Saturday, December 12, 2009

The speech they did not want the World to hear

The BJP MPs tried their best to drown out the speech given by Union Home Minsiter P.Chidambaram on December 8 in Indian Parliament [Lok Sabha] in reply to the debate on Liberhan Commission report on demolition of Babri Masjid.They continuosly shouted loud slogans,  instead of usual practise of walking out in protest.

Here are  some excerpts from  the speech which was described by 'The Hindu' as
"a cool lawyerly marshalling of facts punctuated by sharp punches but also by honest self-criticism that is rare in Indian political discourse."

Mr. Chairperson, Sir, the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry was constituted in December, 1992… (Interruptions). The Commission was appointed to go into the circumstances leading to the destruction of Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid structure… (Interruptions). The Commission has taken 17 years to give its report… (Interruptions) 1738 hours (Madam Speaker in the Chair) I am not here to defend why the Commission was allowed to take 17 years… (Interruptions). The then Congress Government … (Interruptions). The NDA Government assumed office thereafter… (Interruptions). The NDA Government was there for six years and it also gave extensions.… (Interruptions) The UPA Government gave the remaining extensions for about nine years and three months... (Interruptions). In a sense everyone is responsible for the extensions given to Justice Liberhan Commission.

When I took over, the Commission was given extension up to 31st March, 2009… (Interruptions). I gave extension to the Commission for two months and I insisted that the Report should be given to the Government of India within two months… (Interruptions). The Commission gave its report on 20th of June, 2009… (Interruptions). The Government of the day had told the Commission that the report is long overdue and it should have been given much earlier… (Interruptions) Be that as it may, we now have a report. The report gives in great detail the sequence of events… (Interruptions)

The Report gives the minutest details of what happened on each day leading to 6th December, 1992… (Interruptions) talked about the horrendous events that took place on the 6th of December, 1992. This Report … (Interruptions) those who are found to be responsible for the destruction … (Interruptions) the source of … (Interruptions) But unfortunately it is not so.
This is one of the rare occasions when I rise to reply to a debate with sadness in my heart… (Interruptions) The way this debate has unwinded itself is a … (Interruptions) on the Parliament of India. Someone must take the responsibility … (Interruptions) The only issue before the House is not whether there was a temple there; not whether there was a mosque there; not whether a mosque was built over a temple; not whether a Hindu community owned a piece of land there; not whether a Muslim community owned a piece of land there; not whether any injustice has been done to any one community. The only issue before the House is, who has demolished the mosque? … 
 Pending cases in the courts, the demolition as … (Interruptions) is the Sangh Parivar, the RSS an organization which is held responsible for the black day in the history of India… (Interruptions) The Commission is aware of this.
The Commission says, “I was called upon to enquire into the sequence of events and the circumstances relating to the occurrence in the Ramjanma Bhoomi Babri Masjid complex on the 6th of December, 1992 involving the destruction of the Ramjanmabhoomi Babri Masjid structure”… (Interruptions) The Commission says, as evident from the Terms of Reference given to me, I have not been called upon, and therefore do not wish to comment upon whether the structures as they existed in Ayodhya on the 6th of December 1992 constituted a Hindu temple or a Muslim mosque or any other type of structure… (Interruptions) I have been charged with the responsibility only to find out the sequence of events, facts and circumstances leading up to the demolition of the structures at Ayodhya and certain connected matters that took place. It is not within my purview to enquire into a dispute whether it was ever a temple or a mosque built over a temple.”

Sir, in the days leading to 6th December, 1992, the Government of India issued directives to two players… (Interruptions) One was the Government of Uttar Pradesh headed by Shri Kalyan Singh and the other constitutional authority was the Home Minister of Government of India under the late P V Narasimha Rao and … (Interruptions) these were the two constitutional authorities. How was one more responsible… (Interruptions) How did one communicate to the other?… (Interruptions)

Shri S.B. Chavan wrote three letters to Shri Kalyan Singh. The first letter was on 3rd December, 1992 in which he said:
“Forces are being stationed at suitable locations in Uttar Pradesh so as to be available at a short notice if and when required by the State Government.” No one can accuse the Congress Government of that day that adequate forces were not deployed.… (Interruptions)
On the same day, Shri S.B. Chavan wrote another letter to Shri Kalyan Singh on 3rd December, 1992 in which he said: “It is understood that by 4th /5th December, 1992, the number of Karsevaks at Ayodhya would have crossed one lakh. However, it appears that infrastructural arrangements made for the Kar Sewaks are becoming increasingly stretched and insufficient for the assembled Karsevaks.” … (Interruptions)

On 5th December, 1992, Shri S.B. Chavan wrote a letter in which he used a rather stern language. “In your last letter dated 2nd December, 1992, you once again reiterated the State Government‟s commitment to protect the structure.”

