Free Indian Fishermen
S.O.S e - Voice For Justice - e-news weekly
I, as a citizen of South Asia region condemn the statement of Mr. Ranil Wickremsinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in which he told that ‘If someone tries to break into my house, I can shoot. If he gets killed, law allows me to do that," he said in the interview to Thanthi TV broadcast on Friday night. "This is our waters. Fishermen of Jaffna should be allowed to fish. We stopped them from fishing. That's why the Indian fishermen came in. They (Jaffna fishermen) are willing to have a deal. Let's have a reasonable settlement but not at the cost of the livelihood of northern fishermen .”
I see this statement as unfortunate and highly condemnable. This statement is not only against humanity but even also differs and violate the international law such as UN sea laws. Being a primeminister, Mr. Wickremsinghe must know the importance of humanitarian approach in resolving the conflicts among countries and groups.
Sea boundary of India and Sri Lanka attracts fishermen from both sides to earn their livelihood. Fishing as a traditional business is very old in its practice and it exists since the time when division of sea was not made stringent in such away. As a group of human being, fishermen represent a common interest group and identity of ‘being fishermen’. Conflicts between the countries, politicization and high pressure of increasing financial growth are working negatively in terms of collective solidarity, friendship and living style of fishermen.
South Asia is already a region vulnerable for such activities of crossing boundaries in search of employment and reducing poverty. We, as a south asian must know the situation of our countries that is similar and filled with challenges of poverty, hunger etc. But at the same time, unfortunately, we also spend a lot ‘against’ each other rather than ‘for’ each other.
I believe that any such conflict must be raised in suitable forums and through mutual dialogues. Government of India and Sri Lanka must work together to stop such activities that restrict livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen.
Sri Lankan fishermen and Indian fishermen are not enemy of each other, they both earn their livelihood from the same sea and the only requirement in present situation is the requirement to fix their access to a certain sea boundary. This can be done easily through mutual discussions and decisions without provocation of people.
I demand Sri Lankan PM to express his apology over the statement because it was against humanitarian approach, against UN sea laws and most importantly against the unity of fishermen. He must apologise that he see fishermen not as ‘criminals’. He must also apologise to people of Sri Lanka that he doesn’t believe what he said is a common belief of Sri Lanka’s people and fishermen. We know that even fishermen of Sri Lanka will never support his statement.
I also demand Govt of India to become involve in dialogue with Govt of Sri Lanka so that any such dispute can be resolved at the earliest and can save dignity of Indian fishermen as well as livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen.
Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.
Nagaraja Mysore Raghupathi
Amnesty International Demands The Release Of Human Rights Defenders In Kerala
Two human rights activists arrested in Kerala on suspicion of being involved in unlawful activities because they had ‘pro-Maoist’ materials in their homes must be immediately and unconditionally released, Amnesty International India said today.
On 30 January, the Kerala police arrested Jaison C Cooper and Thushar Nirmal Sarathy in Kochi and Kozhikode respectively. They were denied bail on 3 March, and continue to be held in judicial custody.
“Indian courts have stated on multiple occasions that mere possession of certain literature cannot be considered a crime. The National Human Rights Commission has asked for a report from the Kerala police on the arrests. Authorities must ensure that the two men are protected from torture and other ill-treatment,” said Shemeer Babu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.
The investigating officer in the case told Amnesty International India that the men had supported banned armed Maoist groups and also supported an attack on the National Highway Authority of India’s project office in Kochi on 29 January. The men were arrested under India’s principal anti-terror legislation, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
However, the investigating officer admitted that the only existing evidence against the men was that the police had found pamphlets and materials ‘supporting Maoist groups’ in their homes, including a book titled ‘Why Maoism?’ in Jaison Cooper’s home. The police also said that they had found in Thushar Sarathy’s house a document signed by a leader of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) armed group giving him power of attorney.
