Monthly Meeting

We meet every 3rd Sunday from 11 AM to 1.30 PM at Upper Ashankur Hall , Holy Family Church , Andheri East.
Meet us there to join us!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CHARTER OF DEMANDS SUBMITTED Act against mobocracy, activsists tell top cop

Mumbai: A delegation of activists on Tuesday, presented a charter of demands to commissioner of police Hassan Gaffoor on Tuesday, against mobs taking the law into their hands.
The delegation comprising AGNI activists James John, Gerson da Cunha, former civic chief D M Sukhtankar, former top cop Julio Ribeiro and others, said most issues are being settled with increasing attacks on citizens. What’s

worse is that the politicians, powerbrokers and the police are mere spectators to the events, or sometimes, even the cause provocateurs. Citizens insisted on enforcement of the rule of law. “There should be greater collaboration between the people and the police in fighting elements perpetrating mobocracy,’’ said activist James John of the (AGNI) who was also the victim of one such attack by a mob. “In addition to the existing police stations, it would be good if there were special nodal offices that would take care of these incidents,’’ he added.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Activist beaten up by suspected MNS workers

VINDICATED: James John at the hospital

Activist James John paid the price for trying to collect evidence against alleged MNS workers who were forcing shop keepers to down their shutters. John, an activist with citizen’s group AGNI, was beaten up badly by five suspected MNS workers on his way back home on Wednesday evening at J B nagar, Andheri. Doctors at BSES Hospital in Andheri (W), where John was admitted, said, “He has broken two upper ribs and has sustained injuries on his lungs.” Ashok Pai, another AGNI activist and a close friend of John, said, “He was returning home from work around 6 pm. He saw five men forcing shop owners to close their shops. John started clicking pictures which the miscreants objected to.” James and his fellow activists from AGNI claim the five miscreants belonged to MNS and were creating havoc in the area to protest the arrest of their party chief. Police officers from Andheri Police station have recorded John’s statement. The officers say they will file an FIR once John is in a position to tell them what happened that day.

Trio arrested for attack on activist

ROWDIES IN COP NET: (From left) MNS workers Mahendra Dalvi and Kiran Jadhav at the Andheri court on Monday. They were arrested for assaulting AGNI activist James John

Mumbai: Three MNS workers have been arrested by the Andheri police in connection with the attack on AGNI activist James John earlier this month. John suffered three broken ribs. The arrested trio have been identified as Kiran Jadhav (20), Yogesh (27) and Mahendra Dalvi (25). All three are residents of Andheri (E). According to the police, the incident had occurred on February 13 at JB Nagar. In the wake of the inflammatory remarks made by MNS chief Raj Thackeray, his party workers were forcibly trying to shut shops in the area. John, who was returning to his Andheri residence, witnessed this and decided to take photographs on his camera. As soon as the men saw John taking pictures, they turned their ire towards him. A group of five men cornered John and manhandled him. Some of them even tried to delete his photographs, but John resisted. Later, John approached the Andheri police station and registered a complaint. He even handed over the photographs clicked by him to the police. “The Andheri police formed a special team and combed the entire area, looking for the suspects. Three of the accused persons were traced on Monday,’’ said senior inspector Pradeep Suryavanshi. “The arrested trio will be grilled for information on their associates. Some of those arrested even feature in photographs taken by John.’’ John had to be hospitalised following the attack. On Monday, he was summoned to the police station and identified the three arrested accused.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


— Bella Jaisinghani TNN

PLACE: Holy Family Junction, Chakala TIME: 2 pm Aflurry of activity erupted at Chakala soon after journos arrived around 1.00 pm. AGNI activists arrived and began slapping anti-honking stickers that read “Hornla sutti’’ and “Horn ko chhutti’’ on the rear of autorickshaws. “Carowners will not allow us to do that. Rickshaw drivers do not object much and, in any case, few own the vehicles they drive,’’ AGNI’s Ashok Pai said. Most bewildered rickshaw drivers — unaware of the campaign — drove away without protest but a few like Vilas Ligade forbade activists from pasting stickers because they would be tough to remove. “Only those who care for their vehicles know what it takes to keep it in shape,’’ Ligade said “But you must tell me why I should not blow the horn,’’ he said. Inspector Narayanrao Patil of the airport traffic division drove up in his car to oversee things. “The anti-honking campaign is timed to coincide with World Health Day so that people become aware that noise is injurious to health. Many of the 100-odd people we fined were upset. They said they had only sounded the horn because the driver in front had made a mistake or because a pedestrian got in the way. They complained that we allowed the ‘actual offender’ to go. But we have a job to do and we will keep at it.’’ Activists turned to move away as the media wrapped up its reportage and prepared to leave. But Chakala petrol station attendants made them pick up the bits of adhesive paper left over from the stickers before they left. FINE’S FAIR The airport traffic division fined 100 drivers till 2 pm. SOUND-BITES The problem motorists like me face is that the dipper or flashlight is not easily seen during day and so the only way to demand right of way is by blowing the horn. This is a city in a hurry. Stephen Fernandes 22-YEAROLD LOGISTICS PROFESSIONAL