Shri Kalyan Singh, in his letter of 2nd December reiterated the State Government‟s commitment to protect the structure. … (Interruptions) Drawing his attention to his promise, the Home Minister said: “There are reports that the Karsevaks are in a restive and even in belligerent mood and that many of them are resorting to extensive purchases of Trishuls which can even be used for offensive purposes. The security arrangements made by the State Governmetn may not be adequate for the occasion especially if any violence breaks out. …(Interruptions) Further, it is reported that massive crowds are gathering freely and unchecked in that the Sankeertan area. … (Interruptions) It is necessary to upgrade security arrangements substantially to prevent the possibility of any attempt being made to damage the disputed structure..… (Interruptions) Shri S.B. Chavan said that the possibility of some mischievous elements using explosives to damage the RJBBM structure cannot be ruled out. … (Interruptions) As you are aware, contingents of the central paramilitary forces have already been stationed at various places in UP so as to make them available at short notice; if required by the State Government for the security of the disputed structure and maintenance of law and order in view of the call given for the Kar Seva.… (Interruptions) I understand that only about 23 companies including four companies of CRPF are currently deployed for the security arrangements in and around the RJBBM complex. It is felt that this strength may not be sufficient to meet the security arrangements especially if any untoward development takes place… (Interruptions)

 Madam, it is absolutely clear that the Chief Minister had made a solemn promise that it is the State Government‟s responsibility to protect the structure. 185 companies of paramilitary forces had been placed and they had been placed at crucial locations but they deployed only four companies in order to protect the RJBBM structure. … (Interruptions)

It was the first big untruth uttered by the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. It was an unadulterated untruth. He had no intention to protect the Babri Masjid structure. … (Interruptions) He uttered untruth to the Government of India. He uttered untruth to the Supreme Court. He uttered untruth to the National Integration Council. He uttered untruth on affidavit and that was the genesis of the destruction of the Babri Masjid complex.… (Interruptions) There was another occasion when he made a promise before the National Integration Council on 2nd November, 1991… (Interruptions)

I have got what he had said.

He said: All efforts will be made to find an amicable resolution of the issue; Pending a final solution, the Government of Uttar Pradesh will hold itself fully responsible for the protection of the Ram Janam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid structure; Order of the Court in regard to the land acquisition proceedings will be fully implemented; and the judgment of the Allahabad High Court in the cases pending before it will not be violated. … (Interruptions)

Then, a promise was made to the National Integration Council, a Council in which all the leaders of all the political parties were present; civil society is represented; and leaders of the political parties in Parliament were present. … (Interruptions) He made a solemn promise which was endorsed by the BJP and all other parties that were present. … (Interruptions)

This promise was made in the Supreme Court of India. … (Interruptions) I have got a copy of the order passed by the Supreme Court on 15th November, 1991. … (Interruptions) An affidavit was filed and the Supreme Court then passed an order. I think this order makes a very interesting reading. … (Interruptions) Anyone who is interested in the history of this country of that period would read this order. … (Interruptions)

This order says: “We have heard Mr. Jaitley”. I hope you know who Mr. Jaitley is. Mr. Jaitley was not only a Counsel. Mr. Jaitley is today the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. The order says: “We have heard Mr. Jaitley, the learned counsel of the respondent State. … (Interruptions) On the instructions of an officer present in the court, it has been gathered and told to us … (Interruptions) It is not denied that there are some old constructions in-between the main construction and the outer wall … (Interruptions) It can certainly be done as permitted by the High Court, but full care and attention should be devoted to ensure that the constructions, including the outer wall, which are old in character … (Interruptions) part of the disputed structure may not be … (Interruptions) This must be the total responsibility of the State of Uttar Pradesh to ensure compliance. … (Interruptions)

There was a meeting of the National Integration Council and the Chief Minister of the State … (Interruptions) He made certain statements to the Council. These were extracted from the paragraph of the affidavit … (Interruptions)
Then the Supreme Court says: … (Interruptions) Mr. Jaitley has no objection … (Interruptions) What has been stated in this paragraph. … after taking into account the stand of State of Uttar Pradesh ….. It may, therefore, be taken as a representation to the court on which ….

