M5.7 quake hits Japan

Quake with a magnitude of 5.7 has hit northeastern Japan. The Japan Meteorological Agency says there is no threat of tsunami.

The quake occurred off Fukushima Prefecture at 4:49 PM on Tuesday. The agency estimates the focus was 52 kilometers deep.

The jolt registered an intensity of 5-minus on the Japanese scale of zero to 7 in the cities of Soma and Minamisoma and 2 towns in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as Iwanuma City in Miyagi Prefecture.The tremor was felt widely in regions including the Tokyo metropolitan area. NHK News


“Back Door Entry of Unconstitutional GO 123 is Anti-Farmer”


“Back Door Entry of Unconstitutional GO 123 is Anti-Farmer”


28th Feb, 2017


 A large number of People’s Movements, Farmers Organizations, Women’s Groups including  National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, (WSS), Mahila Kisaan Adhikar Manch (MAKAAM), Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV), Human Rights Forum (HRF), Telangana Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (TVVU), Caring Citizens Collective (CCC), Mallanna Sagar Project-affected People’s Organization, along with well-known activists, academics and lawyers including Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Sandeep Pandey, Dr. Sunilam, Prof. Uma Chakravarty, Sujatha Surepally Padmaja Shaw, Jeevan Kumar, Kiran Vissa, P. Chennaiah and many others sent a letter to the President of India calling upon him not to assent to the anti-farmer, anti-people Telangana Land (Acquisition) Amendment Bill, 2016.

The letter states emphatically that the Bill completely nullifies the progressive provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013 passed by the Parliament of India and would result in immense harm to lakhs of small and marginal farmers, landless families and displaced persons, most of who are dalits, adivasis, women in the State of Telangana.  

The letter indicates that The Land Acquisition and R & R Act, 2013 includes consultation with Gram Sabhas, social impact assessment, options assessment and minimizing acquisition/destruction of farm land, acquisition of minimum multi-crop land only as the last option, ensuing food security, recognition of the livelihood rights of landless, fair compensation, land-based R&R etc, return of land unutilized even after 5 years etc. However, the proposed Telangana Bill violates these and many other key provisions.

The Amendment Bill strikes a death blow to the concept of Welfare state that must protect the marginalized communities and instead gives legislative sanction to state-sponsored real estate, through private agreements with land-owners and mere payment of meagre cash to all other landless / livelihood losers.  By exempting defence, national security projects, rural infrastructure including electrification, affordable housing and housing for the poor people, industrial corridors, infrastructure and social infrastructure projects including PPP projects, the Govt. has effectively insulated most projects from the prerequisites of SIA, determination of public purpose and mandate to attend to food security concerns.


The letter stresses that the Bill is a rehash of the draconian GO MS No. 123 that was stayed by the High Court, as it violates several fundamental rights, including Article 14, 19, 21 (life and livelihood). If this Bill becomes law in the state of Telangana the very premise of enacting the comprehensive LA & R&R Act, 2013 would become redundant. The Bill is a pernicious attempt of abuse of constitutional provisions. Since the Centre has already passed the 2013 Act, the state governments only have a ‘limited’ right vis-à-vis declaration of ‘better’ compensation and ‘better’ rehabilitation and resettlement than the LA Act 2013, and can in no way dilute the 2013 Act itself.


The Petition reminds the President that as per Article 254 (2) of the Constitution and the Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a landmark Constitution Bench decision in Kaiser-I-Hind Pvt. Ltd. v. National Textile Corporation (2002), he has every right and responsibility to ensure a complete and active application of mind and objective examination of the overall facts and circumstances.


The full text of the letter, along with a critique of the Act is attached herewith.  For more details, please write to Meera at or call @ 7337478993 or Kiran @ 9701705743


Appeal to the President of India to refuse assent to the

Telangana Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, 2016


(passed in violation of Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013 passed by the Parliament of India)

 28th February, 2017



Sri Pranab Kumar Mukherji,

President of India,

Rashtrapathi Bhavan,

New Delhi.

Respected Sir,

We the undersigned people’s movements, women’s groups, civil society organizations and concerned citizens from Telangana and across India seek your immediate intervention in ensuring the right to land, livelihood, food and ecological security of lakhs of small and marginal farmers, landless families and displaced persons, most of who are dalits, adivasis, women and whose constitutional and human rights would be seriously prejudiced, with your assent to the Telangana Land Acquisition Amendment Act 2016.

We earnestly call upon you not to assent to the Telangana Land Acquisition Amendment Act 2016, passed by the Legislature of Telangana (hereinafter referred to as the Telangana Bill) which is in clear violation of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the LA-R&R Act, 2013) passed by the Parliament of India. We would also like to inform you at the very outside that the aforesaid Bill was passed, despite severe opposition from numerous farmers groups, project-affected groups, civil society organizations, political fronts and parties.

Before providing our detailed comments on some key provisions of the Bill, we herewith highlight the principal reasons, as to why the Telangana Bill is a clear attempt to scuttle implementation of the 2013 Central Act and must therefore not be enacted into law.

  1. Summary of Objections to the Telangana Bill, 2016:

The Land Acquisition and R & R Act, 2013 includes progressive provisions like consultation with Gram Sabhas, social impact assessment, options assessment and minimizing acquisition/destruction of farm land, acquisition of minimum multi-crop land only as the last option, ensuing food security, recognition of the livelihood rights of landless, fair compensation, land based R&R etc, return of land unutilized even after 5 years etc. The Telangana Bill violates some of these key provisions of the 2013 Act as enlisted below:

1.1        Dispensation of key clauses of social impact assessment (SIA) on arbitrary grounds that this would ‘delay’ the land acquisition – while in reality the 2013 Act itself states that SIA must be completed within 90 days of the initial notification.

