Microsoft Patches Linux; Linus Responds

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel.Image via Wikipedia

Microsoft has released code for inclusion in the Linux kernel, but should it be accepted? Linus Torvalds gives his perspective.

You may have already heard, but the unthinkable has happened. That’s right, Microsoft, the self-proclaimed enemy of Linux and free software, has announced that they will be submitting some 20,000 lines of code to the Linux kernel. Come again? Yes, Microsoft wants to get its code into the Linux kernel. You read that right!.

To read more click

When approached by Linux Magazine as to whether he has even looked at the code, Linus Torvalds (the father of Linux) replied:

“I haven’t. Mainly because I’m not personally all that interested in driver code (it doesn’t affect anything else), especially when I wouldn’t use it myself.

So for things like that, I just trust the maintainers. I tend to look at code when bugs happen, or when it crosses multiple subsystems, or when it’s one of the core subsystems that I’m actively involved in (ie things like VM, core device resource handling, basic kernel code etc).

’ll likely look at it when the code is actually submitted to me by the maintainers (Greg [Kroah-Hartman], in this case), just out of morbid curiosity.”

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Statement on the movement in Lalgarh By a fact finding team of students from Jawaharlal Nehru University

Preliminary Statement on the movement in Lalgarh By a fact finding team of students from Jawaharlal Nehru University. A 9 member fact finding team comprising students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and journalists recently visited Lalgarh, to probe into the reality of the ongoing movement of the people in the area. Here is a preliminary account of our observations. We would like to appeal to your daily/ news channel to highlight on certain issues of the movement, which have so far been overlooked and neglected by the media.

We heard through various media and other sources that massive state repression had been underway in Lalgarh and other adjacent areas since November 2008, after the attempted mine blast on the convoy of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. We had learnt of the incidents of rampant police atrocities after this land mine blast, especially on women and school children in the area. Following this the people there had formed the Pulishi Santrash Birodhi Janasadharoner Committee (PSBJC) or the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities and have blockaded Lalgarh and other adjoining areas from police and other administration. With these preliminary facts in hand, we visited Lalgarh from 7 to 10 June. The team visited the villages of Chhotapelia, Katapahari, Bohardanga, Sijua, Dain Tikri, Sindurpur, Madhupur,Babui Basha, Shaluka, Moltola Kadoshol, Basban, Papuria, Komladanga,pukhria, Korengapara, gopalnagar, Khash jongol, Shaalboni, Shaal danga,Andharmari, Darigera, Bhuladanga, Chitaram Dahi, Teshabandh, Bhuladanga and talked extensively to people. We attended a big meeting called by the People’s Committee in Lodhashuli on the 7th of June and witnessed other small meetings which were held inside the villages. A firing and frontal battle between the people on the one hand and the state and armed gangs of the CPM on the other, in Dharampura and Madhupur/Shijua had started during our stay in Lalgarh.

The visit to Lalgarh and interaction with the people broke many of the myths which we still held before going there. After listening to the chronological narrative of the history of police atrocities in the area, we realized that the *November incidents were not unique*. It was merely the continuation of extreme state terror and police atrocities that the people of the region have been subjected to since 2000. *What is unique this time is the resistance*, * which has taken an organized and sustained shape this time around.*The people in all the villages we visited conclusively verified police torture. They described how the police entered houses very late at night, and in the name of ‘raids’ and ‘checks’ vandalized their houses and mercilessly beat them up, how any movement of the villagers at night even to look for their cattle was banned. Almost every family had one or more members who had been booked for being a ‘Maoist’. We were told about the 90year old Maiku Murmu of Teshabandh who was beaten to death by the police way back in 2006. Young school girls were regularly molested by the police in the pretext of ‘body check’. Women were forced to show their genitals at night during ‘raids’ to confirm their gender. Before every election 30-40 people from every village were picked up as ‘Maoists’ in order to weaken the opposition to the ruling CPI (M).

