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Archives for : June2017

 Maharashtra govt to introduce ‘Prevention of Cut practices in Medical Services Act’ 

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by Laxmi Yadav

With an aim to curtail the ‘cut practice’ in medical profession, the Maharashtra government has decided to introduce Prevention of “Cut practices in Medical Services Act, 2017” soon.

A 9-member committee has been formed by the government to study other countries’ regulations for preventing cut practices including anti kickback laws in USA and UK and suggest measures to be incorporated in the proposed Act.

Headed by past Maharashtra Director General of Police Pravin Dixit, the committee comprises of Dr. Avinash Supe, Director of Medical Education and major BMC hospitals, Dr Sanjay Oak, director of Prince Aly Khan Hospital, Byculla, Dr Abhay Chowdhary, president of Maharashtra Medical Council, Dr Ramakant Panda, vice chairman of Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, Indian Medical Association (IMA) representative, Dr. Yeshwant Amdekar, pediatrician, Dr. Amit Karkhanis, dermatologist, Dr. Himmatrao Bawaskar, Mahad.

At the first meet held on June 27, the panel discussed certain provisions of the proposed Act in detail which are as follows:

Section one contains definition of the Act which reads any person believed to be medical experts having received a patient for treatment, refers him to another medical experts, hospitals, laboratory for further treatment/examination/ tests and in turn receive any pecuniary benefits from such medical experts/hospitals/laboratory, would be committing an act of indulging in “Cut practices in Medical Services.”

Section two says cut practice in medical services is an offence and would be charged under cognizable offence tried by JMFC, 1st Class. Any person who indulges in such act repeatedly, would be treated as repeat offender.

Section three deals with punishment for the offence. It reads punishment for the offence of “Cut practice in medical services” would be simple punishment up to three months and fine up to Rs.5,000. Repeated offender would be punishable by simple imprisonment up to six months and fine of Rs.25,000.

The committee was formed by the state government following Dr Ramakant Panda’s representation to Directorate of Medical Education and Research, Government of Maharashtra over rampant growth of cut practice in medical field.

Dr Panda’s Asian Heart Institute had put up a poster stating ‘No commission. Only honest medical opinion’ in the city which invoked sharp response from IMA. The hospital has also installed 10 banners in the city in response to IMA’s warning to remove the first one.

Reacting to IMA remark, Dr Panda said that instead of protecting wrongdoers, IMA should sensitize its members on the need to do away with cut practice. Its not that all of its members are engaged in such practice. There are a number of doctors who have never involved in it, he added.

He said “We have found that at least one third of the patients who were asked to go for angioplasty or bypass surgery did not need it. The expense of treatment will decrease by 25% if cut practice is curbed.”

Considering the rampant growth of cut practice, Asian Heart Institute has initiated debate on the issue. A number of medical professionals including Dr Gautam Sen, Dr Vikrant Desai, Dr Sanjay Nagral, Dr Himmatrao Bawaskar, Dr Devi Shetty, Dr GN Rao, Dr. Soma Raju, Dr Srinath Reddy, Dr Samiran Nundy etc has extended their support to the hospital crusade against cut practice in medical services.

Over four decades cut practice has moved from the fringe of medical practice to its core with 70-80% doctors engaging in the practice. A number of doctors were forced to take up such practice even though they did not want. New pathologists, specialists opening up their labs and clinics do not get patients until they pay certain amount to the medical practitioners who refer patients to them, said Dr Vijay D’Silva, medical director at the Asian Heart Institute.

Dr Sen attributed rising cost of medical education to the cut practice. Most of the candidates belonging to middle class take a huge bank loan to pursue medical education. Once they enter medical practice, they are left with no option but to engage in cut practice to get patients to repay their medical loan. Multipronged approach is required to tackle the issue. Making medical education affordable is one of them.

