Unsolved attacks on activists have a long history

Activists in Mumbai were outraged over the recent attack on Nayana Kathpalia, convenor of the NGO Citispace. However, several similar attacks on activists in the past still await police action

Is shady business trying to stifle the voice of civil society activists? Last week, there was outrage among activists in Mumbai at the attempt to murder Nayana Kathpalia, convener of Citispace, a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Citispace is opposing the Slum Rehabilitation Authority’s (SRA) redevelopment scheme. Underworld links of some builders connected with the redevelopment process are fairly well known in realty circles.

Ms Kathpalia had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court against slum rehabilitation being allowed under the SRA scheme in the city’s open and public spaces. On Friday last week, two assailants entered Ms Kathpalia’s residence located at Churchgate in the early hours and fired a round from a country made revolver. However, no one was hurt in the firing.

The recent attack on Ms Kathpalia is not an isolated case. In a letter written to top police officials in the city, Sumaira Abdulali, who heads the Awaaz Foundation, an anti-noise organisation, has pointed out various similar cases in the past, which are still unsolved.

Ms Abdulali points out that attack on activists seem to be part of a trend of intimidation and the police have not followed up on past attacks. Ms Abdulali herself had been attacked in the past when she stood up against the sand-quarrying mafia that is depleting various beaches. She was attacked by illegal sand miners at Kihim beach near Alibaug in May 2004.

The letter lists out five such unsolved attacks in the past where the activists have identified the attackers, but no adequate police action so far has been taken.

Citispace activist HS D’Lima was assaulted in March 2005. The police have failed to nab the attacker, despite him being indentified by the activist. The attack on Mr Lima is not an isolated case of police inaction. In a similar case, the city police failed to provide adequate protection to AGNI (Action for Good Governance and Networking in India) activist James John who was attacked in March 2006. The status of the case is a first information report (FIR), which was reportedly filed after several hours. In both these cases, the city police failed to take prompt action even after a number of written complaints mentioning constant threats to the life of activists.

Another activist Anandini Thakoor from an NGO named H-WEST Citizens Federation was mobbed three times in July 2005. Again in January 2009, Ms Thakoor and Aftab Siddique were mobbed by political party workers. Both the activists were protesting against illegal political hoardings. While the police refused to file an FIR against the party workers, an FIR was filed against Ms Thakoor. The case against Ms Thakoor is still pending.

In a recent case, Navin Pandya, Coordinator for Malad (north) of AGNI and Janhit Manch, was reportedly attacked by a member of the Samajwadi Party in September 2009. Mr Pandya was protesting against an illegal garage of the alleged attacker. Though an FIR was filed by the police, no further action has since been taken.



Shadi Katyal

7 years ago

It is very unfortunate that these NGO instead of helping the nation have started abusing the freedom given to them.
We have too many such do gooders who in name of poor people exploit the nation and poor become their constituency not recognizing that such leaders are nothing but power hungry and want their name in papers..
India development has suffered due to such Naka bundi,Dharnas and what not.
One can recall Narbad Bacho,NANO project and many such other projects which are being delayed.
NGO should help and not become an obstacle

Dr Reddy's, AstraZeneca may settle patent case out of court

Dr Reddy's Lab's long-standing patent dispute with Europe's AstraZeneca over a drug to treat heartburn may be resolved out of court following a similar settlement between the European drug maker and Israel's Teva

Indian pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd's long-standing patent dispute with Europe's AstraZeneca over a drug to treat heartburn may be resolved out of court following a similar settlement between the European drug maker and Israel's Teva, feel market watchers.

Dr Reddy's and AstraZeneca are at loggerheads over alleged infringement of the latter's heartburn drug Nexium and experts feel the settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals would help the Indian pharma company's case.

AstraZeneca has filed a lawsuit against Dr Reddy's alleging that the Indian company's generic version of a heartburn drug infringes on its $4 billion drug, Nexium.

Angel Broking’s vice president and research specialist (pharmaceuticals), Sarabjit Kour Nangra said that there is a possibility of settlement between AstraZeneca and Dr Reddy's. "Similar settlement out of court could be possible between the two companies," Mr Nangra told PTI.

According to Satish Kanteti, joint managing director, Zen Securities, the Indian pharma company has been making deals with multinational companies (MNCs) for the past two years and may go for a settlement with AstraZeneca also.

"Even AstraZeneca may prefer for a settlement considering the size of the market of Nexium. They may not risk the $4-billion Nexium market," Mr Kanteti said.

He, however, said that the settlement depends on how strong Dr Reddy's claim is and pointed out that Teva is more aggressive than Dr Reddy's in terms of marketing.


Now, actors resort to marketing gimmicks to promote films

Marketing activity for non-mass media promotions has now caused quite a flutter among the movie-making fraternity and has triggered a new race for fresh and more aggressive marketing methods

Taking a cue from the advertising industry, Bollywood actors are now seen adopting unique and innovative marketing strategies to promote their films, reports PTI.

Gone are the days when the marketing and publicity of a cinematic venture was limited to illustrious film posters, giant billboards, movie merchandising, television advertisements, pre-release media hype, etc.

Superstar Aamir Khan travelled across the country in disguise, Shahid Kapoor and Genelia D'Souza spent a night together in a car, Amitabh Bachchan read news on a TV channel, while actress Neha Dhupia threw condoms at a college crowd, all this to publicise their films.

After these below-the-line activities, marketing parlance for non-mass media promotions, were successful in creating a positive buzz around these films, it has now caused quite a flutter among the movie-making fraternity and triggered a new race for fresh and more aggressive marketing methods.

"Bollywood is now using the latest marketing techniques to attract more eyeballs. Previously they used to think they knew everything about marketing films and assumed that just putting up billboards and media advertisements were enough to promote their films," advertising guru Alyque Padamsee told PTI.

Mr Padmasee says that he approves the current trend in Bollywood. "It's good for the industry that they have finally realised the importance of marketing and are innovating. Whether you are selling a movie or 'bhelpuri', you need to have proper marketing," he says.

As part of his unique strategy promoting '3 Idiots', Aamir Khan roamed around the country for two weeks in disguise and challenged his fans to spot him.

Similarly, to hype his pet-project 'Veer' and to change his 'bad boy of Bollywood' image, actor Salman Khan had recently announced a hunt for unsung heroes who had performed acts of heroism in their lives.

Also, megastar Amitabh Bachchan (often called ‘Big B’), who is cast as a media magnate in upcoming film 'Rann' was recently seen reading news on a TV channel giving a year-end news roundup.

The film's director Ram Gopal Verma says he plans to distribute a ten-page daily newspaper 'Rann Times' till the commercial release of the film.

"Good marketing has produced good results at the box office. That old belief that the merit of the film shall eventually emerge victorious has long since been overridden.

By the time you wait for the merit to show its face, five other films have shown their merits," blogged the Big B.


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