The incident of police brutality in Chhotopelia, where a number of women were ruthlessly beaten up and one of them Chhitamoni lost her eye, acted as the last straw. The arrest of three students on the baseless charge of ‘waging war against the state’ further enraged the people. Lalgarh have now risen up-in-arms against this long drawn atrocities and organized oppression of the CPI (M). For the villagers, police terror was accompanied by the terror unleashed by CPI (M). In fact, *the police and CPI (M) are not just in alliance with each other, they meant one and the same thing for the villagers.* Our team was taken to Madhupur, where the local panchayat office had been turned into a camp of the *harmad vahini * (armed gangs of the CPM)*.* They told us how the ‘motor cycle army’ of the *harmads* roamed around the villages terrorizing people, breaking their houses brutally, firing in the air, and beating people up, exactly in the same way they did in Nandigram. The police not only stood as mute spectators whenever the *harmads* went on a rampage,it supported them in all possible ways. The *harmads* even used police jeeps to move around. To return these ‘favors’, the local CPI (M) cadres acted as informers for the police. We met one villager whose house was demolished by the *harmad*, during which he kept calling the police for help, but they never came. Similarly, they narrated the incident of Khash Jongol where the*harmads* open fired on a village meeting and killed three people, injuring three others. It was only after an armed resistance was put up by the villagers, that the *harmads* were forced to retreat to Memul and then to Shijua. The Committee was formed against police atrocities but has also been carrying out alternative developmental work inside Lalgarh in the past seven months. These areas are marked by extreme poverty and backwardness. Agriculture is dependent on rainfall which is scanty. We saw the dysfunctional government canal, which is lying dry. They showed us the pathetic condition of roads which become completely inaccessible during the monsoons.

The Committee on its own has made 20 km of roads with red stone chips (‘morrum’), with villagers volunteering their labour. They have repaired several tube wells, and have installed new ones at half the price than the panchayat. They have also started constructing a check dam in Bohardanga to fight the water crisis. Two major works undertaken by the committee is the process of land distribution and running a health center in Katapahari. The government was supposed to distribute wasteland among the landless, but never did so. Now the Committee is taking initiative in Banshberi and other villages to distribute the wasteland adjacent to the forests to the landless people.

We witnessed the distribution of the patta in one village. The Committee has also turned a dysfunctional building in Katapahari into a health center, which attends to more than 150 patients every day. Doctors from Kolkata and other regions visit there thrice a week. We had also attended a huge meeting called by the Committee in Lodhashuli against a sponge iron factory located in the region. We visited the factory site and saw the adverse effect of pollution on the trees, water bodies and land. The people informed that even the paddy grown in the region have turned black, so much so that even the panchayat has refused to accept the paddy. The meeting was attended by around 12000 people from many villages of the district, despite a bus strike called by CPM. It was a vibrant meeting, where the committee resolved among other things to boycott the factory and bring about its closure. The presence of the Maoists within Lalgarh was one of the most contended issues during our visit. Our team observed the presence of Maoists and that they had mass support of the people in this area. Their posters could be seen everywhere. We were informed by the villagers that Maoists have held meetings attended by thousands of people. The people seemed pretty clear about the need for an armed resistance in the face of the regular joint attacks by the CPM and the state. The restriction on carrying traditional arms by them is a clear signal by the state to debilitate this movement. This team was witness to the genuine anger and suffering of the people. Therefore, we do not agree with many sections of the media which brand the resistance there as ‘anarchy’. *We also believe that the police, administration and CPM are solely responsible for the current situation in Lalgarh. *By the time we left Lalgarh, the struggle has intensified. By then, the people had been successful in making their immediate enemy CPM to escape along with the police. The enthusiasm we saw in the people was exuberant. For the first time they are being part of not some vote-minting political party but a committee which is their own organization. They are living a life free of state terror and building their own developmental projects. Indifferent villages many residents held one opinion in common, ‘we have got independence for the first time’. Their fight is against age old exploitation, deprivation, torture and terror. In this way, it is a historic fight.

We urge the media to revisit Lalgarh. The movement has its roots in extremely impoverished socio economic conditions increased by the inaction of the state. The state is bound to strike back at this fight of the people. The CRPF and other central forces will soon come with the orders to open fire on the resilient masses. The state government is also shamelessly asking the notorious and infamous Grey hounds and Cobra to come and crush the people’s movement. That will be the most unfortunate and condemnable thing. The anger of the masses against massive state terror, underdevelopment and corruption is valid. And so is the fight against it. This team will publish a detailed report based on our visit about this movement in Lalgarh. We remember the progressive role played by some sections of the media especially the regional media in Bengal progressive role during the Nandigram movement and would appeal to you to also stand by the people of Lalgarh and their genuine fight before the state carries out yet another genocide.