Dr Samiran Nundy will come out with a book “Healers or Predators”, to be published by Oxford University Press next year, with about 40 chapters; which speaks about this issue. India needs strict monitoring bodies that dole out tough punishment for wrongdoing, he added.

http://www.pharmabiz.com/PrintArticle.aspx?aid=102846&sid=1

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BJP member arrested in Thrissur for printing fake currency notes

Rakesh, a BJP youth wing worker, was arrested in connection with fake currency printing  last week . Fake currency worth ₹1.37 lakh and printing machines were seized from his house at Anchamparuthy, near Mathilakam, in Kerala. A case was also registered against his brother Rajeev, a Dalit Morcha leader, who is absconding.

Rakesh (31) was produced at the Kodungallur Magistrate Court on Friday.

Suspecting that both were lending money at exorbitant interest rate, the police raided their house as a part of anti-loan shark exercise ‘Operation Kubera’ and seized a multi-colour printer, a scanner, a currency cutter, ink, printing paper and a laptop. They also found stamp papers, promissory notes and copies of title deeds.

The counterfeit currency was printed in a room on the top floor of Rakesh’s house. Fake currency of denominations ₹2000, ₹500, ₹50 and ₹20 were found. A4 sheets used for printing fake currency were also seized.

The police are investigating about the financial dealings of Rakesh, who is an active member of the Yuva Morcha and BJP booth president of Anchamparuthy.

According to the police, Rakesh bought the colour printer two weeks back and he used the counterfeit currency to buy lottery, provisions and fill petrol. The illiterate fish workers of the coastal belt and lottery vendors were most of their victims.

Rakesh, who had completed computer education, had worked in the Gulf for some time. Though he does not have any job, he used to lead a luxurious life, according to some local people.

The police suspect that Rajeev too has involvement in the case. It is alleged that he tried to pay using fake currency at a local petrol pump. The police are investigating whether more people are involved in the racket. The brothers were also involved in some criminal cases too.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) District Secretary K. Radhakrishnan has demanded high-level investigation into the case. “Investigation should not be restricted into this case alone. It should be checked whether more BJP leaders are involved in fake currency production. Lots of money has been flowing into the campaigns of BJP, RSS and Yuva Morcha. The police should investigate the sources of this funding,” he asked.

Source:http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/bjp-member-arrested-in-thrissur-for-printing-fake-currency-notes/article19132715.ece

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Pandith in Srinagar & Junaid in Ballabhgarh: Comparing a Yesterday of Violence

     
Images Courtesy: India Today

Mohammad Ayub Pandith, the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Jammu and Kashmir, was lynched to death by an irate mob of around 200 Kashmiri Muslims outside the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar yesterday. On the same day, near the National Capital Region, Hafiz Junaid, a 15-year-old Muslim, was stabbed to death and his brothers, Hashim, Shakir Mohsin and Moin, were severely injured on a train from Tughlakabad, Delhi to Ballabhgarh, Haryana. Yesterday was just one of the many days where people have been converted to statistics and India into a slaughterhouse of identities.

It is saddening to see that while one act of violence targeted at a State official was highlighted, and rightly so, by media houses; another death of a Muslim teenager on a train by a mob that attacked his religious community received mere scanty attention and concern of the online press on the day of the incident. The media, in effectively privileging one murder over the other, prioritized one life over another as deserving of news space. In so doing, the free media has mirrored the political tide of casual indifference where the lynching of a Muslim boy is not treated with the same degree and extent of condemnation as that of the murder of a police officer. Since when did reportage have to be qualified by the identity of the deceased?