Madam, a promise was made to the National Integration Council; a promise was made to the Supreme Court; and a promise was made to the Government of India. But every single promise was broken by the leader of the BJP, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and the black day occurred in the history of India. … (Interruptions)

Now, why does the Commission have to go into who the Sangh Parivar is? We know who the Sangh Parivar is. … (Interruptions) It was led to believe that the RSS is a non-political organization; that the BJP is an independent organization; that the VHP is purely a religious organization; and that the Bajrang Dal is an organization of young people.… (Interruptions)  These are the canards which are spread everyday. Everyday people spread the canards. The Commission went into the matter and asked, `who are these people, how did they get-together, how did they work together? So, this is the conclusion. I am quoting from paragraph 120.9 “There cannot be any dispute that the RSS is the major single largest important constituent of the Sangh Parivar. It is also accepted that the Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of VHP and Dharam Sansad and the Kendriya Marg Darshak Mandal sponsored by VHP though were portrayed as independent bodies. Similarly, Paramhans Ramchander Dass and Mulayam Singh Yadav accepted that all the members of the Sangh Parivar contested elections on the BJP tickets and become legislators of BJP party.”

… (Interruptions) I know the conclusion. … (Interruptions) It is obvious that promises held out by the BJP were completely false and made with the sole intention of misleading the Central Government and the entire country. …

(Interruptions) Let the House know that the promises held out by the BJP were completely false and made with the sole intention of misleading the Central Government and the entire country. … (Interruptions) The promises were made to secure the inaction of the Central Government and to induce it into a state of over optimistic slumber. The only other explanation possible is that the BJP itself was ineffective and inconsequential part of the larger picture. … (Interruptions) It neither has the means nor the authority nor even the influence within the Sangh Parivar to alter the course ordained. … (Interruptions) If accepted, this would further strengthen the impression that the BJP was a frontal organization and the convenient false face projected to address the more moderate sections within society and the Government. … (Interruptions) This is about your Party. … (Interruptions) I have not completed my speech yet. … (Interruptions) Some more things are coming. … (Interruptions) Madam, what is the situation? What position lies with the Supreme Court, lies with the Central Government than to create a situation in which, unfortunately, the Government of the day made a strong political judgment? Looking back I could say that it is a non-political judgment. Late Shri P. V. Narasimha Rao paid price for making that judgment and the Congress Party paid a price for that political judgment. But the fact is that non-political judgment induced by ……and false promises were made by the BJP. … (Interruptions) Now, what were the organizations that were there were doing? … (Interruptions)
 I quote from paragraph 41.68: “Intelligence agencies reported that the Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena were vying with each other for the “fame” of blowing up the disputed structure and this fact was within the knowledge of the VHP. The Shiv Sainiks and VHP cadres were practicing archery under the tutelage of Krishna Kumar Pandey. The Shiv Sena cadres swore on oath at Saryu River to demolish the disputed structure in the presence of local leaders and Vinay Katiyar etc.”
  : Is it not a fact that the Bajrang Dal cadres, the VHP cadres were practising archery, doing rehearsals to demolish the disputed structure in the presence of the local leaders?… (Interruptions) Intelligence agencies reported that the Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena were vying with each other for the “fame” of blowing up the disputed structure and this fact was within the knowledge of the VHP. … (Interruptions) The Shiv Sainiks and the VHP cadres were practicing archery under the tutelage of Krishna Kumar Pandey.… (Interruptions) The Shiv Sena cadres swore an oath at Saryu river to demolish the disputed structure in the presence of local leaders and Vijay Katiyar, etc..… (Interruptions) Can you deny that they were practising archery?… (Interruptions) Can you deny the VHP cadres were practicing archery under the tutelage of Krishna Kumar Pandey?… (Interruptions) The Governor of Uttar Pradesh sent his assessment about the prevailing situation in Ayodhya.… (Interruptions) He sent the report saying that the prevailing situation was pregnant with threat to the disputed structure. However, the Governor is right that he advised against the imposition of President‟s Rule. … Slogans were raised against the Muslim population. (Interruptions) A small selection of the slogans which became extremely popular and were regularly heard during the campaign at Ayodhya during Karseva, especially in December were these. … (Interruptions) Slogans were raised against the Muslim population. … (Interruptions) Please listen to the slogans. What were the slogans used? These were the slogans used… (Interruptions) I want to quote the slogans. These slogans were raised. … (I nterruptions) These were the slogans raised which slogans you are raising now. … (Interruptions)
Are you a responsible political party? Will these slogans do justice to the Founding Fathers of India? Do these slogans raise India‟s esteem?… (Interruptions) The Chief Minister Shri Kalyan Singh, once again and in writing ordered against use of any firearms specifically on the 6th of December, 1992.… (Interruptions) This is the conclusion in the Report. The Liberhan Commission concludes thus: “The Commission is of the considered opinion that the security apparatus was non-existent in Ayodhya on the 6th of December, 1992. The police and other personnel deployed had been bound down into an ineffective role and had specific instructions against any substantive action. They were to ensure that the Government achieved its electoral manifesto. The State administration was there to appease the political executive by helping it in consolidating their hold on the general public.” This was what happened.… (Interruptions)

