‘Je Suis Charlie’?
This has reference to "Je Suis Charlie? Sorry. No" [Frontier, Vol 57, No 30, February 1-7, 2015] It is not the content of the cartoons published in Charlie but the right to publish such cartoons that is at stake. The words of 'Charb' the editor of Charlie Hebdo that "I am already dead if I have no right to speak out" and that "I prefer to die standing on my legs than to live on rny knees" are to be the inspiration for journalists but not cowering at the threats and finding excuses to opt out of commitment and support to freedom of speech and expression. Biswajit Roy better inform himself that some legal action was also initiated against Charlie Hebdo for publishing such cartoons but the Courts there rejected those in support of freedom of speech and expression. If Biswajit Roy is opting for a totalitarian or bullied society [like ours] which shivers even in publishing cartoons of ostensibly suspicious and fake prophets, then of course his reaction is correct. But I don't think he will shirk to criticize or mock at Hindu Babas, proclaimed or self-proclaimed gurus [not exactly prophets], etc and perhaps even venture now and then to mock at Christian padiris but he will have no guts to do so to the Islamic brands. The reason is simple—self-censorship due to terror. I confess many of us do engage in such self-censorship for various reasons—'discretion is the better part of valour' sometimes, it seems. But as Jose Marti spoke out famously: "If you do not fight, at least have the decency to respect those who do"!
I Mallikarjuna Sharma,
The Apex Court Directive
In a significant development with regard to the rehabilitation of thousands of families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project on the Narmada River, the Supreme Court issued a clear directive to the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs) of the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat to dispose of all pending cases by 28th February, 2015. Delivering the Order, the Division Bench of Hon'ble Justice Madan Lokur and Justice U U Lalit directed the States to submit compliance reports by 10th March and has listed the matter for further hearing on the 13th March, 2015.
In compliance with the previous Order of the same Bench dated 9th January, the Govt. of MP filed an affidavit conveying appointment of Jst (Retd) A K Sharma; Jst (Retd) S S Dwivedi, Jst (Retd) Indrani Dutta, Jst (Retd) I S Shrivastava and Jst (Retd) G D Saxena —5 Retired Judges of the High Court to work full time as GRA, MP; Govt of Guj has committed to appoint 2 Judges for grievance redressal. Government of Maharashtra has committed that the present GRA, Jst Bagga would dedicate more time to hear all cases. It was also directed that the GRAs would be assisted by one Retd Dist Judge, 1 Addl Collector and 2 Deputy Collectors in each state. The GRAs are also required to make field visits, wherever necessary.
The Order was issued, by the Bench, while hearing applications filed by oustees from various affected villages and Narmada Bachao Andolan, challenging the recent decision of the Narmada Control Authority dt. 12th June, 2014 to raise the height of the dam from 121.92 mts to 138.68 rnts as unconstitutional and in violation of the Narmada Tribunal's Award, previous judgements of the Supreme Court, which mandated that raise in dam height shall only be after rehabilitation of all the oustees upto full height and its back water. The Applications also challenged the false claims that there would be no ‘additional submergence’.
Pleading for the oustees, Counsel Sanjay Parikh informed the Court that even as on date, the rehabilitation of thousands of oustees as per law, is pending, while the dam height has been increased and construction has commenced, leading to grave violation of the fundamental rights of the oustees. He informed the Court that the procedure for dam height raise laid down by the 2000 and 2005 judgements has been grossly violated by the Environment and Rehabilitation Sub Groups of the NCA and the NCA itself. He also questioned the legality of the ongoing dam work, when it is already proved that the conditional clearance to raise the dam height from 110.64 to 121.92 mts has been violated and thousands of oustees, already thrown in the submergence zone are not yet rehabilitated and have been defrauded by a nexus of officials and agents, whose acts are being inquired into by a Judicial Commission in MP.
Applicant-in-person, Medha Patkar submitted that there are already hundreds of orders of the GRAs, where compliance is pending and oustees have already faced impacts of unlawful submergence. She pointed out NCA's Annual Report of 2013 which admitted more than 2300 families are yet to get land in MP alone, more than 1000 adivasi oustees in Maharashtra and a few hundred in Gujarat are without land, civic amenities; thousands of landless, fish workers, potters are yet to be ensured alternative livelihood, as per law in MP. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has assured the applicants that it would afford full hearing and deal with all substantive questions of legal violations, including the legality of raise in dam height on 13th March, 2015.
Yogine Khanolkar, Kamla Yadav,
Bilal Khan, Bhagirath,
National Alliance of People’s Movements,
Vol. 47, No. 33, Feb 22 - 28, 2015