1.2  While Sec 107 only permits the State to amend the Act to provide better R&R and compensation, Govt. of Telangana (GoT) has used this clause to bring in provisions which in the grab of ‘facilitating land purchase from willing farmers’ would take away a lot of statutory safe guards. Besides, land acquisition has cumulative impacts on the entire community and the 2013 Act mandates that entire affected population must be consulted, compensated, options to avert/ minimize displacement must be explored. The Amendment does away with all of this.

1.3  By exempting defence, national security projects, rural infrastructure including electrification, affordable housing and housing for the poor people, industrial corridors, infrastructure and social infrastructure projects including PPP projects, the Govt. has effectively insulated most projects from the pre-requisites of SIA, determination of public purpose and mandate to attend to food security concerns.


1.4  In complete violation of procedural safeguards, the Collectors have been empowered to pass ‘final awards’ on the basis of their ‘due satisfaction’ dispensing with the right of people to file objections and have them heard.


1.5  The Amendment strikes a deathblow to the concept of Welfare state that must protect the marginalized communities and instead gives legislative sanction to state-sponsored real estate, through private agreements with land-owners and mere payment of meager cash to all other landless / livelihood losers.


1.6  While 2013 Act permits ‘Emergency acquisition’ only after approval by Parliament in rare situations, the proposed amendments stipulates that ‘emergency acquisition’ (implying waiver of most procedural aspects like SIA, hearings etc.) can be made by an executive order of any central govt. official, opening the floodgates of abuse of law.


  1. Detailed Objections to the Telangana Bill, 2016:

2.1 The Context:

Land Acquisition in India has had a long history of subjugation, displacement, dispossession, violence, revolt, loss of life. The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 did not provide adequately for rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R), and R&R was seldom a criterion in most projects, except meagre cash compensation. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LA Act 2013) passed by the Parliament of Indiawas a significant step in protecting the rights of the oustees and others dependent on land. The scrapping of 1894 Act and enactment of the 2013 Act itself was effectuated by the large number of struggles waged by the farmers, landless, dalits, adivasis, forest dwellers, women and project-affected people and their organizations from across the country, over decades.


Thus drawing from more than a century of acquisition and displacement, leading to impoverishment and unrest amongst millions of toiling masses, the LA-R&R Act, 2013 incorporates strong and detailed provisions to safeguard the interests of project oustees along with some measures for rehabilitation and compensation to restart their life/livelihood.


The LA-R&R Act, 2013 specifically deals with 3 aspects i) the process of land acquisition ii) compensation  iii) rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected families. Persons across India affected by any project, either losing land or livelihoods due to land acquisition are now secured and protected by the provisions under this Act.In the Concurrent list of the Constitution, the Central legislation ‘covers the field’ in this respect and doesnot allow for any other contrary enactment by a State government.


The LA-R&R Act, 2013 was passed after more than two decades of protracted people’s struggles, deliberation by parliamentarians, detailed reviews by Parliamentary Standing Committees keeping in mind the tremendous sacrifices that the millions of  land-owning farmers and livelihood losing people had made till that time for the sake of the ‘development of the country. Under the LA-R&R Act, 2013, the state governments may formulate either an Act or a policy vis-à-vis two aspects in accordance with Section 107 and 108 of the LA Act 2013:i) better compensation ii) better rehabilitation and resettlement, than the ones already provided under the I, II and III Schedules of the Act of 2013.


Therefore, since the field of land acquisition is already covered by the Act of Parliament i.e., LA Act 2013, which clearly allows the state governments to only make an Act or a policy in relation to better rehabilitation and resettlement and better compensation, the State of Telangana ought to limit  and restrict its proposed Telangana Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2016 to only these two avenues for better compensation and better rehabilitation and resettlement which the state has to provide to affected families as clearly better and above than that provided by the LA-R&R Act, 2013.


Infact, for more than a year and a half, the Govt. of Telangana has been undertaking legally questionable acquisitions under a Govt. Order called GO 123 (passed on 30/7/2015) and by-passing compliance with the 2013 Act. Massive protests and legal action by farmers and displaced persons, especially the women and men affected by the Mallanna Sagar and NIMZ Projects, led to a recent order of the dt. 5/1/2017 by the Chief-Justice led Division Bench of the High Court of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, upholding the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013 and directing an interim stay on GO No. 123 and 214 (land purchase policy) issued by the Govt. of Telangana (GoT), which numerous groups of farmers-oustees have argued is “illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional, against the concept of welfare state” and violates the rights of both landed and landless project oustees guaranteed by the 2013 Act. Having failed to impose the GO No. 123, Govt. of Telangana now seeks to legislate the same GO, violating the 2013 Act.


2.2 Clause-wise Comment confirming violation of 2013 Act by the Telangana Bill: 

The State of Telangana must strictly follow the Land Acquisition process as provided in the LA-R&R Act, 2013 including Social Impact Assessment, Notifications, Revision of Registration values, determination of land values, before coming up with better awards of compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement. The state cannot mix compulsory land acquisition procedures with ‘Consent awards,’ similar to G.O.Ms.No.123 Revenue (JA & LA) Department, Government of Telangana, dated 30.07.2015, and must follow all land acquisition procedures under LA-R&R Act, 2013, before initiating state specific process for better compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement.

The Act that the Telangana legislature passed introduced several changes to the LA-R&R Act, 2013which are violative of the rights of the people and also the provisions of the Central Act. Some of the provisions that violate the basic provisions of the LA-R&R Act, 2013 are as follows:

  1. Chapter III A: The inclusion of Chapter IIIA Sec 10A – ‘Power of the government to exempt certain projects’ – is really the state government seeking to completely do away with Chapter II and III, that ensure Social Impact Assessment (SIA). Along with the exempted requirements for national and related security projects, the state seeks to expand the exemption from Social impact Assessment to irrigation, infrastructure, housing, PPP (public private partnerships, and other projects that would necessarily include mining, electricity, rural infrastructure etc.

