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Villagers demonstrate before Bihar Chief Minister against construction of asbestos factory

Written By Krishna on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 | 4:47 AM

PRESS RELEASE

Villagers demonstrate before Bihar Chief Minister against construction
of asbestos factory

Memorandum demands stoppage of asbestos factory in Vaishali and
withdrawal of fake cases, presents Patna Declaration for asbestos free
India

Patna January 16, 2013: Struggle of villagers of Vaishali’s Chaksultan
Rampur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of in
Goraul block against asbestos based factory in Vaishali reached Patna
today to demonstrate before the Chief Minister. The villagers marched
from Vaishali to Patna as part of their ongoing agitation against the
construction of hazardous plant. Villagers have been protesting
against this lung cancer causing hazardous plant under the banner of
Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangharsh Committee (KBJBJC) for more
than 2 years. They submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister
demanding immediate stoppage of work at the proposed factory site of
West Bengal based Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company. The memorandum
sought the withdrawal of three fake cases lodged in Mahua Thana,
Vaihsali.

After the villagers Mahadharna of June 14, 2012, the district
administration had put a stay on the construction of the factory. When
the construction started again on December 16, 2012, the villagers
blocked the Mahua-Samastipur road for 9 hours to express their protest
against the proposed white asbestos plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited
(UAL) company in their village on June 14. Cancer causing white
asbestos also called chrysotile asbestos is banned in 55 countries.

It is noteworthy that "The Government of India is considering the ban
on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect the workers and the
general population against primary and secondary exposure to
Chrysotile form of Asbestos." This has been revealed in a concept
paper by Union Ministry of Labour revealed during 19-20th September,
2011. The resolutions of WHO and ILO in 2005 and 2006 have called for
the elimination of asbestos. These are incurable diseases yet Bihar
Govt is promoting it under the influence of UAL.

In India, mining of asbestos is technically banned but its import from
other countries is yet to be banned. Trade in asbestos (dust & fibers)
is also banned.  In the absence of environmental and occupational
health infrastructure, the passivity of the state governments cannot
be deemed acceptable given the fact that health is a State subject.
Bihar Govt to take immediate steps to set a healthy precedent for all
the other states, the central government and neighboring countries.

The shady designs of the UAL company against the villagers and
protesters to protect its hazardous plant at the cost of villagers’
health was condemned by the speakers who spoke at the demonstration.
In a dubious move, the UAL has filed case no. 252/2012, 509/2012 and
510/2012 to silence the voice of public interest persons. This appears
to be done to trap villagers into concocted cases as part of company’s
design to malign the movement of the KBJBJC. The memorandum sought the
withdrawal of three fake cases lodged in Mahua Thana, Vaihsali.

Asbestos Virodhi Nagrik Manch, Patna and left and socialist parties
participated in the demonstration to express solidarity with the
villagers struggle against the asbestos based factory of Utkal
Asbestos Limited. Demonstration included Priyadarshi of Jansangharsh
Vahini, Satya Narain Singh, former MLA and member, State Secretariat,
Communist Party of India (CPI), President CPIM’s Kisan Sabha Lallan
Chaudhary, State Secretary, SUCI (C) Shiv Shankar, CPIL (ML)
Liberation’s K D Yadav, Arvind Sinha of CPIL (ML), Forward Block’s
Amerika Mahto, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, MCPI (U)’s Vijay Kumar
Chaudhary, CCI’s Satish, Krantikari Forward Block’s Balmukund Singh.
Trade union leaders like Shri Gajnafar Nawab, AITUC, Shri Ganesh
Singh, CITU, Shri Arun Kumar Singh, President, All India United Trade
Union Centre (AIUTUC), Bihar and Shri Nand Kishor Singh, All India
Federation of Trade Unions (New) who have expressed support for the
villagers struggle and members of National Alliance of Peoples
Movements (NAPM) Mahendra, Ashish Ranjan and Gopal Krishna of
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) also participated in the demonstration.

CPIL (ML) Liberation’s K D Yadav raised the issue of three asbestos
plants in Bhojpur’s Giddha and Bihiya. In Giddha, UAL is operating the
asbestos based plant of Tamil Nadu based Nibhi Industries Ltd on
lease. The plant is situated behind a B Ed College. The villagers are
protesting against this plant. In Bihiya, Tamil Nadu based Ramco
Industries is operating two asbestos plants amidst protests from
villagers. Memorandum has been submitted to the District
administration in this regard. The struggle against asbestos plants of
Vaishali and Bhojpur is one and must be fought in an united manner.

The leaders expressed support for villagers’ movement against asbestos
factories and they termed such toxic factories as anti-people and
anti-public health which must be banned as per the recommendations of
the WHO. The demonstration was organized by Ajeet Kumar Singh,
Asheshar Sharma, Sanjay Kumar Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangharsh
Committee (KBJBJC) and Ramgovind Rai, former Mukhiya.