It is about time we take stock of the reasons for and nature of the attacks to understand how identities manage anxieties of distance and difference in India. The communally charged atmosphere of Srinagar witnessed rumors of a ‘non-Muslim’ police officer guarding the Jamia Masjid during Shab-e-Qadr, night-long prayers held during Ramzan. The rumors of the deceased non-Muslim DSP being on alleged surveillance duty and clicking photographs of people spread like vengeful and frustrated fire. On the other hand, Junaid’s death was a result of an alleged argument over seatsin the passenger train, which eventually led to the attackers spewing communal slurs. One news report carries rumors of alleged beef-eating that instigated the attackers to stab and injure fellow passengers; anotherattributes the incident to a group of 15-20 people, who boarded the train at Okhla and hurled anti-Muslim comments at the four boys—mocking their dress, calling them beef-eaters, and deeming them undeserving of the train seats.

Both incidents scream hate crime and manifested themselves in the form of indefensible violence. The violence in Srinagar took the form of mob lynching as one of the assailants pierced the body of the DSP with a rodand then later dumped it in a drain. The police officer had pulled out his service revolver in self-defense and injured three in their lower limbs, but was overpowered by the strength of the aggravated mob that stripped him naked and beat him to death. Junaid was stabbed by a group of 15-20 men who carried knives on their person on a moving train. The altercation escalated as communal abuses were heaved and stabbings multiplied. The Muslim teenager was declared dead on arrival at the Civil Hospital in Palwal, while Shakir is presently admitted at the AIIMS Trauma Center, Delhi. Self-defense can take various forms, but the theoretical choice to defend oneself may not always materialize into a viable option, and the law discounts exactly that. Armed State agents always carry with them the plausibility and tools of defense that the common man may be deprived of, and this arguably raises questions on the manner in which the law of self-defense operates in our country where everyone may not be equally positioned (and equipped) to defend themselves.

Criminal law is a field of public law and any criminal offence is deemed to be a crime against the State and society at large. It is the State’s prerogative to protect the life, liberty and security of citizens, and any offence then is a reinforcement of the failure of the State to do so. In the case of Mohammad Ayub, his rumored religion was just one of the many aspects of his identity that he shouldered as he guarded the Jamia Masjid. As an officer of the State which is perceived as an active perpetrator of violence in Kashmir, Ayub was attacked arguably for more than his ostensible religion. While the wife of the deceased DSP wailed, “Your killers will face the same fate”; Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the act as a “murder of trust” and hinted at how the police force cannot be exercising such restraint for too long. In an environment where the State is no longer perceived as the protector of its citizens evidenced by a history of State-sanctioned violence and brutality; the DSP’s lynching is then arguably a manifestation of an already murdered trust. Delhi (and the rest of India) then poses the daunting prospect of a Kashmir waiting to happen, as Hindu extremists and self-proclaimed cow vigilantesappropriate and/or are delegated the power to take law into their own hands. The trust deficit is further exemplified when repeated calls for help to the Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel, the police and the emergency response number were made all in vain. Surat Pal, the SHO of GRP at Ballabgarh Police Station is reported to have stated:

“One of them, Mohsin, called an ambulance when his brother was stabbed. Such things happen. Whenever there is a riot or fight, such things happen and people say some communal things, but we can’t do anything”

When State instrumentalities normalize communal violence, and when office bearers fail and/or neglect to condemn all acts of violence indiscriminately (and not merely for political or strategic purposes), some lives are effectively valued more than others. In the case of the Jamia Masjid lynching, 12 persons have been identified and five of them have been arrested as per the statement of the Director General of Police S.P. Vaid. Moreover, a Special Investigation Team has been formed to expedite the probe into the lynching of Pandith. The FIR in the case of Junaid’s death has been registered under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention), Indian Penal Code, 1860. According to the Superintendent of the GRP Kamladeep Goyal, one of the assailants has been arrested and has confessed to the commission of the offence. Further, Goyal has also mentioned probing of alleged presence and complicity of one of the officers at Ballabgarsh who did nothing to save Junaid when the train stopped.

While the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti as well as the National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah have both strongly condemned the murder of the police officer as an unimaginable travesty and the height of barbarism, scanty political attention has been drawn to condemning the act of violence on the train to Ballabhgarh. In the otherwise selectively silent violence of the ruling government, the strong condemnation of the Ballabgarh incident by Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu is however, welcome.

Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Nirmal Singh is quoted to have said:

“I condemn it [the lynching of DSP Pandith] in the strongest words because it’s a crime. It’s a murder. The government will take it in that way and the police will take a strong action against them.”

Both, the lynching of the DSP and the stabbing of a Muslim teenager who had gone Eid shopping, are condemnable crimes. Both are murders and neither of them should attain coverage or be subjected to censure discriminately. The value and sanctity of human life cannot afford politicisation.

Vatsal Gosalia is a student (NLU Mumbai) and Vandita Khanna, a student of the Jindal Global Law School

originally published at https://www.sabrangindia.in/

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A searing look at the human cost of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots #Film

A docu on the anti-Sikh riots recalls the traumatic experience that the victims underwent

At the beginning of 1984, When the Sun Didn’t Rise , Teenaa Kaur says she inherited anger from her mother who has angry at Teenaa’s uncle being dragged out of a train and his hair being cut in the Delhi riots of 1984. He lived, but the loss of his identity sent him into a depression.

When a grown-up Teenaa struggled to make a life in Mumbai, she could not but wonder how Sikh women who had lost their husbands and family in the Delhi riots picked up the pieces of their life. “Many were barely literate, their husbands dead, savings gone, and after all that trauma had to survive.”

1984, When the Sun Didn’t Rise was screened in the Long Documentary competition section at the 10th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala here on Sunday.

Teenaa was doing research about the violence against Sikhs following the assassination of Indira Gandhi and all that found expression in a feature film screenplay that didn’t get made though for lack of takers.

She says that but for Amu , a film by Shonali Bose, and some amateur films made by members of the Sikh community and uploaded on YouTube, the 1984 incidents have been largely ignored in the visual format. “People had started forgetting about what happened. Only a few members of the Sikh community remembered it. It was painful, and it was convenient to forget it and move on.”

Teenaa then started working on the documentary. “I wanted the incidents to be remembered in the history of India so that discrimination on the basis of identity does not happen again.”

Getting the women to open up was not easy. “I wanted to connect with them, get them to trust me so that I could tell their stories.”

Talking to the widows made her realise that they were very strong women who were capable of living with their memories and still take care of their families. She came to understand that the widows had only other widows for company. They had got material help, but rarely any empathy.

Teenaa also found herself being sucked into their accounts. “I found it difficult to separate myself from them. I had to pull myself out of their stories and become a filmmaker. This took a long time.”

The film-maker reveals how it took almost two years to document one widow’s story. “Every time, she talked about the 1984 incidents she would fall ill, and her family was against it. I would wait outside her house and wait for her to be ready – emotionally and mentally – to talk to me. And I could understand because it was disturbing even for me to hear their accounts.”

These vivid and searing accounts form the core of Teenaa’s documentary.

The documentary also dwells on the consequences of the violence, even on youth and young children who find it difficult to negotiate their memories of what happened. The film, which was made over five years, received the Busan International Film festival’s Asian Network and Documentary Fund.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/a-searing-look-into-the-1984-anti-sikh-riots/article19101792.ece

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Using a Barbie doll – 12-year-old deaf and mute girl explains sexual assault on her #Vaw

Karishma Kotwal

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A deaf and mute girl was allegedly raped by her cousin who had come to her house during summer vacations
  • Police said the girl conveyed the details on what had happened to her by referring to the private parts of a doll

Using a Barbie doll, 12-year-old deaf and mute girl explains sexual assault on her

INDORE: A 12-year-old deaf and mute rape survivor used a doll to narrate the horror that she had to undergo at the hands of her cousin.

Dhar police along with counselors in Indore recorded the statements of the minor deaf and mute survivor using a doll on Tuesday.

The incident had left such an impact on the child’s mind that she became quiet and refused to interact with anyone. Following this, