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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08MUMBAI359
2008-07-25 05:20:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Consulate Mumbai
Cable title:  

MUMBAI MASALA JULY 25, 2008: AGITATION IN GUJARAT, RBI TALKS

Tags:   PHUM  ECON  EFIN  PGOV  IN 
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RR RUEHAST RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHBI #0359/01 2070520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250520Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL MUMBAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6457
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 7694
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 1590
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MUMBAI 000359 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ECON EFIN PGOV IN
SUBJECT: MUMBAI MASALA JULY 25, 2008: AGITATION IN GUJARAT, RBI TALKS
ABOUT FINANCIAL INCLUSION AND MP HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

MUMBAI 00000359 001.2 OF 003


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MUMBAI 000359

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ECON EFIN PGOV IN
SUBJECT: MUMBAI MASALA JULY 25, 2008: AGITATION IN GUJARAT, RBI TALKS
ABOUT FINANCIAL INCLUSION AND MP HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

MUMBAI 00000359 001.2 OF 003



1. (U) Table of Contents:



-Agitation Against Hindu Spiritual Leader in Gujarat Turns
Violent

-RBI Talks about Financial Inclusion Developments

-Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission Describes Its Efforts





AGITATION AGAINST HINDU SPIRITUAL LEADER IN GUJARAT TURNS VIOLENT

-------------- --------------




2. (U) Led by the non-political civic group Jagega Gujarat
Sangharash Samiti (JGSS), fifteen social organisations, called
for "Gujarat bandh" (a general strike) on Monday, July 21st, to
protest against the July 5th mysterious deaths of two young boys
in the school run by Hindu spiritual leader Asaram Bapu who has
mass following in Gujarat. The Gujarat unit of the Congress
Party supported the bandh to demand transfer of the death
investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Security in Ahmadabad was tight in specific parts of the city,
including the homes of the two boys, to help prevent the bandh
from turning violent. No clashes between citizens were reported
during Monday's bandh. Businesses and schools throughout the
state and in most of Ahmadabad carried on as usual, but some
shops and schools in the city closed as a precautionary measure.
The state's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government ordered a
judicial probe by a retired high court judge, but the parents of
the deceased children are still demanding a CBI investigation.




3. (U) The deaths have pitted residents of Ahmadabad, Gujarat's
commercial capital, into pro-Bapu and anti-Bapu camps. The
parents allege that school leadership did not take the
disappearance of the boys seriously, nor inform the parents in
time. The father of one boy has been fasting in protest to the
lack of investigation. On July 17, the anti-Bapu residents
burned cars outside of the guru's school and pelted rocks at his
followers. In response, on July 18, his supporters attacked the
media, damaging equipment and injuring some journalists.

According to Ahmedabad police, the disturbances on the 18th were
localized, confined to a small section of Ahmedbabad. On July
19, journalists demanded an enquiry into the attack on them and
Gujarat BJP chief minister Narendra Modi acceded to that request
and the situation returned to normal.





RBI Talks About Financial Inclusion Developments

-------------- ---




4. (U) Sudarshan Sen, Chief General Manager, Department of
Banking Supervision (a supervisor to the commercial banks) at
RBI told Congenoffs that overseeing financial inclusion
activities of banks was a key priority for the central bank.
Apart from the public sector banks, institutions like ICICI,
Citibank, JP Morgan and Bank of America have been the front
runners in the financial inclusion plan, he cited. Such
institutions have realized that deposits are not the only
product desired by the masses; an array of products like
credit/loans, insurance, debit cards, credit cards needs to be
provided so as to facilitate their complete participation. He
noted that some banks like ICICI are using technological
innovations like hand held ATMs for routine transactions like
the disbursement of small amounts of cash and account balance
inquires in the rural areas.




5. (U) RC Sarangi, the General Manager from the same
department, proudly stated that they had achieved their first
step in the financial inclusion plan. At least one district
from each state is now formally included in the financial

MUMBAI 00000359 002.2 OF 003


system. He added that instead of setting up full-fledged
branches, many banks preferred to use a banking 'facilitator' or
a 'correspondent'. Thus banks could work with non-government
organizations (NGOs) and self-help groups to make access to
financial products easier.





Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission Describes its Efforts

-------------- --------------




6. (U) Whereas India's national human rights commission has
been held as a model for other countries, the Human Rights
Commission (HRC) for the state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) is held up
as a model for other states in India and conducts training to
assist other states. On July 18, Congenoffs met with officials
from the HRC who reviewed their programs.




7. (U) According to Vijay Chandra, deputy secretary of the MP
HRC, most of the nearly 15,000 cases filed with the Commission
last year were complaints related to illegal detentions and
failures of the police to register citizen's complaints of
crimes committed. The commission monitors police
investigations, especially cases where it is alleged that police
have falsified evidence or destroyed key evidence. In addition
to investigating the complaints, the Commission conducts
training workshops in the MP police training academy to educate
the police about their duty to mete out justice fairly and how
to interact with women suspects, witnesses or complainants to
avoid violating the rights of the women.




8. (U) The Commission has also undertaken a host of
investigations into women's rights, environmental rights, and
the right to health care and safe drinking water. One of the
Commission's major campaigns has been the effort to combat
female feticide. According to Chandra, while nationwide, there
were 931 female births per thousand male live births, per the
2001 census, for the whole of MP, the figure stands at 927
female births per 1,000 male births. However, in three MP
districts bordering Uttar Pradesh, the female to male sex ratio
at birth is as low as 800 to 830 per 1000 male births. The MP
HRC is trying to prevent female feticide in these districts by
conducting surprise visits on clinics and distribution of
awareness raising pamphlets to villagers. The state does not
have a vibrant civil society, so the HRC conducts most of these
efforts through its own volunteers, known as "Aaayog Mitras"
("Friends of the Commission"). These "Friends of the
Commission" are retired jurists, school-heads, or prominent
local lawyers or doctors.




9. (U) Justice D. M. Dharmadhikari, Chair of MP's Human Rights
Commission, a retired Supreme Court Justice, and Justice Azad
also met with Congenoff on July 18. They explained that MP's
HRC utilizes law school volunteers from across the country every
summer, each of whom undertakes a specific issue to investigate.
To assist the HRC in its educational campaigns, students are
asked to act as observers in police stations to identify why so
many people are having difficulties getting their complaints
registered. One notable study just being concluded is a
comparative study of public health delivery systems and
evaluating the best means to bring healthcare to the rural poor.
MP's HRC is also investigating the possible adverse health
implications of radiation from cell phone towers in
neighborhoods and of artificial coloring and additives in food.
The Commission's investigations on the right to education have
primarily focused on cases where someone was wrongly denied
admission to a university or where the institution sought to
exploit the student, demanding extra payments to secure
admission.




10. (U) Vijay Chandra, deputy secretary of the MP HRC said the
state has 3-4 districts where the rights of migrant workers and
migrants fleeing from the violence in Naxal-held areas of
neighboring Chhattisgarh are in jeopardy. The HRC's position is
that the government has the responsibility to ensure the safety

MUMBAI 00000359 003.2 OF 003


of all of its inhabitants. He said the state has the obligation
to find a permanent solution for those without shelter or
safety.




11. (U) The HRC does not rely upon the Right to Information Law
as it has direct access to government information. The justices
said they have found that the Law is widely misused by
disgruntled former employees and by media who want to
sensationalize issues.




12. (U) The Commission operated in Hindi since its inception,
the language of MP, but is now also trying to disseminate
information about its decisions and activities in English so
that their findings can be accessible to non-Hindi speaking
regions of India. The MP HRC is also trying to make its website
comprehensive and searchable. The Commission wants to acquire
reference materials such as law journals and Human Rights
treatises from other jurisdictions, such as the US and Europe,
to utilize in their own case analyses and for the law students
of Bhopal (Bhopal is the home to one of the 12 National Law
Universities established by special charter recently). Chairman
Dharmahikari said the Commission is hampered by the high cost of
such materials and internet access to those sources. He asked
if there was a way to obtain these materials for free or at
lower costs. Post's librarians are working to obtain
information on resources for the Commission.
FOLMSBEE