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Irom Sharmila: Nine years on, and still fighting

By Deepti Priya Mehrotra

A profile of the unique rebel who is fighting for a repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Manipur

On March 8, 2008, peace activist Irom Sharmila was arrested in Imphal, Manipur. She was scheduled to address a meeting at the Meira Shang (Women’s Shelter), Porompat, organised by the Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (Mothers’ Union to Save Manipur).

A large number of women and human rights activists requested the police to allow her to be free as a symbolic gesture of respect on International Women’s Day. But their pleas went unheard. Sharmila, who had been released from judicial custody only the previous day (March 7), was re-arrested on charges of attempted suicide.

Irom Sharmila has repeatedly clarified that it’s not her intention to die. Her hunger strike, in its eighth year now, has one single goal: withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA), which empowers armed forces personnel to shoot and kill on grounds of mere “suspicion”. AFSPA was imposed throughout Manipur after the state was declared a “disturbed area” in 1980. This emergency law continues to be in force despite having had no positive impact on the insurgency situation in Manipur. Gross human rights violations are committed with impunity, under cover of this law, generating more insurgency. People in the state are caught in the crossfire between the armed forces on one side and the insurgents on the other. As State violence against ordinary citizens has grown over the decades, so too has retaliatory violence on the part of the insurgents.

Irom Sharmila represents the voice of the ordinary people of Manipur. Born and bred in simple circumstances, she barely completed her schooling, learnt shorthand and tailoring and then gravitated towards social work. She explored working with disabled children, youth and women’s groups. In October 2000, she joined Human Rights Alert (HRA) on a one-month internship. Quiet, observant and sincere, Sharmila cycled to and from HRA every day. During her internship, she met a number of victims of human rights violations and got an orientation on global human rights issues, as well as the situation in Manipur.

On November 2, 2000, the Assam Rifles (AR) gunned down 10 people at a bus stop in Malom village, near Imphal. Unknown insurgents had planted a bomb near the AR camp the previous day and, unable to locate the culprits, AR personnel hit out at random. Shaken to the core by this injustice, Irom Sharmila spontaneously decided to go on a hunger strike in protest. She took her mother’s blessings, then informed other activists who tried to dissuade her from taking such a difficult step. However, showing the first signs of her by-now legendary “iron will”, Sharmila went to Malom and began her fast. Scores of women and youth activists soon joined her, in solidarity with her anti-AFSPA stand. Within days, she was arrested by the police and sentenced under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) — attempt to suicide – to a year in judicial custody (the maximum punishment awardable for this crime).

A series of arrests and re-arrests followed over the years. To this day, Irom Sharmila continues to be jailed and force-fed by the State. She spent her 36th birthday, March 14, 2008, in the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru hospital, where medically unfit prisoners of Sajiwa Central Jail are housed. This has been her virtual home since November 2000: a small bare room, with a lady home guard in the corner to guard her at night, and five visits by a stiff-lipped nurse who feeds her a liquid diet through a nasal tube, during the day. In between, for around four months, Irom Sharmila escaped to New Delhi following her release on October 2, 2006. She went there to garner publicity and sympathy for her cause. Students, human rights activists and other concerned citizens rallied around her as she lay in protest at Jantar Mantar. The Delhi police swooped down and arrested her at midnight on October 6. They kept her in “protective custody” in hospital, where she was visited by journalists and supporters.

The first time I met Irom Sharmila, in early-November 2006, she was reading a book on Japanese folk stories. Subsequently, we discussed books whenever we met — Buddhist texts, Manipuri poetry, the newspapers, Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries, Swami Rama’s Mystics of the Himalayas… I lent her Chinua Achebe and Greek mythology, and she spoke about her poems, saying: “I write long poems — some 400 lines, one 600 lines.”

In February 2008 she said she wanted to return to Imphal and, once alone, write a poem of at least 1,000 lines. “It will be about what I have seen and experienced of life, of our society,” she said.

Irom Sharmila left New Delhi for Manipur on March 4, 2008, and was arrested a few hours after her arrival in Imphal. She was remanded to judicial custody on March 7, 2008, for a year.

