanagpur plateau, who fight relentlessly to end this oppression by privileged ruling classes and by the state. Her characters never succumb to the existing oppressive social structure and for this reason, her writings never make the readers pessimistic and cynical, rather they rouse their anger against the existing social order, against class, caste, gender oppression and inspire them to fight for changing that order.… Read More

Uncategorized

Irom Sharmila’s 16years’ fast against AFSPA – The many headed struggle against AFSPA will continue

For years the people of J&K, of Manipur and other North eastern states as well as revolutionary, progressive and democratic organizations and individuals throughout India have been fighting for the repeal of the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act). This is an Act which allows India’s armed forces to legally function virtually as an occupation force in the areas where it operates. There are fully documented cases galore of fake ‘encounters’, mass gang rapes with or without murders thrown in, killing of children, disappearances of thousands of people ‘picked up’ in the midnight knocks for questioning. All these are written off in the name of ‘course of duty’, are legally disallowed from being brought before the criminal courts of the country and no army court has ever admitted any wrong doing. The Supreme Court in a bench headed by the then Chief Justice J.S. Verma upheld the validity of the law. The Army establishment promptly squashes any demand for any reform or repeal from any areas and the Indian ruling classes –politicians, judges, armed forces and even sections of media- have been one in declaring that demanding any accountability will only amount to ‘demoralizing’ the armed forces.

Yet the struggle against AFSPA has burnt bright.… Read More

Caste Oppression

Dalit Rally at Sangrur

Thousands of dalits gathered in Sangrur to organize a rally under the joint banner of ZPSC, PMU and KKU. They were demanding to cancel the fake land auctions, release their arrested activists and cancel the fake FIR registered against ZPSC activists. First peoples gathered in grain market of Sangrur and then marched through the bazzars of Sangrur to DC office , where they held a dharna.

Where PMU state president Tarsem peter addressed the people and said that Govt. has delusion that it will grab the land that is reserved for dalits by doing fake auctions in the favor of landlords. Only dalits will till the land belong to them , even they have to pay any sacrifice.

While ZPSC distric president Mukesh maloud said,” Govt is at the side of village big landowners and playing on their side by opening the old cases those have been already cancelled. In other cases where ZPSC activists are attacked and injured police is not taking any action against big land owners under the pressure of ruling Akali-BJP govt. , especially sangruru MLA parkash chand garg and Patiala akali leader Surjit Singh Rakhra . But brave people of dalits will not bent and start a fierce struggle against this oppression.… Read More

Kashmir Protests

Anger Against the Killing of Burhan Wani Burns in Kashmir Valley

(New Democracy News Service)

21 people have died and hundreds have been injured in police and paramilitary action against protestors in the Kashmir Valley in the 48 hours since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen’s popular leader, 22 year old Burhan Wani. The killing was in an intelligence led police action. No criminal case was registered anywhere in India against Wani. At the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in Srinagar alone, 87 cases of civilians injured by pellets came in within 24 hours. Of these, 40 had pellet injuries in their eyes and the Head of the Hospital said that 19 of them are likely to go blind. These pellets, incidentally, were supposed to be used by the armed forces to avoid fatalities. Doctors at the Srinagar hospital said that the injuries are to the head and the upper part of the body, i.e. they were not used for deterrence. Though restrictions to movement had been enforced, tens of thousands of people attended the funeral of Wani in Tral, which was totally peaceful as police had been withdrawn from the area. The funeral prayers had to be repeated 40 times to assuage the sorrow of the gathering. Funeral meetings were held in several parts of the Valley and everywhere thousands wept.… Read More

Kashmir Protests

Supreme Court Moves For Some Accountability Under AFSPA

(New Democracy News Service)

The evidence collected so painstakingly is doubtless both gruesome and undeniable. The struggles of civil rights activists countrywide as well as the pressure of democratic movements and people’s growing restlessness with obvious violence of state forces have also had some effect. Thus is it that while earlier Supreme Court judgements did not intervene much in the total flouting of laws by armed forces under cover of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), the Supreme Court Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit made some observations on 8th July 2016. Though not focusing on the growing demand for repealing AFSPA, the observations discuss its legal boundaries.

The case under consideration was of 1528 fake encounters in Manipur in a decade upto 2012. A petition had been filed for a SIT (Special Investigation Team) into these by hundreds of families of victims in Manipur under the banner of Extra Judicial Execution Victims’ Families Association. Of the cases mentioned, 62 were earlier investigated by the NHRC (which had concluded that half of the cases were fake encounters) and by a Court appointed Panel headed by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Santosh Hegde. The Supreme Court Bench has now ordered the processing of the rest of the cases and a presentation of the data of the 62 cases so that it can decide which agency is to investigate them.… Read More