This is extremely dangerous to the life, livelihood and liberty of the project affected families who would immediately become ‘project oustees’ vulnerable to any drastic actions, whims and fancies of the state government! This is a complete violation of Article 21 –Right to Life,  Liberty and Livelihood.


Social Impact Assessment has been included in the LA-R&R Act, 2013 after several national and international tragedies relating to rampant land acquisition were studied, as a method to overcome the same. An impact assessment on land, livelihoods, human life, family life, society, environment, natural resources, water bodies, environs where people live, education, health, economic status and consequences of uprooting them from their natural habitat is studied in detail to restrict and limit any damage such an uprooting of habitat may cause to them. This is an important safeguard especially for the landless, women, adivasis, dalits and other marginalized groups.

However, the Telangana state is seeking to completely do away with Social impact Assessment guaranteed by the central LA Act 2013, in the name of ‘urgency’ and development’ that absolutely should not be allowed as this is likely to endanger the lives of lakhs of citizens who would be victims of land acquisitions and displacement.

  1. Section 23A: This new amended section states that a ‘voluntary’ sale agreement between a land owner and the government could be sold/compensated according to the ‘agreement.’ However, in subsection (2) it goes on to state that the same would not affect other sale transactions! This is only an escape route for the government to get this section included and passed. This amendment in essence is a rehash of GO MS 123 of Government of Telangana, which the High Court has quashed in August 2016.
  2. Another dangerous amendment to section 26 of the LA Act 2013 that the state Act proposes is to substitute the words ‘revise and update’ with ‘ascertain,’ the market values.This is a diabolical scam as the state government would be under absolutely no obligation to revise and update market values leaving a lot of discretion with the state government to act against the interests of the vulnerable land owners.


The state Act also proposes to exempt the agreements from Registration Act 1908, which makes the agreement bereft of any protection. This allows the state government to avoid updating market values under the AP Revision of Market Values Guidelines, 1998, which is a part of the Registration Act 1908.

  1. Amendment to Section 24: By adding the proviso to clause (b) the state government is seeking to exempt itself from giving appropriate compensation in case of affected land owners approaching courts and if the compensation is forcibly deposited into the court. This should not be allowed!
  2. The Amending Act also tries to dilute Section 101 by making it difficult for the land oustees to seek the return of their lands if the proposed project for which land has been acquired is shelved or does not take off. It is a dangerous move to completely usurp the land owners of their rights to lands and to keep it under the ‘eminent domain’ of state control, no matter what! The amendment to ‘period specified for the project or five years whichever is later,’ is an abomination of basic right to land and a violation of Article 300-A.


  1. Insertion of Sec 31-A: Again, an attempt to scuttle state’s obligations under Schedule II and III.The state government only plans to pay a meagre lumpsum amount to land owners pursuant to an agreement without any Schedule II and III benefits like rehabilitation and resettlement to people who depend on the lands, i.e. landless workers. artisans, tenants, coolies, and assignees. And plans to provide rehabilitation and resettlement only to people who depend on the land as per watered-down agreement made possible under the now proposed state Act. That compensation too seems uncertain.
  2. Section 40 Emergency Provision: The state government has added in the Act, ‘by direction of Central government to the State government’ after ‘approval of the Parliament.’ This is only an attempt to dilute and takeaway the powers of the Parliament against the arbitrary, indiscriminate use of Section 40 by state governments! Thus, while 2013 Act permits ‘Emergency acquisition’ only after approval by Parliament in rare situations, the proposed amendments stipulates that ‘emergency acquisition’ (implying waiver of most procedural aspects like SIA, hearings etc.) can be made by an executive order of any central govt. official, opening the floodgates of abuse of law.
  3. Problems with the Statement of Objects and Reasons:

States have ABSOLUTELY no power to execute a ‘state’ Act vis-à-vis ‘land acquisition,’ under Section 107 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The field is already occupied by the central LA Act (2013), and the state necessarily has to comply with all the procedural requirements including, Social Impact Assessment, notification, declaration and award of compensation and decisions relating to rehabilitation and resettlement.


The state only has a ‘limited’ right vis-à-vis declaration of ‘better’ compensation and ‘better’ rehabilitation and resettlement than the LA Act 2013, which it has to provide to the affected persons. This too, only after satisfactorily complying with all procedures relating to land acquisition under the 2013 Act. Therefore, the statement of Objects and Reasons make no real sense at all

In summary, this proposed Bill of the Telangana Govt. is a rehash of the draconian GO MS No. 123 that was quashed by the High Court, which violates several fundamental rights, including Article 14, 19, 21 (life and livelihood). If this Bill becomes law in the state of Telangana the very premise of enacting the comprehensive LA & R&R Act, 2013 would become redundant.


The state of Telangana ought to restrict itself vis-à-vis land acquisition procedures, so that the same do not violate the centre-state comity as guaranteed by the Constitution as Land Acquisition is provided in List III, Concurrent list, of the Constitution, where if the field is already occupied by a Central Act, then a state Act cannot violate the same. We enclose herewith a detailed note/critique of the Telangana Bill, 2016 vis-à-vis the LA-R&R Act for your kind perusal.


We humbly wish to remind you that even as this Bill is being placed before you under Article 254 (2) of the Constitution, you reserve every right and responsibility to ensure a complete application of mind and objective examination of the overall facts and circumstances, which clearly point out that the Bill is a pernicious exercise in constitutional abuse and must not be permitted. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in a landmark Constitution Bench decision in Kaiser-I-Hind Pvt. Ltd. v. National Textile Corporation (2002) held, in relation to Article 254(2), that the words “reserved for consideration” would “definitely indicate that there should be active application of mind by the President to the repugnancy… and the necessity of having such a law, in facts and circumstances of the matter…”.


