Let Kashmir Speak
Amnesty International has urged Mr Satya Pal Malik, Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, to lift the communications blackout in Kashmir and allow unconditional and unconstrained access to news and information from the Valley.
"At a time when reports have been pouring in about raids, arrests, clashes and detentions, communications shut downs not only leave people stranded and add panic and unrest, they also effect the ability of doctors and humanitarian workers to carry out their work effectively. The world can only speculate on what grave human rights violations might be taking place right now in Kashmir".

Today marks the 85th day of the lockdown. In these 85 days there has been an eerie calm over Kashmir. While the Union Home Minister claims that Kashmir has been integrated without the use of a single bullet, he has forgotten to mention the seven people who have lost their lives since August 5.

Even though there has been an medical help has been severely disrupted and students have been left in the lurch due to this abominable situation.

Journalists even with a press pass, have been stopped from travelling in the state, stopped from taking photos and videos, they have been rough up by security forces and in protest some have carried blank newspapers to portray the intensity of the communications blockade.

Kashmiris, though silent, have acquiesced to this imposed fate. But it is upon human rights bodies to help them find their voice. The government needs to put humanity first and restore the dignity of each and every Kashmiri.
Sabrangindia, Mumbai

Women Fighters
I would like to point out some lapses in Sumanta Banerjee's otherwise excellent article—"Misogyny in the Communist Movement" (Frontier, November 10-16). Banerjee has forgotten to name Nirmala Krishnamurthy, who courted martyrdom in Srikakulam in 1970. She, along with some of her comrades including poet Subbarao Panigrahi, were killed in cold blood by Andhra Police. Her husband, Panchadri Krishnamurthy, had been killed earlier, in May 1969, along with six other persons who had come to receive him at a railway station. I think the names of some women communist activists, Latika Sen et al could and should have been mentioned. They were killed by the police in Kolkata in the early fifties of the last century—I cannot exactly remember the year—when a women's procession was barbarously fired upon by the police in a central Calcutta street. The tale of their martyrdom was immortalised by the famous Urdu writer Kisan Chunder in one of his stories.

The history of women's participation in people's movements remains largely unwritten. Time has come to rectify this historical error.
N K Chatterjee,
Bolpur, Birbhum

Forbes India List
The release of richest people's lists is usually a signal for much back-slapping and triumphalism in the corporate world and its hangers on in the media. It is seen as some kind of symptom that India is doing well, people are getting wealthier, achhe din (good days) are here, although such lists are only for a 100 people (as in the case of the Forbes India list) or perhaps more (as in IIFL Hurun list), in a country of 1.3 billion people.

Bui these lists also reveal another side of the super wealthy corporates of the country. A comparison between the Forces India richest people's lists of 2014 and 2019 reveals which of the corporate honchos have flourished under Narendra Modi's rule and which have not done so well.

The total wealth of the top 100 richest Indian corporate heads increased from about Rs 25 lakh crore to over Rs 32 lakh crore between 2014 and 2019. That's a 31% increase. The wealth of just these 100 people in 2019 is about 6% of the country's GDP (gross domestic product). This is a measure of the high degree of inequality in the country that just 100 people own so much wealth while the vast bulk of India's people have only a very small fraction of it.
A Reader

One more Pellet
The incident of pellet firing on an unarmed Muslim youth from Krishnapur village under Tufanganj police station area of Coochbehar district in West Bengal and ransacking his private property is utterly shocking. The victim, Mr Sahidul Islam, aged about 34 years was shot by the Border Security Force personnel attached with Krishnapur Border Outpost of the Border Security Force, 98 Battalion inside his own house.

When the victim went to visit the doctor in his private chamber, he was not examined and diagnosed properly after he revealed that he was shot by the BSF. Even the radiologist, who conducted x-ray on the victim put out an incomplete x-ray report. The victim is not being able to work after the incident as pellets are still lodged in his body. The victim's wife wrote a complaint to the Superintendant of Police of Coochbehar district on       26-09-2019 but no actions against the perpetrators are taken yet.

The incident violates the rights guaranteed in Article 21 of Indian Constitution and also the premise of Article 6, 7 and 12 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Goal No. 16 of Sustainable Development Goal earmarked by United Nations and in both these international instruments; the government of India is a party and have agreement. The negligence of Dr S C Sen, attached with Department of Health, Government of West Bengal from Tufanganj. Coochbehar, who attended the victim, violates the guidelines set by Indian Medical Association and Tokyo Declaration by the World Medical Association adhered by India as he lined up with the perpetrators and didn't mention the following, which is supposed to be mentioned in the injury report by the doctor:
l   The nature of ailment
l   The cause of ailment
l   Age of ailment
l   Clinical finding
l   Note after clinical examination
l   Diagnosis
Under the circumstances it is quite natural to demand :
l   BSF should be posted in actual borders and not inside villages
l   The whole incident must be investigated by a neutral agency appointed by the commission
l   The complaint submitted before SP, Cooch Behar. be treated as FIR
l   The guilty Border Security Force personnel involved must be booked and prosecuted
l   The guilty doctor and radiologist should be booked and prosecuted
l   The victim must be duly compensated and all the expenses for treatment of the victim should be reimbursed
l   Security and safety of the victim must be protected.
Kirity Roy, Kolkata

The exuberance that that excited Bengali speakers on this side of the border during the tumultuous events culminating in the 1971 liberation war on the other side has dissipated into thin air. During a Bangladesh Vs Pakistan cricket encounter at the Eden Gardens a couple of years back the stands were conspicuously empty while a small pack in a corner of the stadium continuously chanted "jitega bhai jitega, Pakistan jitega". Since 1971 India has been steady in its quest for becoming a military power and this irks the neighbour whose HDI s and GDP growth rates are considerably better. Both neighbours suffer from the malady of looking for an emotional solution to every genuine problem and so there is no satisfactory treaty on the 54 rivers that flow from India into Bangladesh. To the contrary, on the Western front, the two belligerent neighbours, warriors of many wars and battles, have made the Indus river treaty work since the 1960s under the tutelage of the World Bank. The Bengali neighbour's apathy towards one another is reflected in the 9th Bangladesh Book Fair that is being held in the city. That the fair is well organised at a prime location in the heart of the city speaks of strong bureaucracy at work. However, crowds are wanting and publishers due to a lack of appropriate enthusiasm on this side of the border are muted in their presence.
Soumya Guhathakurta, Kolkata

'No' to Hydel Power
The Hon'ble High Court at Calcutta has passed the final order quashing the approval of Hydel Power Plant in Ajodhya Hills of Purulia District in West Bengal accorded by the Central Government clearly stating that it violates Forest Rights Act, 2006.

The Hon'ble High Court at Calcutta has further quashed the permission granted to the Hydel Project by the State Government.

The Hon'ble High Court at Calcutta has also quashed the so called resolutions of two Gram Sabhas illegally manufactured and cited in the court by the authorities as evidence of forest dwellers' support for the Hydel Project.

Congratulations for all activists and friends including the lawyers involved in this matter. It has been a great contribution in the struggle to establish the rights of forest dwellers and good learning for us all.
A Reader

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Vol. 52, No. 23, Dec 8 - 14, 2019