A Petition to Odisha Governor
More than 80 lawyers, including legal academics and researchers, today { September 25] wrote to the Governor of Odisha raising concerns about the alarming arrests and illegal detentions of about two dozen persons from Rayagada district in Odisha in anticipation of the upcoming public hearing for the Sijimali bauxite mine proposed by M/s Vedanta Ltd. The letter, endorsed by legal luminaries such as Prof Kalpana Kannabiran, Gautam Bhatia, Prashant Bhushan, among others, calls for an immediate halt to the public hearings to clear 1549 hectares of forest lands lying in areas covered by the V Schedule of the Constitution for violating the right to free, prior and informed consent of the affected communities.

Instead of undertaking due consultations under the PESA and FRA, the letter points out, the state government has followed an approach of repression to secure clearances through coercive means. Since early August, the police and paramilitary forces have conducted midnight raids, illegal detentions and arrests against the people of Kashipur village. Nine leading activists of the Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti, including Lada Sikaka, DrenjuSikaka, Lingaraj Azad and poet Lenin Kumar have also been made the subject of an FIR under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for unlawful and terrorist activities. Goldman Environmental Prize 2017 winner, Prafulla Samantara was abducted with his face covered and hands tied, and driven from Rayagada to his hometown in August 2023.

With key leaders in prison or facing further persecution, the state government insists proceeding with the public hearings, without complying with the legal requirements under the V Schedule, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), Forest Rights Act (FRA) and the EIA Notification 2006 on full-disclosure of information regarding the proposed project.

The letter calls upon the Governor to release those imprisoned since August 2023 and withdraw all criminal proceedings, including those under the UAPA, to uphold their right to participate in consultations freely.
Meera Sanghamitra

Boycotting Breakfast
A case of casteism has come to light in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. Here Hindu parents have forced children not to eat the breakfast provided under the government scheme. The parents have given the reason behind this that the food provided under the CM Breakfast Scheme has been prepared by a Dalit woman. On this, all the top officials from the Social Welfare Minister of the state have intervened and explained to the people.

According to the information, this entire matter is from Ettayapuram of the district. Here, breakfast is distributed to children under the scheme of the state government. The breakfast served here is being prepared by a Dalit woman, so Hindu parents have reportedly asked their children to skip breakfast.

In fact, most of the children did not eat the breakfast provided in the Union Primary School of Usilampatti in the district. The parents of the children said that their children have breakfast while going to school; hence they do not eat the breakfast provided in the school. Later it came to light that most of the backward class and extremely backward class people have asked their children not to have breakfast.
A Reader, TN

Fight Hate Campaign
The people of India are standing at a crossroads.

India's diverse motherland is under attack by violent, homogenising forces. As a confluence of many faiths, practitioners have coexisted for thousands of years through love, reason, and acceptance despite arguing, fighting, rejecting, and learning to live with each other.

Falsehoods spread via official and unofficial media disrupt peace and neglect vital questions on livelihoods, hunger, education, health, and the environment, impacting children's futures.

Let's demand action from the authorities to stop the violence. Let's build counter narratives of peace and harmony. Together, people can stand strong and create a better future.

‘Bharat, Not India’
This has reference to letter ‘BHARAT NOT INDIA’ [Frontier, September 24-30, 2023].

It would be very unfortunate/quite reprehensible if the most popular name of most common usage "INDIA" is taken away by Hindi fanatics (who also seem to be communal fanatics) now ruling the country and only the term "BHARAT" is let remain there and be popularised. The term "Hindustan" is the most deserving name, was the most common name till independence and during the national movement also [e.g. Hindustan Republican Association/Army of martyrs Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, et al; and Hindustan Socialist Republican Association/Army of  Bhagat Singh and others later], and the word "BHARAT", which seems to have been derived from the name of an Emperor, should be removed and "HINDUSTAN" should be substituted for it. "INDIA" has to continue as the most popular and commonly used name for our country in English and foreign usage.
Mallikarjuna Sharma
Advocate and Editor,
LAW ANIMATED WORLD (now OL issues only), Hyderabad.

For a Just Peace!
The clash between Russia and Ukraine, due to the direct involvement of NATO, threatens to unleash a third world war.

The Euro-Atlanticist elites justify their direct support for the puppet regime in Kiev as “necessary to repel Russian aggression”.

Actually, the real aggressor is the US-NATO-EU coalition, which took advantage of the Soviet Union’s dissolution to economically and politically subdue all of Eastern Europe in order to encircle and defeat Russia. The final step in this strategy would be the definitive annexation of Ukraine to NATO and the European Union, and regime change in Moscow.

Only the foolish and forgetful can believe that the blockade led by the United States of America has triggered this war to defend the principles of democracy and the self-determination of peoples. The truth is that this blockade, after supporting the Euromaidan coup, financed and armed the Ukrainian army and neo-Nazi groups to hurl them against the Donbass republics and Russia itself. The truth is that the US-NATO-EU bloc uses the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder to establish its supremacy thus preventing a multipolar order based on respect for the peoples and the sovereignty of nations from coming into being. If this blockade succeeds in subduing Russia, the doors will be wide open for war against China.

Preventing the third world war is the first duty of all those who have the good of humanity at heart. It is therefore necessary to build a great/ strong international coalition for peace and brotherhood among nations.

Such an alliance must be able to set in motion the different souls fighting against militarism and imperialism in all their forms. To start this process, the European Peace Conference will take place in Rome on 27 and 28 October 2023.
Anti-Imperialist Camp

Solidarity Message
From the entire rank and file of AICCTU, we extend our unwavering solidarity and support to the on-going historic strike of United Auto Workers (UAW) against the ‘Big Three’. We also congratulate the UAW and its leadership, who have successfully ushered a new era of radical working-class movement in the union.

Post the COVID-19 pandemic, in the US, India and across the globe, we witness a new wave of accelerated and aggressive onslaught by the corporate forces. Backed by the governments, the corporate and neoliberal forces under the false flag of ‘losses’, are shifting the blame on the poor and toiling masses. On one hand, governments are shedding our millions of public money to bail-out corporate companies, on the other we witness the billionaires becoming the more rich.

In case of the US, the Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (the Big Three Automobile Companies) made a combined profit of $21 billion in just the first six months of this year.But the wages of the workers, whose labour and sweat built and shaped the products of the ‘Big Three’ remain stagnant.

In the veil of crisis, the salaries of workers are either slashed or stagnated, social security benefits are being withdrawn and safety regulations are scarified at the altar of corporate profits. In India and other countries of the Global South, the hard-won labour rights and laws are being dismantled and replaced with laws that suit the corporates. As the rich become richer, working classes and toiling masses are thrown under the bus of austerity. With skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and unemployment, the new neoliberal onslaught has pushed people into immense suffering.

The growing corporate assault on the lives and livelihood has created a wide-spread resentment among the working class across the world. In past years, we have witnessed several historic workers’ strike actions across the world, including India. In India, the historic farmers’ movement in 2020-2021 forced the fascist-neoliberal government of Modi-led BJP government to withdraw the three farm laws aimed at turning the farmers into corporate slaves. Presently, the workers and farmers are unitedly gearing up to resist and thwart the corporate attacks by government of India.

We, reiterate our support to the demands of UAW for new contract with a 32-hour workweek, 42% pay increases (in conjunction with inflation and to match the average pay increases of the CEOs at the three companies) and pension benefits among others.

We believe that the on-going battle against the ‘Big Three,’ will mark a new era in history of radical labour movement in the US.
In solidarity
All India Central
Council of Trade Unions
[AICCTU] HQ, Delhi

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Vol 56, No. 16, Oct 15 - 21, 2023