In view of the aforementioned submissions, we seek your intervention by way of refusing to assent to the said Bill, amending the 2013 Act on Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation, passed by the Telangana Assembly when it comes for your consideration and ensuring that the constitutional and human rights of the farming and working communities in Telangana state are not violated.


As progressive people’s organizations representing the interests of the marginalized communities, we sincerely and unequivocally urge you not to assent to the Land Acquisition (Telangana) Amendment Bill, 2016 as it completely nullifies the progressive provisions of the 2013 Act and would result in immense harm to lakhs of small and marginal farmers, landless families and displaced persons, most of who are dalits, adivasis, women in the State of Telangana.

Yours sincerely,

Medha PatkarNarmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh – Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

Sujatha Surepally and Padmaja Shaw, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Telangana

Usha Seethalakshmi, K. Sajaya, Ashalatha, Mahila Kisaan Manch (MAKAAM), Telangana

Vissa Kiran Kumar and PS Ajay, Rythu Swarajya Vedika, Telangana-AP

Jeevan Kumar and Syed Bilal, Human Rights Forum, Telangana-AP

Venkataiah and Venkateshwaramma, Telangana Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union

Lakshmi, Caring Citizens Collective,

Hayathuddin and Sujatha, Mallanna Sagar Project-affected People’s Organization

P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU and National Centre For Labour and NAPM-AP

Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, AP

Ashwaq, Campaign for Housing and Tenurial Rights (CHATRI)

Varghese Theckanath SG, Hyderabad City Slum People’s Federation  (HCSPF),

Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-AP, 

Vyjayanthi Mogli and Rachana Mudraboyina, Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS), Telangana,

  1. Shankar,Dalit Bahujana Front, Telanagna

Adv. MA Shakeel, Centre for Study of Constitution and Society, Hyderabad Telangana.

S.Q. Masood, Centre for Peace Studies, Hyderabad Telangana.

Malini Subramaniam, Independent Journalist, Hyderabad.

Vimala Morthala, Independent Writer, Activist, Hyderabad

Thomas Pallithanam – People’s Action For Rural Awakening, Ravulapalem, East Godavari, AP

Prof Arif Waqif,  PhD Univ of California-Berkeley, Founder Dean (Rtd), School of Management, University of Hyderabad, Chairman Economics, Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad

Adv. Rachana Reddy, Advocate, High Court of Telangana

Adv. Ravi, High Court of Telangana

Rahul Maganti, Independent Journalist, Vijayawada

Gutta Rohit, Human Rights Activist, HRF.

Pradeep Esteves, Director, Development activist, Context India

Prof. Anupama Potluri, Faculty, Hyderabad Central University

Aravinda Potluri, Software Professional, Hyderabad

Prafulla Samantara, – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & NAPM, Odisha;

Lingraj Azad – Samajwadi Jan Parishad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha;

Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)

Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd), Mysuru, NAPM, Karnataka

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai and NAPM, TN;

Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN;

Uma Chakravarti, Feminist Historian, WSS, New Delhi.

Shoma Sen, Prof. of English Literature, Nagpur and WSS

Seema Azad, Independent Journalist, Activist, Uttar Pradesh

Nisha Biswas, Scientist and Activist, WSS, West Bengal

Kalpana Mehta, Feminist Activist, Saheli and WSS, Indore

Kiran Shaheen, Independent Activist and All India People’s Forum, WSS-Delhi.

Arul Doss, NAPM Tamil Nadu

Arundhati Dhuru, Nandlal Master, Manesh Gupta – NAPM, UP;

Richa Singh, Sangatin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM-UP

Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan and Prof. Kusumam NAPM, Kerala

Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan Sangathan, NAPM-Uttarakhand & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand;

Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union & NAPM, Karnataka;

Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka;

Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat;

Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & NAPM Bihar;

Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar;

Sister Dorothy, NAPM Bihar

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti, NAPM Jharkhand

Madhuri, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh

Dr. Sunilam and Adv. Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti  NAPM Madhya Pradesh

Bhupender Singh Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini, NAPM, Delhi

Rajendra Ravi, Nanu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Amit Kumar, Himnshi Singh, Uma Kapari, Zaved Mazumder, NAPM, Delhi

Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana

J S Walia, NAPM Haryana;

Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan;

Amitava Mitra & Avik Saha, NAPM West Bengal;

Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra;

Gautam Bandopadhyay, NAPM, Chhatisgarh

Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

Kaladas Dahariya, RELAA, Chhatisgarh

Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai,

Diksha Dhar, PhD Scholar EFL University of  Hyderabad

Pushpa Achanta, Journalist & Trainer, Bangalore.

Shivani, Housing and Land Rights Network, New Delhi

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, Scientist, Feminist Theologian, Mumbai.

Shobha R, Human rights activist, Bangalore

Dyuti, Legal Researcher, Delhi.

Adv Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Lawyer and activist, Mumbai

Anuradha Banerji, WSS

Svati Shah, Asst. Prof, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts

Dr. Karen Gabriel, Director, Centre for Gender, Culture and Social Processes, St Stephen’s College, Delhi University

Prof. Dr. Shalini Mulackal, Vidyajyoti College of Theology, New Delhi

Uma Chandru, Activist, WSS, Bangalore

Nishok G U, Kalpavriksh, Pune &, Salem, Tamil Nadu.

And many other activists and people’s organizations of Telangana.