I would now come to the role of the BJP leaders. I have great respect for Shri Vajpayee.… (Interruptions) He was not there on that day.… (Interruptions) He was there on the previous day.… (Interruptions) He made a speech on the 5th December.… (Interruptions) I have got a copy of that speech.… (Interruptions) I have an English translation of it.… (Interruptions) As usual, he delivered the speech and after that, he left Ayodhya.… (Interruptions) That was what happened on the 6th of December? Shri L.K. Advani and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi reached Ayodhya at midnight on the 5th Decmber, 1992, escorted by Anju Gupta and stayed at Janki Mahal Trust.… (Interruptions)The Commissioner, the DIG Faizabad, the District Magistrate and the SSP, Faizabad, all the four top officers called upon them and were assured by Shri L.K. Advani and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi that a peaceful Karseva would be carried out.… (Interruptions) Then, Shri L.K. Advani and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi assured that they would ensure that things happened peacefully – a promise made by Shri L.K. Advani and Dr. Murli Manohar Josh..  Shri L.K. Advani and others met at the residence of Shri Vinay Katiyar before proceeding to the disputed structure. Sarvashri Vinay Katiyar, L.K. Advani, M.M. Joshi. Ashok Singhal, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambara and others were also present there and there is nothing on record to indicate whether it was a formal meeting or otherwise. I will ask Shri Advani and Shri Murli Manohar Joshi to tell us what happened in that breakfast meeting on the 6th December, 1992. What did you talk? What did you discuss? Tell us. Why are you not telling the House? What did you discuss on the morning of 6th December, 1992 when you met in the house of Shri Vinay Katiyar? (Interruptions) You had breakfast there and you went to that place. What did you discuss there and what did you decide? … (Interruptions)

The previous day, you promised the police officers, you promised the Additional Magistrate that you will ensure that everything goes off peacefully. … (Interruptions) Finally, what did you discuss there? Let the nation know it, you tell us. Paramhans Ramchander Dass admitted in his statement and have sworn that provocative slogans were raised on the 6th of December. I admire Paramhans Ramchander Dass. At least, even if his convictions are wrong, he had the courage of conviction to admit it. … (Interruptions) Even if his views are wrong, he had the courage to own up. Even if his slogans are dangerous, he had the courage to admit that he raised those slogans.  There is only one thing. They went there with the sole intention of destroying the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid structure. … (Interruptions) Madam, the Commission comes to the conclusion in paragraph 126.12 which says: “There is sufficient and believable evidence on the record including the statements of Ram Kirpal and Mark Tully etc. that provocative speeches were delivered by Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambra, Paramhans Ramchander Dass, Acharya Dharmendra Dev, B.L. Sharma, Ashok Singhal and Vinay Katiyar, Vamdev, Swami Chinmayanand, Mahant Avaidyanath etc.” There is enormous evidence on record. If you do not want to read the evidence, God only can save you. … (Interruptions) But there is enormous evidence on record that provocative statements were made there. Recording of those speeches were freely made available and used to be played in most of the shops. Karsevaks were drawing pleasure in making the journalists say, “Jai Shri Ram”. Militancy was writ large among the Karsevaks. Paramhans Ramchander Dass admitted having announced on the public address system, “demolish the structure, you will not get such an opportunity”. This is the finding. Can you deny this? … (Interruptions) Ms. Anju Gupta was the Personal Security Officer to Shri Lal Krishna Advani. … (Interruptions) Ms. Anju Gupta, a lady officer, was appointed as the Personal Security Officer to Shri Advani in Ayodhya. … (Interruptions)

Anju Gupta stated that entry of the Police Control Room was quite open, there was crowd pressure from both sides of the barricade… (Interruptions) The crowd present on the pandal at the construction site near Shesh Avtar Mandir needed to be regulated… (Interruptions) There was no physical barricading
between Ram Dewar… (Interruptions) and outside of it, which provided… (Interruptions) easy scaling of the walls en masse, and entry to the premises. There was no streamlining of the crowd towards the Chabutra and from there to the exit on the western side gate, which made the entire ground open and available, for thousands of peoples to come in suddenly and occupy… (Interruptions) There were no security personnel on the roof of the domes of the structure preventing the Kar Sewaks from demolishing it. There was no crowd examination challenging the facts stated by Anju Gupta, the Security Officer of Shri L.K. Advani, on the fateful day. There is no reason to disbelieve her on these facts since she had unrestricted access… (Interruptions) as the Security Officer attached to Shri L.K. Advani… (Interruptions) to all the happenings and overall scenario in the Ram Janam Bhoomi- Babri Masjid Complex. N.C. Padhi stated that the police allowed the public meeting in the vicinity of the vulnerable object, with their hands tied and… (Interruptions) in view of the order not to fire on the Kar Sewaks by the order of the Chief Minister… (Interruptions) Sushma Ji wanted evidence. This is evidence. Anju Gupta is evidence… (Interruptions) N.C. Padhi is evidence… (Interruptions) Ram Chandra Paramhans is evidence. This evidence is… (Interruptions) What was happening that day? This is the most important part, Madam. At about noon, 12 o‟clock, a teenage Kar Sewak vaulted onto the dome and thereby signaled the breaking of the outer cordon. Other Kar Sewaks wielding pickaxes, hammers, iron-rods and shovels started scaling the Ram Dewar and over the barriers of the outer, inner and isolation cordons, from the east, west and south directions.