Monday, April 7, 2008

This ‘mobocracy’ is quite enough,

Citizens are
frustrated with the
mob mentality of
local political
parties and ठुग्स

Ashutosh Shukla
Tired of the apathy by the city police and politicians towards the mob mentality of various political parties, citizens from different parts of the city got together and pledged to vote out any party
that uses, what they call “mob-ocracy” instead of democracy to justify their thoughts and feelings. The Sunday meeting in Andheri which was organized by 12 NGOs — including AGNI, Bombay Catholic
Sabha, CitiSpace, H West Ward Citizen’s Trust among others — was attended by over a thousand Mumbaikars who then participated in a peace march to Andheri police station. The meeting comes in the
wake of the recent mob attacks led by political parties and other groups. The most recent one was a demonstration led by hawkers of Linking Road, where AGNI activist James John was beaten up by MNS leader Raj Thackeray’s supporters when he filmed them destroying public property. Speaking at the event, DM Sukhthan, chief secretary, said: “It is extremely sad and shameful when people trying
to help enforce law are beaten up. Some people trying to carve out a constituency for themselves are indulging in this sort of violence and the police are supporting them.” What disturbed activists even more was what they believed to be inaction on the part of the law enforcers — instead of enforcing the law, police limited their role to spectators. The activists plan to give a signed charter of demands
to the police commissioner, chief minister, deputy chief minister, heads of all political parties and public representatives. The attendees also demanded that senior citizens’ helpdesk be installed at every police station, to be headed by a nodal officer at the additional commissioner office level. Cautioning against the slow decline of the rule of law, theatre personality Alyque Padamsee said: “If people have a problem with policies of the state government, they should burn the chief minister’s car. Why do they touch taxis, schools, colleges, and trains?” Bringing Amitabh Bachchan into the picture, Padamsee said, “How does it matter which state he’s helping? He is helping Indians after all.” At the meeting it was discussed that residents need to address the root of the problem — political parties — and vote them out. One way to tackle this, said the activists is to improve coordination with the community and the police to avoid penetration of those parties with vested local interest. Sumaira Abdulali of
Aawaz foundation said: “Such groups that operate as a mafia need to be broken. The police is the first line of defence in our existing system. What do we do if we do not get help from them? It is time we form our group to fight them.” Citizens’ corporator, Adolf D’Souza said, “We try to oppose such mob mentality, and we get beaten up while the culprits go unpunished.” Residents, many of whom had come from as far as Vashi to attend the meeting, concurred with the views of the NGOs. Suhas Wavik, a Vashi resident said, “We need something like this to get ourselves heard.” Daphne Sardinha
from Bandra concurred. “They should implement the demand we have put forward. That should help us,” she said.

Peace march held to protest attacks


Mumbai: Several NGOs, hundreds of citizens and prominent personalities took out a peace march to the Andheri police station on Sunday to protest against the attack by Raj Thackeray’s supporters on a social activist in January, when the violence against north Indians had peaked. Several prominent social activists from the city had gathered at the Holy Family High School ground in Chakala in Andheri to lament the “mobocracy’’ unleashed by workers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) against north Indians a few weeks ago. In a similar gathering, social activist James John, who belongs to the Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI), was assaulted by MNS members for trying to take pictures of their vandalism. John had been admitted to the hospital with broken ribs and a fractured leg. Against this backdrop, activists decried the state’s role as a mute spectator while MNS members went on the rampage. The speakers included RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi, AGNI convener Gerson Da’Cunha, former municipal chief D M Sukhtankar, Independent corporator Adolf D’Souza and antinoise activist Sumera Abdulali. “These are worrying signs. Unless we rise together against this menace, the authorities will never wake up to mobocracy. The police should set up a separate cell to deal with such cases,’’ said Sukhthankar. Godfrey Pimenta, representing the Bombay Catholic Sabha, said the rallyists went to the Andheri police station in a ‘peace march’ after taking permission from the police. “The police first refused to accept the memorandum of the activists,’’ said Pimenta. Finally, the police accepted it saying they will hand it over to the senior police inspector on Monday, he added. The memorandum handed over to the police states that Mumbai is suffering from lawlessness that has never been seen before. Issues are being settled on the streets, mobs are impacting trade and attacking citizens. Politicians, powerbrokers and the police were also blamed. The citizens asked for the enforcement of the rule of law. They said there should be greater collaboration between the people and the police in fighting elements perpetrating mobocracy or mob violence.