Women’s safety to gender equity

Sagar Media Inc


Sudden spurt of violence and hate in Indian society

 Sudden spurt of violence and hate in Indian society, a new notion of nationalism based on fear and feelings of besiege and a process of exclusion to redefine the boundaries of social structure has corroded the very foundation on which the constitution of the country was based. The processes more pronounced in certain parts than the other have immensely disturbed intellectuals, artists and social activists.


 Marking the 15 years of Gujarat genocide, we believed that the urgency to intervene in defence of democracy, secularism and justice has never been more pressing than in the conditions prevailing in the country today. There is a recognizable change in the general tenor of public discourse; unlike in the past, it is informed more by the communal than by secular ethos. The prejudices against marginalised communities are widely shared as a result of motivated and sustained propaganda. In the face of concerted social mobilization mounted by communal organizations by invoking religious symbols and sentiments, liberal civil society has come under a siege. Nevertheless, the need for sustained and constructive action for strengthening secularism and democracy and for realising justice and peace is evident.

 Chaired by Prof Manoj Jha, Prof Apoorvanand, Harsh Mander, Nishrin Jafri, Shabnam Hashmi, Teesta Setalvad and Zakia Jafri will speak at the programme.


The remembrance in the form of memory plays a fundamental role in shaping future. Today ‘never forget’ and ‘never again’ are often used in relation to remember the events of mass violence, specially the genocides. It is very important for genocide survivors and activists to speak of a ‘war against memory’, as the perpetrators tried to destroy material traces of their crimes, and revisionists today seek to deny what happened. Today, the remembrance of 15 years of Gujarat Genocide is most crucial to defend the India and criminal justice system of the state, which is under attack. We can’t risk allowing them to happen again, therefore along with remembrance the struggle to seek justice is another crucial part, and it can only possible with extending support to the survivors and activists who are fighting this battle.

A Video Series Our Shared Cultural Heritage recorded a few years ago is being released at the programme.


 Cultures, civilizations grow and develop because they constantly take from each other. Civilizations borrow from others and give to others. And it is in this process of give and take that each civilization, each country, each nation constantly reinvents itself. It defines and redefines itself. The idea is not to purge what we consider alien but to recognize that it is impossible to say what is ours and what is not. What we need to do is to see what is relevant, living and robust in our culture as it exists today, to accept what will enrich our lives and help us to improve as human beings and to reject and discard all that is likely to sustain prejudice and malice towards other human beings. The search for the meaning of culture is a continuous process in the historical evolution of all societies. The dynamism of Indian culture is derived from its diversity, which molded the cultural practices of the people. We celebrate this diversity and we believe that the lectures will play a significant role in resisting the forces of hatred


The video lecture series being released online on Anhad India Youtube channel contain lectures by Dadi Padumjee on Puppetry, Gauhar Raza on Science, Javed Akhter on Cinema,K. Satchitanandan on Literature, K.N. Panikkar on Cultural Heritage, Kumi and Anil Chandra on Fabric, Mridula Mukharjee on People’s Movements, Prathibha Prahlad on Dance, Romi Khosla on Architecture, Romila Thapar on History as Heritage, Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan on Music, Sohail Hashmi on Food, Tripurari Sharma on Theatre and Yogi Sikand on Religious Spaces.

Two bookmarks will also be released with Ehsan Jafri’s poems and one with Gauhar Raza’s poem written in 2002.


TEL: 011-41670722

OVAIS: 9911016957/ SHABNAM- 9811807558



●  India-Central Asia Relations

Political Developments●  Economic Developments

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar

Turkmenistan’s incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was convincingly re-elected as President for a third term of seven years, securing 98% of the votes polled in a heavily one-sided election on 12th February, 2017. He demolished eight other token candidates that included subordinate regional officials and director of a government-owned oil refinery. Turkmenistan’s official news organization reported that international observers found only minor voting problems, which did not affect the election results. Independent election monitors have however not declared any of Turkmenistan’s elections free or fair since the country gained independence after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991.

Berdymukhamedov was sworn in on 17th February in a grand ceremony. All eight candidates vigorously applauded him at the ceremony. He promised to create a human rights ombudsman in a country where abuses are cited as being systematic by rights groups, and strengthen the fight against drug trafficking.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev signed into law constitutional changes approved in a referendum in early December, 2016. Many of the changes were controversial with some international experts commenting that the changes would “negatively impact the balance of powers.” Many analysts have stated that rebalancing of powers between President and Prime Minister was deliberate: either Atambayev was envisioning “a Putinesque term as Prime Minister when his single presidential term concludes” or he’s interested in installing a loyal colleague in the office.

Kyrgyz President Atambayev has declared that he would not seek political office, including the post of Prime Minister, after his 6 year presidential term ends at the end of 2017.

According to Kyrgyz Constitution, President can occupy this position for only one term. Elections for the next President are scheduled for 19th November, 2017.

The Respublika—Ata-Jurt party of Kyrgyzstan, on February 14 2017, nominated its leader Omurbek Babanov, former Prime Minister as its candidate in the forthcoming presidential election. Two other prominent politicians — former Prime Minister Temir Sariyev, who leads Ak-Shumkar (White Falcon) party, and Onuguu-Progress party leader Bakyt Torobayev, have also announced plans to run for the post of President.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan in his nationwide televised address on 25th January, 2017 outlined a dramatic dilution of his own powers and a shift to a more parliamentary form of government. He described the strongly presidential model in force since independence as necessary to “overcome the enormous difficulties of forming the state,” but said that time had arrived for a new model. Under this, the president will give up some of his powers to parliament and the government. The new arrangement would however still leave the President with a veto over the most sensitive matters of state in foreign policy, defence and homeland security.

International human rights organization Freedom House in its annual report “Freedom in the World 2017’’ ranked Kyrgyzstan (37 points) as the only country in Central Asia which is “partly free.” Uzbekistan which received 3 points in the ranking has the worst indicators of freedom in Central Asia.  Turkmenistan got 4 points. Tajikistan with 11 points and Kazakhstan with 22 points were ranked among the 49 “not free” countries.

