Nagri Protests
Nagri is a village on the outskirt (few km) from Ranchi (near the mental hospital), capital of Jharkhand. The govt is bent upon constructing big institutions, buildings, HIT, MM, & Law University on 227 acres of the land in Nagri which it claims to have acquired in the 50's.

Villagers on the other side unanimously oppose this, claiming that the acquisition of land was never finalized. The land according to the govt was acquired in 1957 for building Rajendra Krishi Vidyalaya (later named Birsa Agricultural University). But in fact the land was never used for building the university. Total number of landowners (ryats/ tenants) whose land was taken was 153. Only 25 of them had taken compensation at that time, 128 of them refusing. One Soharai Oraon had filed a writ petition in the High court against acquisition at that time. On 29th Apr. 2011 court had ordered to pay some additional compensation. Then another 14 tenants accepted it.

Parallel to this another issue has cropped up. 35 villages around Ranchi town are being targeted by the govt for land acquisition in large scale for building 'greater Ranchi'. People of these villages are also opposing acquisition of their land.

In Nagri, considering the land as acquired, the govt started construction work. People vehemently opposed sthis. Two tribal leaders, Ms Dayamani Barla and independent MLA Bandhu Tirki came to support them. Incidentally Dayamani had been successful in supporting the people of Torpa in driving out the Steel King Laxmi Mittal from there. Dayamani and Bandhu started a dharna at the spot while the govt. continued to construct the boundary wall with the protection of police and paramilitary forces.

Gradually one after another political parties and organizations started supporting the people of Nagri. Everyone joined this new trend. At one stage even Shibu Soren, leader of the ruling party came to support the people and even called the people to till the land! Even BJP leaders (partners of the ruling coalition) supported.

Meanwhile the people filed a petition in the High Court in their support urging the court to come to their rescue. This appeal was rejected by the High Court. People then went to the Supreme Court, but to face rejection again. However the struggle and support of various sections was quickly growing.

One day the people broke part of the boundary wall. Though some persons were arrested and cases filed, the govt started backpedalling at that time. They offered a committee to hear the people but nothing much happened. A bandh of whole Jharkhand was called by the supporting organizations on 25 of July. This was fully successful in Ranchi. The govt. is supposed to give some decision.

Nagri has become the centre of attention in Jharkhand. People and activists consider this issue as a serious one as very large number of similar land acquisition are being tried everywhere in Jharkhand. The people are getting desperate. They are not ready to take anything silently any more. There is a serious tug of war going on. People compare it with the struggle in Nandigram Bengal.

A Reader,

Shiladitya’s Arrest
Shiladitya Chowdhury's arrest by the Belpahari police was actually a politically motivated arrest. APDR is sharply critical of the arrest of Shiladitya on manufactured 'reality' and concocted charges which are a product of an abhorable after-thought under political insistence from highest office in the Writers' Buildings, Kolkata. It's an affront against the Apex Court judgment and Order of 22nd September, 2006 (Prakash Singh vs Union of India) for urgent police reforms to free the police from unwanted political interference. Police mustn't continue to act today as stooges of the political executives as rampantly happened in the past.

APDR and its branches in Paschim Medinipur will conduct a fact-finding on this incident very shortly together with protests in all other forms including street corners in Kolkata and elsewhere.

Democracy teaches tolerance; but, for the emerging scenario in West Bengal one sees power corrupts at a faster rate than democracy teaches leading to tendencies of autocracy in governance. APDR appreciates the public denouncement of police actions against Mr Shiladitya from various quarters of the society and demand for justice to him and his family including his unconditional release.
Dhiraj Sengupta, APDR
General Secretary

Rating lords
Rating agencies assess the creditworthiness of debtors. They check whether debtors are willing and able to meet obligations. In this context, debtors are not only private-sector companies, but national governments too. The agencies issue their judgments in the form of ratings. The higher the ratings, the more attractive a country or company is to investors.

Accordingly, the conditions for borrowing money become more favourable. When the situation of a debtor changes, the ratings change too. Downgrades make new loans more expensive and harder to get.

Rating agencies rate innovative financial products too. Their failure to do so–accurately was one of the causes of the global financial crisis. Three private sector companies dominate the world market : Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch. Together, they account for a market share of about 90 percent.

Due to their crucial role in the global financial system and their influence on capital flow, the big three rating agencies command extraordinary power. This should not be so. The agencies have no democratic legitimacy whatsoever.
D C, London

Vol. 45, No. 8, Sep 2-8, 2012