Permission to visit her in hospital in Imphal is not easily granted. When I made a trip to Imphal in April 2007, her brother, Irom Singhjit, ran around trying to get me permission to visit her. A jail escort came in with us. For six weeks, nobody had been allowed to meet her. Her face broke into a delighted smile when she saw us: she proffered a little notebook, saying: “I have completed writing the poem! It is a poem of one thousand and ten lines!” On my request, she read out the first page of the poem, and translated it. Called Rebirth, it reflects on the frailty of the human body, and the reason we are sent here, to exist between birth and death.

Irom Sharmila is philosophical, thoughtful and determined she will not eat until AFSPA is repealed. Not a single morsel of food, or even a drop of water, has passed through her lips since November 4, 2000 — a period of nearly 90 months. Stoic, friendly, and completely committed, Sharmila is a unique rebel.

In May 2007, she was awarded the Gwangju Human Rights Award in recognition of her unflagging efforts “to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means”. The Indian government did not allow her to travel to Gwangju, Korea, to receive this prestigious award. Instead a team went, including Irom Singhjit who received the award and made a speech on behalf of his sister, lawyer Preeti Verma of Human Rights and Law Network, and Annie Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women.

In September 2007, a 50-member delegation of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), consisting of activists from across India, went to Imphal to join in a five-day hunger strike by Manipuri citizens protesting against AFSPA, in solidarity with Irom Sharmila. Solidarity fasts were held across the globe — in England, Pakistan and the US. But nothing seems to stir the conscience of the Indian State.

Government spokespersons have repeatedly assured the people of Manipur that they will review the Act. Yet the central government ignored the judgment of its own committee, the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee, set up in 2004 to examine AFSPA. The committee report clearly states that the Act “has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high-handedness,” and should be withdrawn.

On March 4, 2008, Lok Sabha MP from the inner Manipur parliamentary constituency, Dr Thokchom Meinya, demanded immediate repeal of the AFSPA. Participating in a discussion in the Lok Sabha, he said: “There are laws in this country which are national in character and regional in application. One such infamous law is the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.”

In early March, Peace Women Across the Globe, an international NGO, appealed for solidarity with Irom Sharmila, asking all women’s groups and democratic forces to become involved in action to support Sharmila’s campaign. Film screenings of Tales from the Margins, a documentary film about the struggles waged by Sharmila and other Manipuri women, were held in several places. On March 7-8, grassroots people’s movements in Kerala and Tamil Nadu observed Manipur Solidarity Day to express their concern for human rights violations in far-off Manipur and demand the repeal of anti-people laws.

Yet, Sharmila continues to languish in jail. Her grandmother Irom Tonsija Devi, who provided much of her early inspiration, died on March 1, at the age of 105. She had not met her beloved granddaughter for over seven years. Neither has Sharmila’s mother Irom Sakhi Devi, although she often passes by the hospital, located barely a kilometre from their humble home. Unshed tears shining in her eyes, Sakhi Devi says: “I feel I will go mad sometimes.”

Sharmila Irom one day said: “The day the Act is withdrawn I will eat rice from my mother’s hands.”

Physically isolated, her body frail, Sharmila’s spirit remains as strong as ever. Tucked away in a state geographically and culturally remote from the capital, she nonetheless poses a powerful challenge to the impunity and high-handedness of State power.

(Deepti Priya Mehrotra is a Delhi-based writer)

Additional note: This year, like the past many years, Irom Sharmila was released from prison on March 7, 2009 and rearrested again on March 9, 2009 as she continued her fast. Just before night-fall on 7 March 2009, after her release from the high-security ward of the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal, Sharmila walked to the market place less than a kilometre away where hundreds of Meira Paibi have been fasting in relays from 10 December 2008, the International Human Rights Day. Accompanying the Meira Paibi in solidarity were nearly 100 others including some 50 visiting members of the Network of Women in Media-India. Speaking softly after her release, Sharmila’s comments made in the Meitei language were lyrical and the ‘mothers’ were often moved to tears. Here is a rough transliteration put together from the recollections of some of the bilingual listeners:

Question: Are you tired?

Irom Sharmila: ‘I am not tired. I have the strength to walk the streets of Imphal. Will you be able to keep up with me?

Words cannot express my deep gratitude when I see you all waiting for me here. You have renewed my courage. I will continue my campaign till the draconian AFPSA is repealed throughout Manipur.

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. As the world observes this day, there is a very beautiful place on earth, with lofty hills and the clear flowing water in the streams, where the flowers bloom, a place on earth where one woman is being kept in solitary confinement. Isn’t this ironic?