At the instance of Russia, Turkey and Iran, Kazakhstan hosted the Syrian Peace Talks in Astana on 23-24th January 2017 and on 16th February, 2017. Syrian delegate accused Turkey of continuing to facilitate the entry of “tens of thousands of mercenaries” to Syria.  He also accused Jordan of sponsoring rebel factions that have been clashing with government forces in the southern city of Daraa for the past few days.

In addition to the prestige of hosting the Talks, Kazakhstan seeks to prevent spread of Islamist extremism at home and in the region. Kazakh authorities estimate that several hundred of their citizens have joined Islamist militant groups in Syria and Iraq.

Kazakhstan neutralized two radical groups and six religious extremists in the city of Almaty and Almaty region through a special operation carried out over 13-24th January 2017 by the National Security Committee together with Interior Ministry.

On 15th February 2017, Moscow hosted consultations on Afghanistan with participation of senior officials from six nations — Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Iran, and India. It was decided to invite the Central Asian countries to the next Round of consultations.  Participants also agreed to further increase efforts towards peace and stability in Afghanistan under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Governments of Uzbekistan and Russia plan to sign two agreements in the field of labor migration in April, 2017 during Uzbek President’s visit to Russia. They will cover organized recruitment and employment of citizens of Uzbekistan for temporary work in Russia and establishment of migration offices in each other’s country. The leaders will also discuss trade and military co-operation.

Kazakhstan “strongly condemned” the ballistic missile launch conducted by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 12th February as “a blatant violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolution.’’


Economic Developments

Pipeline construction and gas-field development on the 1,680 km Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline commenced in Turkmenistan in 2015. Commissioning of the project is likely to be delayed by one year from 2019 to 2020 because of inability of Turkmenistan to achieve financial closure on the project. It was earlier scheduled to attain this by December 2016, but now it has been moved forward to June 2017. The four countries have signed a US$10-billion investment agreement for the pipeline. The Tapi pipeline is projected to export up to 33bcm/yr from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India over 30 years.

China is falling well short of Turkmen expectations regarding the amount of gas it imports, in the process damaging the latter’s economy. Turkmenistan has supplied China with a total of 160bcm of gas since deliveries started in December 2009. This indicates that deliveries in 2016 totalled 30bcm or less. Such a level falls far short of Turkmenistan’s export target and casts a long shadow over goals set out by president Berdimukhammedov in May 2014, when he declared that “annual export of natural gas to China will amount to 40bcm by 2016 and up to 65bcm by 2021.”

Turkmenistan’s GDP growth slowed to 6.2% in 2016 from 6.5% in 2015. Economic growth has been slowing since 2015 as energy prices dropped and Russia halted imports of Turkmen gas, leaving China as its major buyer.

Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister stated that the country’s membership of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has been beneficial for the country. Opposition in Kyrgyzstan has charged that government has done nothing to improve economic situation in the country and create favorable conditions for local businesses to enter the EEU market. In 2016 Kyrgyzstan’s trade with EEU declined by 18.6% as compared to 2015 and amounted to US$1.9 billion. Imports from non-EEU countries increased: from China by 150%, from Turkey by 12.2%, and from USA 130%.  Kyrgyzstan’s transitional period with preferences will end in August 2017 and the country will then be required to obey common rules for all EEU member states. Farmers cannot export their products because they do not meet the requirements of EEU technical regulations. Despite criticism of MPs, Deputy Prime Minister expressed optimism focusing on a 3.8% GDP growth and an increase in customs duties by 8 billion soms in 2016. Exports in 2016 grew by 5.1% and reached US$1.54 billion, compared to a 22% decrease in 2015. Imports decreased by 3.7% in 2016, compared to a 29% decrease in 2015.

Government stated that Kyrgyz economy declined because of unfavorable economic situation in Russia and Kazakhstan, the main trading partners of Kyrgyzstan.  Kyrgyzstan’s economic growth is expected to be about 2.7% in 2017. In January-November 2016, remittances from Kyrgyz labor migrants working abroad amounted to US$1.493 billion, 20.9% more than in the same period in 2015.

Central Bank of Uzbekistan decided to keep the refinancing rate at the earlier level of 9% per annum. This was done to keep inflation under control, stimulate investment and promote economic growth. Inflation in the country in 2016 was 5.7% compared to 5.6% a year earlier. In 2017, inflation is expected to be between 5.7%-6.7%. Uzbekistan has been growing steadily on account of its vast natural resources of oil, natural gas and gold. Uzbekistan’s economy grew by 7.8% in 2016 compared to an 8% growth in 2015 reflecting a weaker external environment and slower growth in the industry. The government has forecast GDP growth of 7.8% in 2017.

President Nazarbayev in his state-of-the-nation address on 31st January, 2017, launched the third phase of Kazakhstan’s economic modernisation. The Plan looks beyond the current difficult global economic conditions to prepare the country for challenges and opportunities in years ahead to make it among the 30 most developed nations of the world by 2050. Nazarbayev emphasized the importance of expansion of business environment and improvement of conditions for mass business. To achieve that goal, it is necessary to minimize the state’s involvement in the economy and develop public-private partnership.

Position of Kazakhstan in the American Think Tank Heritage Foundation’s “2017 Index of Economic Freedom’’ moved up significantly by 27 positions from 69 to 42 with an improvement of 5.4% in overall performance. Amongst Central Asian States, Kyrgyzstan comes next at 89, Tajikistan stands at 109, Uzbekistan at 148 and Turkmenistan brings up the rear at 170 out of a total of 180 countries. For purpose of reference, India stands at 143 (a decline of 3.6% in performance and fall from 128th position in the previous year), China at 111, Russia at 114, Sri Lanka at 112, Bangladesh at 128, and Pakistan at 141.