Thushar Nirmal Sarathy’s wife believes that her husband was arrested because he is an active member of several groups protesting against land acquisition by the state government. Jaison C Cooper has also been actively engaged in protests against land acquisitions and forced evictions.
In recent weeks, the Kerala police have detained several people across the state on suspicion of being supporters of banned Maoist armed groups. Some have been subsequently released.
“Human rights activists in Kerala must be able carry out their work without intimidation or harassment and authorities must take prompt action against those who violate their rights,” said Shemeer Babu.
In April 2011, the Supreme Court observed while granting bail to Binayak Sen – an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience - that “the mere possession of Naxalite literature does not make a person a Naxalite”.
In November 2010, the Gujarat High Court ruled in the Vishvanath case that “possession of material without there being any overt act or actual execution of such ideas by itself would not form or constitute any offence.” In October 2012, the Bombay High Court stated in the Jyoti Babasaheb Chorge case: “That the possession of certain literature having a particular social or political philosophy would amount to an offence, though such literature is not expressly or specifically banned under any provision of law, is a shocking proposition in a democratic country like ours.”
The UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - to which India is a state party - has stated: “No person may be subject to the impairment of any rights under the Covenant on the basis of his or her actual, perceived or supposed opinions… The right to freedom of expression [includes] the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds regardless of frontiers.”
Parts of the UAPA do not meet international human rights standards and are likely to lead to human rights violations. Amendments to the Act in 2008 extended the minimum period of detention of suspects from 15 to 30 days and the maximum period of such detention from 90 to 180 days. These amendments also avoided adequate pre-trial safeguards against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees, reversed certain evidential burdens of grave crimes and required, in certain circumstances, accused persons to prove their innocence.
- Concentrations of both radionuclides are the lowest in river water.
- Gogi village and Hoskeri canal samples are significantly higher than the median of all tube wells.
- Uranium and radium in the tube well of Gogi village are 375 and 178 times higher than the median.
- U and Ra in Hoskeri canal sample are 4 times higher than the median.
- The estimated total dose from U and Ra for the Gogi villagers is 1619 µSv or 1.6 mSv.
INO Will Cause Major Environmental Damages In Theni: Medha Patkar
Noted social activist Medha Patkar joined hands with MDMK leader Vaiko to oppose the proposed neutrino observatory project in Theni district, saying that it would cause large-scale environmental damages.
"Nature will suffer major damages if India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is set up. Radiation from it will affect people in the area. The central government does not seem to care about the people's livelihood. The INO project will not benefit India either," Patkar said.
She said the Centre was showing keen interest in implementing the project, which has not received approval from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. No guidelines or rules had been framed for implementing it either.
"The main water resources, including Mullaiperiyar and Idukki dams, will be affected by the project," she said.
She was addressing a press meet along with Vaiko before launching a campaign against INO.
Patkar alleged that BJP government was following the same 'anti-environmental' schemes as the Congress regime, which had started the Narmada dam and Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project.
She said Kerala had opposed INO and various state governments had not agreed to locate the project in their states, nor were they willing to cooperate with the Centre on it. It was against this background that the project was being started in Theni district.
Patkar alleged that the tunnel to be created for the INO, using explosives, would harm the environment in and around the district. Water springs and other water resources would get plugged, rendering the area dry.
Claiming that INO would require five lakh litres of water per day, she said it would touch 3.5 crore litres as the project advanced. The hill and forest wealth would be affected and that's why Vaiko was also fighting against it, she said.
Patkar alleged that the BJP government was implementing the same projects it opposed when Congress was in power. There were reports that a site near Madurai Kamaraj University had been selected to dump waste from INO, which would affect the Madurai district also, she said.
Vaiko said that the BJP government was implementing a scheme that would affect livelihood of people of the district and natural wealth of Tamil Nadu.
"The Anti-INO Movement is not a political movement. It is not a caste movement. It is a movement for the welfare of the people and in the interest of the people," Vaiko said.
He said a similar project in Italy had destroyed a river and people were fighting against it.