This time [the release] feels different because you all are here. When I come here and see the Meira Paibi and women from other parts of India, I hope that they will take with them this story and our voices.

Some time later, clasping the hands of yet a sister who had lost her brother to the violence gripping Manipur some days ago, she said:

There is more to life than death.

A dew drop on a lotus leaf is just blown away by the breeze. I don’t want to end my life [like a dew drop] without a purpose.’

Binayak Sen granted bail: A battle half won

Finally, we have got some justice after a long struggle. Dr Binayak Sen was granted bail today, more than two years after his unjust incarceration. The SC vacation Bench headed by Markandeya Katju did not even allow the Chhattisgarh Counsel to raise an objection and granted bail within one minute of taking up the case. One should remember that CG state had not heeded to the SC’s earlier request to file the reasons for objecting his bail.

While it is a great victory to justice, the state by keeping Dr. Sen in jail for over two years has succeeded in its attempts to at least partially silence all those who were raising their voice against Salwa Judum. Nevertheless, it is great news that finally the efforts of all those who fought, participated in the Raipur Satyagraha, and their supporters have succeeded. Our heartiest congratulations to all the silent warriors who made this possible.

In solidarity,
Neeraj Jain

Press release, 20th May 09

Chhattisgarh Govt. on Rampage!

After Binayak Sen, now it’s the Gandhian Vanvasi Chetna Ashram being attacked by the Chhattisgarh Govt. which literally bulldozed this Ashram on May 17, 2009. We condemn this demolition of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA). Established by Himanshu, a follower of Vinoba Bhave, the VCA which is at Kawalnar, about 11 kilometres from Dantewada.has been in the forefront of rehabilitating adivasis in Dantewada who had been displaced due the state supported Salwa Judum and the Maoists. VCA was consistent in its demand for a peaceful solution to the conflict in South Bastar and was persuading the villagers to come back to their villages. VCA had rehabilitated villagers from more than 15 affected villages. The Maoists also disapproved VCA actions resulting in him and his team being held hostage by Maoists last year.

The Vanvasi Chetna Ashram has been the voice of sanity and peace in Dantewada, led by the Gandhian Himanshu and consistently exposing the atrocities by Salwa Judum, while keeping a distance from the Maoists. A staunch believer in non-violence, Himanshu exposed the fake encounters of 12 innocent adivasis, who were killed by the police on March 30, 2009 and filed a case in the Bilaspur High Court. It is evident that the police and administration have made VCA their target to destroy their base and all resources which were instrumental in their work. It is also clear that the Chhattisgarh government does not want villagers to return to their villages, though it has been directed by the Supreme Court. It wants to use the deserted farmlands for corporate purpose.

Angered by VCA’s consistent commitment towards the people’s welfare, the local administration using the pretext of VCA being constructed on revenue forest land, issued an eviction notice in December 2007, which VCA had challenged in the Appeal court. According to VCA the ashram had been constructed on common land of Kawalnar village after the village panchayat passed a resolution way back in 1993.

The mala fide of the administration is clear from the fact that VCA received the eviction notice dated May 13 2009, on May 16, asking them to vacate within 5 days, i.e. by May 17 and on the following day in the early hours of May 17, the VCA was demolished. Having cordoned off the area, the SDM, Mr Ankit Anand, then informed Himanshuji (at 7 am) that he and his family and staff had one hour to remove all their personal belongings, official papers, etc. At 8 am around 4-5 bulldozers began rolling into the Ashram premises and within the next few hours they had razed the entire campus (including training halls, staff quarters, the main office building, and residential area) to the ground not even sparing the tubewells and an open well which had been constructed by the Government. The boundary fence of the Ashram, the boards on the road leading to the Ashram, were also twisted and uprooted. All this continued for four hours.

We demand that VCA be restored at the expense of the state.

R. P. Nene (24454909)
Dr. Abhay Shukla ( 9422317515)
Dr. Anant Phadke (9423531478)
Milind Chavan (9890025565)
Dr. Suhas Kolhekar, (9422986771
Neeraj Jain (9422220311)

‘Release Dr. Binayak Sen Committee’- Pune
C/o. Milind Chavan, Flat No. 306, Kamal paradise, Sukhasagar nagar No. 2, Katraj,
Pune-411 046, Ph. No.9890025565