World Bank has forecasted that Kazakhstan’s GDP will grow from 0.9% in 2016 to 2.2% in 2017, 3.7% in 2018 and 4% in 2019. Much of this has to do with the government’s own infrastructure spending. As the economy opens up, Kazakhstan climbed the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index and is now ranked 35th. According to World Bank, 80% of all foreign money coming into Central Asia heads to Kazakhstan. World Bank has ranked it as one of the 20 most attractive countries in the world for investors.

Total value of exports and imports of Kazakhstan equals 53% of its GDP with average applied tariff rate of 3.3%.

Tajikistan’s trade turnover decreased significantly over 2016. Between 2003 and 2013, Tajikistan’s GDP grew by an average of 7.2% per year, while employment expanded at only 2.1% annually. The low level of product diversification and reliance upon natural resources makes the Tajik economy susceptible to volatile commodity prices. The country adopted a new National Development Strategy covering 2016-2030, which envisages Tajikistan transforming from a mainly agrarian based economy to an industrialized economy.

In 2016 Tajikistan’s foreign debt reached US $2.3 billion or 32.7% of the country’s GDP. Today, Tajikistan’s largest international creditor is China, accounting for more than half of the country’s total debt. Tajikistan’s other large creditors are the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Islamic Development Bank. In 2016, Tajikistan’s exports amounted to US$898.7 million and imports stood at US$3 billion.


India-Central Asia Relations

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched “Al-Farabi-1”, a 1.7 kg Technology Demonstrator nano satellite built by Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty along with 103 other satellites using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota on 15th February, 2017.  The successful launch of Kazakhstan’s nano satellite is expected to pave the way for further bilateral cooperation in the field of space.

India and Kazakhstan marked the 25th anniversary of establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations on 22nd February, 2017.

Technical assistance of 7.8 million tenge (US$ 25,000) was given by India to the Al Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty for establishment of a Mahatma Gandhi Centre and upgradation of the India Studies Centre in the Department of Indology of Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University.

A 30-member cultural and artisan troupe from Kyrgyzstan and an 8-member troupe from Kazakhstan participated in the 31st Surajkund International Crafts Fair in Haryana, India from 1st-15th February, 2017. The troupes showcased traditional arts and crafts of their countries to huge crowds at the Mela.

A two member delegation from Kazakhstan comprising of Dr. Erlan Gadletovich Batyrbekov, Director General,  National Nuclear Centre, Ministry of Energy, and Prof Laura Yerekeshava, Deputy Director, Institute of Oriental Studies participated in the Raisina Dialogue organised by Observer Research Foundation and Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on 18-20 January, 2017.

 (The views expressed are personal)


Udayan Mane hits the front in round two of bti Open

Feroz Singh Garewal’s 66 is day’s best

28.02.2017 14:11:18 – Feroz Singh Garewal’s 66 is day’s best; 19 Bangladeshi golfers make cut

( – Dhaka, February 28, 2017: Bengaluru’s Udayan Mane hit the front with a five-under-67 in round two of the bti Open 2017. Mane’s two-day total of seven-under-137 placed him one shot clear of the rest at the Rs. 40 lakh event being played at the Kurmitola Golf Club (KGC) in Dhaka.

Khalin Joshi, another Bengalurean, signed for a 69 to be 

placed second at six-under-138 at the halfway stage. The Chandigarh duo of Feroz Singh Garewal (66) and Harendra Gupta (69) were a further shot back in tied third. Garewal’s six-under-66 was the best round of the day.

The halfway cut was set at five-over-149 with 50 professionals and one amateur making it through to the last two rounds. Nineteen Bangladeshi golfers made the cut.

Udayan Mane’s (70-67) top-class 67 propelled him from overnight tied sixth to first position. Mane, a two-time winner on the PGTI, fired six birdies against a lone bogey on Tuesday to rise into contention.

The 26-year-old Udayan, playing his third season as a professional, had it all going for him on day two as he sank three birdie putts from a range of 10 to 15 feet and also made a couple of chip-putt birdies. The only blemish on his card was a bogey on the second where he missed an up and down.
Mane, the 2015 PGTI Emerging Player of the Year, said, “After a terrific rookie season in 2015 where I won two events, I think I expected a bit too much from myself in the following season. I did have a decent 2016 but not as per my expectations.

“I see the past year as a learning curve and am now just working at getting the process and the basics right without thinking too much about the results. I’m just looking to improve in all aspects of the game. That’s the new approach I have for this season.

“I feel I’m carrying forward the good form from the last event in Hyderabad where I finished tied 11th despite being unwell on the last two days,” added Udayan, who finished tied 10th at the Asian Tour’s Bangladesh Open played at the same venue earlier this month.

Khalin Joshi (69-69), a three-time winner on the PGTI, moved up from overnight tied third to second after posting a second straight 69 that featured five birdies and two bogeys. Joshi had lost in a playoff and finished runner-up at the last PGTI event two weeks back.

Khalin said, “I’ve been close to winning for some time now. I feel my game is getting better with each passing week. I’ve done well at the KGC having been the joint runner-up at the Asian Tour’s Bangladesh Open staged here back in 2015. I was also ninth at this year’s edition of the Bangladesh Open held earlier this month. So I feel I have a good chance this week.”

Feroz Singh Garewal produced the best round of the day, a six-under-66, also the best round of the tournament so far, to make his way up from overnight tied 27th to tied third at five-under-139. Feroz’s error-free round included four consecutive birdies from the second to the fifth. Harendra Gupta’s second round 69 meant that he too took a share of third place.