Madam, I ask where do the pick-axes come from? Where do the hammers come from? Where do the iron-rods come from? Where do the shovels come from? In a tremendous team-work they carried them… (Interruptions) I will

show later, they helped them carried them. They paid them money to get this and carried to the place. They stormed the disputed structure. The police deployed at the spot… (Interruptions) Please listen to this. The police deployed at the spot gave their canes and shields to the Kar Sewaks who brandished them openly. The police lathis and the police shields were given to the Kar Sewaks and the Kar Sewaks started marching towards… (Interruptions) This is very important. The Kar Sewaks‟ assault on the disputed structure started at 12.15 p.m. They first entered the Garba Griha, carefully took away the idols and cash box, etc. to a safe place. The idols and the cash box were taken to a safe place. Then they started breaking the dome and started breaking the upper plaster of the dome with hammers. In fact the demolition was accomplished by smashing holes inside the walls. Ropes were inserted through these holes in the walls under the domes, the walls were pulled down with these ropes bringing down the domes as well… (Interruptions) It is very important. The structure was not brought down by the Kar Sewaks on the domes, the structure was brought down by digging a hole in the dome, putting the ropes to the hole and pulling the dome down with the ropes… (Interruptions) It was shameful, pre-planned, conspiratorial, wanton, cold-blooded destruction of the property which they promised they would protect… (Interruptions) L.K. Advani, M.M. Joshi, Ashok Singhal, Vijayaraje Scindia, H.V. Sheshadri who were present at the Ram Katha Kunj made feeble requests to the Kar Sewaks to come down from the disputed structure either in an earnest or for the media‟s benefit. … (Interruptions) One could have reasonably perceived that the demolition of the disputed structure was not possible from the top of the domes.

No request was made to Karsevaks, not to enter the Garb Grah or not to demolish from inside under the domes. No request was made. The selected act of the leaders itself speaks about the hidden intention of one and all being to accomplish the demolition of the disputed structure. What does the Commission conclude? This charade by these leaders at the instance of L.K. Advani is in stark contradiction to their own prior conduct and their public posture, incitement and exhortations to the crowd to build a temple in place of the disputed structure. The demolition of the structure was unavoidable for the construction of a temple. They had to demolish the structure to construct the temple. Therefore, they demolished the structure. The idols and cash box removed to safe places were brought back to their original place at 7 p.m. The construction of a temporary makeshift temple commenced at 7.30 p.m..
. Even though the Chief Minister was informed about this, he gave a written order not to resort to firing under any circumstances and to take any other measure. The Magistrate ordered in writing for the forces to turn back at 2.25 p.m. The Magistrate told the forces to go back at 2.25 p.m. The police and the administration was a mute spectator. Their loyalty to the political masters was writ large. Listen to Shri Kalyan Singh‟s reaction: “It was like a badly inflated balloon that burst.” Babri Masjid structure, according to Shri Kalyan Singh, was a badly inflated balloon which burst. He further says: “All other political parties are to be blamed for frustration of Karsevaks. They should arrest me because after all I fulfilled one of the major objectives of our Party and have redeemed the Party‟s election manifesto.” This is what Shri Kalyan Singh said.

Where is Sushma ji? There is no doubt at all, from the evidence and testimony before the Commission that the Sangh Parivar, especially the Bajrang Dal, RSS, VHP, BJP and Shiv Sena cadres created circumstances consistently over a period of a decade which ultimately resulted in the events of December 6th, 1992. Sushma ji, there is an evidence. Where is she? I want her to read the evidence. It stood established before me beyond reasonable doubt that the Joint Common Enterprise was a pre-planned act for demolition under the immediate leadership of Vinay Katiyar, Paramhans Ramchander Dass, Ashok Singhal, Champat Rai, Swami Chinmayanand, S.C. Dixit, B.P. Singhal and Acharya Giriraj. They were the local leaders on the spot and the executors of the plan conceived by the RSS. The plan was conceived by the RSS. The other leaders cannot be absolved of their vicarious liability and were willing collaborators playing the roles assigned to them by the RSS. Their informed support for the Ayodhya campaign, fortified by their physical presence during the grand finale of the prolonged campaign is irrefutably established.