Dr Satyajit Singh, Senior Urologist, Dr. Ruban Group of Hospitals &
Vice- President, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development underlined
that villagers protest against the asbestos factory has a scientific
and medical basis. Earlier, at a conference on environmental and
occupational health on December 24, 2012, in his address to the health
experts, scientists, trade union leaders, academicians, civil society
leaders and villagers, Chairman, Bihar Legislative Council declared
that buying asbestos is akin to buying cancer. The conference also
adopted a Patna Declaration urging State of Bihar to ban Asbestos
Product Use and to ban Asbestos Product Use. The Declaration was
submitted to the Chief Minister along with the 12 page Memorandum.

At this Patna conference, former consultant of World Health
Organisation (WHO), Dr Barry Castleman disclosed that asbestos-related
lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from exposures “can
only be prevented by adopting alternatives of asbestos. It is
estimated that several thousands of deaths can be attributed annually
to exposure to asbestos in the living environment.” He said, “Asbestos
companies indulging in corporate crimes”. Justice (Retd) Rekha Kumari,
Patna High Court observed that companies which willfully expose human
beings to cancer causing fibers of asbestos must be made criminally
liable because right to health is part of right to life.

The memorandum demanded: 1) White asbestos based plant should be
closed in public interest keeping public health in mind, 2) Register
case against the management of Utkal Asbestos company sought for
hatching a conspiracy against villagers and protesters and 3) Dismiss
fake case registered by Utkal Management which has fraudulently
claimed fertile land as barren to set up the asbestos factory plant.
Human biology is the same everywhere. If it is carcinogenic for over
50 countries, how Indians can be deemed immune from its adverse
effects.

For Details: Ajit Kr Singh, Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangharsh
Committee (KBJBJC), Vaishali, Mb: 08002903995, E-mail:
ajeetsinghpushkar@gmail.com

Note: Case No. 509/2012 has been filed in the Mahuwa Police Station,
Vaishali, Bihar under Sections 147, 148, 149, 342, 323, 307, 332, 379,
380, 114, 504 and 427 on December 16, 2013 against Gopal Krishna and
several villagers. Section 307 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 is a
non-bailable Section. Section 307 deals with Attempt to murder.
"Whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge, and under such
circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty
of murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description
for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to
fine; and, if hurt is caused to any person by such act, the offender
shall be liable either to 1*[imprisonment for life], or to such
punishment as is herein before mentioned."

Case No. 510/2012 has also been filed against several villagers.
Copies of the FIR are attached.

The rest of the charges against me and villagers are as under:

Section 147 deal with Punishment for rioting. It reads: Whoever is
guilty of rioting, shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or
with both.

Section 148. Rioting, armed with deadly weapon.--Whoever is guilty of
rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon or with anything which, used
as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, shall be punished
with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to
three years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 149. Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence
committed in prosecution of common object. Every member of unlawful
assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common
object.--If an offence is committed by any member of an unlawful
assembly in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, or such
as the members of that assembly knew to be likely to be committed in
prosecution of that object, every person who, at the time of the
committing of that offence, is a member of the same assembly, is
guilty of that offence.

Section 342. Punishment for wrongful confinement.--Whoever wrongfully
confines any person shall be punished with simple imprisonment of
either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with
fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Section 323. Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt. 323. Punishment
for voluntarily causing hurt.--Whoever, except in the case provided
for by section 334, voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one
year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with
both.

Section 332. Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his
duty. 332. Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his
duty.--Whoever voluntarily causes hurt to any person being a public
servant in the discharge of his duty as such public servant, or with
intent to prevent or deter that person or any other public servant
from discharging his duty as such public servant, or in consequence of
anything done or attempted to be done by that person in the lawful
discharge of his duty as such public servant, shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to
three years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 379. Punishment for theft. 379. Punishment for theft.--Whoever
commits theft shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine,
or with both.

Section 380. Theft in dwelling house, etc. 380. Theft in dwelling
house, etc.--Whoever commits theft in any building, tent or vessel,
which building, tent or vessel is used as a human dwelling, or used
for the custody of property, shall be punished with imprisonment of
either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and
shall also be liable to fine.

Section 114. Abettor present when offence is committed. 114. Abettor
present when offence is committed.--Whenever any person who if absent
would be liable to be punished as an abettor, is present when the act
or offence for which he would be punishable in consequence of the
abetment is committed, he shall be deemed to have committed such act
or offence.

Section 504. Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the
peace. 504. Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the
peace.--Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation
to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such
provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any
other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or
with both.

Section 427. Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees.
427. Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees.-- Whoever
commits mischief and thereby causes loss or damage to the amount of
fifty rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or
with both.

Case No. 510/2012 has been filed under Section 143, 323, 332, 283,
427, 510 against Lalit Ghosh, Ravindra, Asheshar Sharma and several
others.
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