Round one leader Md Sanju of Kolkata dropped to tied fifth at four-under-140 as a result of his second round of 73. The Delhi duo of Rashid Khan (71) and Naman Dawar (70) also closed the day in joint fifth.

Rabin Miah (71-72) was the highest placed Bangladeshi golfer in tied 13th at one-under-143.

PGTI Order of Merit leader Ajeetesh Sandhu (71) of Chandigarh was also placed tied 13th at the halfway stage.

Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (71-75), the leading golfer from the host nation, occupied tied 29th place at two-over-146.Indian stars Rashid Khan and Khalin Joshi as well as Sri Lanka’s top golfer Mithun Perera started well with matching scores of 69 to be tied third.

Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta, Naman Dawar of Delhi and Bengaluru’s Udayan Mane were all placed tied sixth at two-under-70.

Md Zamal Hossain Mollah, Rabin Miah and Md Dulal Hossain were the highest placed Bangladeshi golfers in tied ninth with scores of one-under-71.

PGTI Order of Merit leader Ajeetesh Sandhu of Chandigarh, also the winner of the last event in Hyderabad, was in tied 17th place at even-par-72.

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Constantine announces list of 31 probables




NEW DELHI; 28th February 2017: The Indian Senior National Team will be camping in Mumbai prior to their crucial Group A match against Myanmar in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers UAE 2019. India are slated to play Myanmar in their first Group match in Yangon on March 28, 2017.

Even as National Coach Stephen Constantine announced his list of probables for the Camp, he said that he chose Mumbai over other venues because the “weather conditions in Mumbai will be closest to Yangon.”

“Mumbai will be hot and humid much like what we will experience in Yangon when we play Myanmar in our first match,” he said. “The last time we camped and played in Mumbai, the Western India Football Association headed by AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel and Mr. Aditya Thackeray were so supportive and helpful, arranging and providing all what the National Team needed and asked for. I appreciate their passion and feeling for the National Team.”

The boys would be assembling in Mumbai from March 12 onwards as per their Club commitments in

the Hero I-League and the AFC Cup.

Constantine’s list of 31 probables has four new faces – Nishu Kumar, Subhashish Bose, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Milan Singh – all of whom who would reporting to any of his National Camps for the first-time ever.

“We have recruited players on basis of their consistent performances both from the Hero I-League and the Hero Indian Super League. I reiterate that the door is open for anyone who is eligible to play for India. But for that he must be prepared to do the work we need. We have selected the players from what we have seen over the last few months,” he stated.

India are slated to play Cambodia in an International Friendly in Phnom Penh on March 22 as part of their preparation for the crucial against Myanmar.


The list of probables stay as follows:


GOALKEEPERS: Subrata Paul, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, TP Rehneesh.


DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Sandesh Jhingan, Arnab Mondal, Anas Edathodika, Dhanapal Ganesh, Fulganco Cardozo, Narayan Das, Subhashish Bose, Jerry Lanrinzuala.


MIDFIELDERS: Jackichand Singh, Setiyesen Singh, Udanta Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Milan Singh, Pronay Halder, Md. Rafique, Rowllin Borges, Halicharan Narzary, CK Vineeth, Anthony D’Souza, Issac Vanlalsawma.


FORWARDS: Jeje Lelkephlua, Sumeet Passi, Sunil Chhetri, Daniel Lalhimpuia, Robin Singh.


India can grow at higher rate; job creation plans underway: FM Arun Jaitley

Feb 28

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India has potential to grow faster and plans are underway to reduce poverty and create jobs in rural areas. Mr Jaitley, who is meeting top government officials and business leaders in London, told reporters in London that India still has the potential to grow at a higher rate than today. A series of action is needed to reduce poverty in the rural areas. The Minister said he does not see India becoming a cashless system immediately but he anticipates India becoming less-cash economy. Mr Jaitley hoped that the Goods and Services Tax would be implemented by 1st of July this year.

The Finance Minister said the Indian government takes the issue of defaulters very seriously. In response to a question, Mr. Jaitley said he may raise the issue of defaulters based in Britain with the UK government, in an apparent reference to liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Because of the strong steps taken by the government, the Finance Minister said, some defaulters are on the run. Being on the run, they find refuge in certain other jurisdictions, exploiting the systems in other parts of the world.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II yesterday hosted a reception at the Buckingham Palace to launch the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 with Mr Jaitley representing the Indian government at the historic event. The 90-year-old Queen was joined by her husband, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and grandson Prince William and his wife Kate. It showcased the cultural diversity of India in the form of dance.


Hungary starts construction of second border fence

Hungary has begun building a second line of fence along its southern border with Serbia, a government spokesman said on Monday, a move likely to exacerbate criticism from some of the country’s EU partners. A barbed-wire fence is already in place, erected in 2015, when Hungary was part of the main overland route for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees, many fleeing the war in Syria. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government considers migration to be one of the largest threats to the status quo in the EU. But officials in Brussels and some other EU centers are distressed by some of his go-it-alone policies. A European Parliament committee was due on Monday to discuss the state of fundamental rights in Hungary.


ANA to take on a majority stake in budget carrier Peach Aviation.

Japanese airline company ANA say they will take on a majority stake in budget carrier Peach Aviation.

ANA to inject spend 270 million dollars to raise its holding to 67 percent to make Peach a subsidiary.

ANA Holdings currently has a 39 percent stake. Two other Peach Aviation stockholders have stakes of about 30 percent each. They are a Hong Kong-based investment firm and a state-backed fund, Innovation Network Corporation of Japan.

ANA executives say they plan to buy about half of the shares held by these companies.

Peach Aviation was launched with ANA’s backing in 2012 as Japan’s first low-cost carrier.

Executives say the 2 airlines will be able to cut costs by combining aircraft purchases and pilot training.NHK