 I conclude that the BJP, VHP, Shiv Sena and their office bearers as named in this report, in connivance with Kalyan Singh, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh entered into a Joint Common Enterprise for the purpose of demolition of the disputed structure and the construction of temple in its place … (Interruptions) Friends, what is your answer to this conclusion? Let us debate it. Come along. I will give you another opportunity to debate it. What is your answer to this conclusion? … (Interruptions)

It was openly asserted and commonly accepted that the pre-partition Jan Sangh was the political wing of RSS. The Jan Sangh, later, was renamed as the Bharatiya Janata Party. Though some of the leaders have tried to claim that the BJP and RSS are independent organizations, in another part of this Report, the Commission has dealt with the question and concluded that they are functionally, if not legally, intertwined and inseparable. RSS and BJP are intertwined and inseparable. The admission by Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhya, in no uncertain terms, in his books that he was deputed by the RSS to organize the Bharatiya Jan Sangh is a clear indicator of this relationship. Even on date, the RSS Office bearers, Swayam Sewaks are deputed by RSS to carry out the work of BJP; the top echelon of the BJP leadership is pre-dominantly from the RSS and they are guided by its thoughts and philosophy in governance. The RSS has considerable influence on the leadership not only of BJP but also on the other allied organizations participating in the temple construction movement or which have Hinduism as their objective. Using its sweeping influence over the organizers and the institutions participating, the RSS controlled every aspect of the Ayodhya movement. Despite the attempts made to distance the RSS or BJP from the movement by attributing the movement to the VHP or the dharam sansad, I have concluded that all the other members of the Sangh Pariwar are merely frontal organizations of RSS deputed to working in different fields. There was no illusion in the minds of a common man that RSS or the VHP were either different or distant from the BJP, or that their objectives were not identical. … (Interruptions)

 Madam, in conclusion, let me say the horrendous consequences of 6th December, 1992 resulted in riots and doom. From December 1992 to January, February, March 1993, in all 2,019 people were killed in a matter of three months and 7,786 people were injured in a matter of three months… (Interruptions) Hindus were killed. Muslims were killed. People belonging to other faiths were killed. Police men were killed. The violence that was unleashed by the horrendous crime of 6th December 1992 continues to divide our country even today.… (Interruptions)

I would have thought, after the Liberhan Commission‟s Report, after this debate, there will be shame, remorse and contriteness. Unfortunately, the civilized discourse in our country seems to have bid good bye to shame, remorse and contriteness. RSS and the Sangh Parivar have no shame, no remorse, no contriteness and continue to divide the country.… (Interruptions)

Madam, let me conclude by saying that there are two ideas in India. One is the idea of India represented by the Congress and all other secular parties. And the other is the idea of India represented by the divisive politics of the BJP. I am sorry to quote from an article I wrote many months ago.… (Interruptions) But I want to quote this.

Jawaharlal Nehru once said, “India is like an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written. ” There are two ideas of India. This is the first time the BJP, an Indian political party, openly adopted a divisive and an extreme agenda. The question then that everyone‟s mind was, “will it succeed”? Apparently, it succeeded. It succeeded in 1998.… (Interruptions) The first real test over the division of Bengal… (Interruptions) for ever from India came in 2004. In 2004, the Congress Party put across another idea of India where India must be an inclusive nation.
India must celebrate its diversity. All Indians must be encouraged to develop an Indian identity even when they are proud of their respective language or religion. This is an idea that India is a nation where no one valley, no one institution … (Interruptions) will dominate over others. The two ideas of India clashed in 2004. What did the people vote for? Forget the conclusion of Justice Liberhan. Forget the indictment of Justice Liberhan.

In 2004 when the two ideas of India – one led by the BJP in power with the Prime Minister, with the Deputy Prime Minister, with the entire State establishment put forward an idea of India of a divisive agenda; the other of the Congress Party and the secular parties put forward an idea of India, of an inclusive India. The people of India voted for our idea. The people of India rejected you. The judgement of the people of India is greater than the judgement of Justice Liberhan. Justice Liberhan‟s is a Commission. The people of India are our ultimate masters. They rejected you. They rejected you in 2004. When you went to them in 2009, they rejected you in 2009 also.

Madam, let me conclude by saying only one idea will clearly prevail, that is the idea of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Dr. Ambedkar. India will be an inclusive nation. India will be a plural nation. In India no idea will dominate another idea. No institution will dominate another institution. We have brought together our idea of India. Our idea of India will prevail. Jai Hind.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Should we move beyond Bhopal?