CRY AGAINST VIOLENCE: Social activists gathered at the Holy Family High School ground in Chakala to lament the “mobocracy’’ by MNS workers



ABOUT 650 people pledged a vote against mob violence or ‘mobocracy' demanding "enforcement of the rule of the law in our city and an end to rule by the mobs" at Andheri on Sunday.
They voiced their solidarity against the mob violence that had sent Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI) activist James John to the hospital in February. John was busy collecting photographic evidence against mobs pulling down shop shutters the day Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and the Samajwadi Party's Abu Azmi were arrested. Five people snatched John's camera and attacked him, breaking his ribs and causing a ruptured muscle. Two attackers were arrested but subsequently released on bail.
On Sunday, AGNI organised the peace march, demanding that John's attackers be arrested and mob violence be put to an end. Activists and citizens gathered at the Holy Family School and after an hour-long session, citizens, in rows of three, marched to the MIDC police station holding placards demanding an end to ‘mobocracy'.
John urged citizens to come out and stop mob violence. "If you do not stop them now, they will be in your house tomorrow," said John.
Citizens and activists filed a petition of demand that will be sent to Com missioner of Police Hasan Gafoor and Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil. They said that mobs should not be allowed to prevent movie screenings or disrupt art exhibitions. A new law needs to be passed where people caught in vio lence acts should be sent to jail for 10 years, they said. They demanded special officers to look into activists' complaints.
The meeting was presided by former state chief secretary D.M. Sukhtankar, adman and theatre personality Alyque Padamsee, activist Shailesh Gandhi, corporator Adolf D'Souza, AWAZ Foun dation member Sumeria Abdulali and Rita D'sa of the Bombay Catholic Sabha.
Padamsee recalled how after he had once said that Mumbai would always be Bombay, a mob of 250 had gathered outside his house. After condemning mob violence, Padamsee borrowed American civil rights' activist Martin Luther King's words and said: "I have a dream and in that dream youngsters from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh walk hand in hand." Talk to us Any suggestions on how the police can effectively deal with mob violence?
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Tuesday, April 1, 2008


NEARLY 1,000 people will hold a silent peace march ‘against mob-ocracy' from Andheri's Holy Family School up to Andheri police station on April 6.
Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI) members, wearing white shirts and carrying black umbrellas and placards, feel that the police have not taken enough action against the miscreants re sponsible for the molestation of two women outside a Juhu hotel on New Year's night or against alleged Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists who attacked taxi drivers or against those who attacked AGNI co-ordinator James John.
"We are demanding a strict law against mob violence," said AGNI Trustee Gerson Da'Cunha, who will chair a meeting at the school before the march. "In many cases, the police are ineffective or slow-moving."
A memorandum will be chalked out at the meeting that would be handed over to the Andheri police to be forwarded to Commissioner Hassan Gafoor. The memorandum will report the mob attacks and make demands, including that action be taken against people teeming up, losing inhibitions and causing undeclared bandhs.
"In many cases, police do not intervene as the local slumlords, matka groups, encroachers, even politicians collude with the police. We want this to stop," said Da'Cunha.
They will also ask the police to set up cells to protect those who want to help establish evidence against the attackers. "In cases like John's, who was trying to click pictures of mobs forcing shops to close for evidence, he was attacked. Of the five attackers, only two were arrested and let off on bail," said Ravi Nair, march organiser and AGNI volunteer. WANT TO JOIN? ¦ What: AGNI Peace rally and meeting against mob attacks and lawlessness ¦ When: Sunday, April 6, 2008 ¦ Where: Holy Family School, Andheri (East) ¦ Dress Code: White shirt/top and black उम्ब्रेल्ला -- सय्ली UDAS