Beware of Fatal Accidents

Lives of thousands of workers and citizens in danger because of poisonous gas. Spurt of accidents in the factory, safey measures deficient.

This was the text [translated from Hindi] of a poster put up by Workers Union of the Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal in October 1982, 2 years before the gruesome Bhopal Gas tragedy of Decemeber 1984.

Why such a warning was given by the workers?

A series of accidents were happening in Union Carbide factory in Bhopal.
In December 1981 a phosgene leak injured three workers; one of the workers died the next day. Two weeks later in January 1982, 24 workers were overcome by another phosgene leak. In February 1982 an MIC leak affected 18 people. In August 1982 a chemical engineer came into contact with liquid MIC resulting in burns over 30% of his body. And in October 1982 a combined MIC, hydrochloric acid and chloroform leak injured three workers in the plant and affected a number of residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Since 1976 the two unions representing Bhopal workers had frequently complained to Union Carbide management and the Madhya Pradesh authorities, including the Factory Inspectorate, about safety and health hazards in the plant.

In an April 13, 1982, letter to the Minister of Labour of Madhya Pradesh, the Union wrote:

Our unit is going to celebrate the safety week from the 14th of April, 1982. But the workers would like to inform you that this function is merely a window-display... we would also like point out that our unit is manufacturing dangerous chemicals like phosgene , carbon monoxide, methyl iscocyanate, BHC, naphtha and temik.

How effective was the safety systems in Bhopal factory at the time of the disaster?
The Bhopal plant had four major safety systems designed to prevent or neutralize an uncontrolled MIC reaction:

(1) A 30 ton refrigeration unit to cool stored MIC, in order to prevent it from vaporizing or reacting;
The 30 ton refrigeration unit had been shut down since June 1984. There were no mechanical problems with the system; it was taken out of service to save money. The Freon refrigerant had been drained out for use elsewhere in the plant . The shutdown was in violation of established operating procedures

(2) A vent gas scrubber (VGS) to neutralize toxic gases with caustic soda in the event of a release;
The vent gas scrubber (VGS) was turned off in October, 1984, apparently because someone thought it was not necessary when MIC was only being stored and not produced. In addition, the caustic flow indicator was malfunctioning, so it would have been difficult to verify whether the unit was operating or not

(3) A flare tower to burn vented gases from the MIC storage tanks and other equipment; and
The flare had also been out of service since mid-October. A section of corroded pipe leading to it had been removed even though replacement pipe was not ready.the company had compromised the reliability of the flare tower even before it was disconnected. The tower was originally built with a backup set to fuel gas cylinders to ensure that the pilot light stayed on. However, the backup system was discontinued to save money.

(4) A water spray system to knock down escaping vapors.
The water spray system which was activated the night of the accident did not reach the level of the gas release, and was therefore useless. In 1982, Union Carbide Corporation, after inspecting the Bhopal facility, had recommended a new, larger water spray system, but it was never installed.

At the time of the accident  three of these systems were not operating. Only the water spray worked though ineffectively.

 Under staffed to cut Costs
At the time of the accident, the Bhopal plant, including the MIC facility, was operating with reduced manpower.  The plant had been losing money, and in 1983 and 1984 there were more personnel reductions in order to cut costs. Some worker were laid off and 150 permanent worker were pooled and assigned to jobs as needed. The employees were often assigned to jobs they were not qualified to do.
In the MIC facility the production crew had been cut from 12 (11 operators, 1 supervisor) to 6 (5 operators.1 supervisor), and the maintenance crew reduced from 6 to 2. According to the workers, the maintenance supervisor position on the second and third shifts had been cut on November 26, less than a week before accident. With reference to maintenance work and giving instructions for the job, the workers indicated that it would have been the responsibility of the maintenance supervisor to prepare the pipe which was being flushed with water the night of December 2, 1984, including to prevent the entry of water into the pipes leading to tank 610.Entry of water used for flushing of pipes into MIC storage tank 610 was the primary reason for the tragedy.

Why Bhopal disaster?

The Bhopal disaster was caused by a combination of factors, including the long term storage of MIC in the plant, the potentially undersized vent gas scrubber, the shutdown of the MIC refrigeration units, the use of the backup tank to store contaminated MIC, the company's failure to repair the flare tower, leaking valves, broken gauges, and cuts in manning levels, crew sizes, workers training, and skilled supervision. The accident might have been prevented if UCC had done more to follow up its 1982 safety inspection, or of UCIL or the government had heeded the complaints of unions representing Bhopal workers. The effects of the accident were exacerbated by the company's failure to provide adequate information to its subsidiary, authorities and community residents, the siting of the plant close to residential areas, and UCIL'S lack of disaster planning.

Many especially in the Corporate World and Government feel that it is time to move beyond Bhopal. But can we really move beyond the World's worst Industrial tragedy?

The chilling statistics of a continuing tragedy [from]

More than 8,000 people killed due to exposure to the lethal gasses in the immediate aftermath of the disaster

 More than 500,000 people exposed to the poison gasses left to suffer a lifetime of ill health and mental trauma
The death toll has since risen to more than 20,000 people
 Nearly 30 people continue to die from exposure-related illnesses every month
At least 1,50,000 people, including children born to gas-exposed parents, suffer debilitating exposure-related health effects

Tons of poisonous pesticides and other hazardous wastes lying scattered and abandoned in the DOW-Carbide factory premises, insidiously poisoning the ground water and contaminating the land

A meagre life time compensation of 25000 Rs awarded to survivors and many still to get it 25 years after the tragedy.

 The specific items which caused the tragedy and the specific way they came together on the night of December 2, 1984, were unique. But the underlying causes are not unique:

Corporate greed,undercutting on safety to cut losses or increase profit,lack of Government monitoring of safety requirements, lack of  disaster management plans etc etc are not unique to Bhopal. It is there everywhere in present day India.

India has not learnt much from Bhopal. Our environmental and occupational safety regulations are still very lax. Corporates rule our Parliament,media and Governments.  Our Legal system is far behind in punishing Corporate crimes and ensuring accountability.We lag very much in our ability to cope with such grave emergencies.We are still very pathetic in rehabilitating the victims of such disaster

Unless better  regulations are written and strictly monitored by management  as well as by local. regional, and national Governments, the next Industrial disaster or a similar crime due to Corporate greed is just around the corner.

Industrial Development should promote human survival,not death.

Sources and links
the guardian

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A very 'Positive' news from Pakistan

Cricket is the national sport in Pakistan as it is in India, but what makes the First Positive Cricket Team stand out from all the other Karachi-based clubs is that its members are all HIV positive.

The team was put together a year ago by the Pakistan Society, an NGO working for the rights of people living with HIV. They played -- and won -- their first match in August, and haven't looked back.

Dr. Saleem Azam, president of the Pakistan Society, told CNN, "Every time they play the players have a boost physically, emotionally and psychologically, and they feel a lot better."

Azam says that there is a considerable stigma in Pakistan surrounding HIV/AIDS and he hopes the team can help combat discrimination towards HIV sufferers.

"People assume the team must be very sick-looking, like walking skeletons, but when they see them playing and winning matches they have to think again," said Azam.

"We've given them a very strong message that having HIV does not mean you must retire from life and become helpless. You can have HIV and live a very happy life if you take your antiretroviral treatment regularly.

When the team won handsomely, leaving their opponents and the fans amazed that HIV-positive players could be so active - one of the team members was asked whether antiretroviral medication was also a form of performance-enhancing drugs.

"The stigma is the worst consequence of this illness, so it will be the greatest service to people with HIV if we are able to help them overcome this stigma. The change is coming, but it's very, very slow."

While changing attitudes takes time, Azam says the team has already built bridges between the players and their estranged families. He told CNN that some players who had been ostracized by their families were now back in contact with them, with one family requesting to travel to matches with the team.

First Positive has already played a match in Hyderabad, about 200 km (125 miles) from Karachi, and next month they will take to the road for two more matches, which will see them spread their message elsewhere in the country.

"This is how the team will be known the country over," said Azam.

"People will come to know more and more about the team, and I hope eventually they will be successful in combating this stigma and discrimination."

Abdul Lateef is captain of the FPCT. He contracted HIV six years ago and told CNN that the team is helping to change others' attitudes towards people with HIV.

"We are reaching the minds of the people," he said.

"Everybody thinks there are things that HIV positive people cannot do. We have shown we can play and we have proved to everybody we can do anything they can do."

We are thankful that the authorities were so cooperative with us, and provided us with the space that was needed for the match without any discriminatory attitude. Rather, their attitude was positive and encouraging," said Azhar Hussain Magsi, a manager at the Pakistan Society.
"More matches are scheduled to take place all over Pakistan in the coming weeks ... We are also having talks with other NGOs in India, and look forward to having an international HIV-positive cricket match.

Having personally witnessed the wonders that anti retro viral therapy can produce in many patients, I cannot think a better way of illustrating the fact that HIV/AIDS is treatable and HIV positive patients are as human as we all are than the site of a 'Positive' cricket team winning a match against the 'negative' team on the cricket field.

.An India-Pakistan cricket match between HIV positive players!!!
 That will be a great event.

adapted from
Aids Portal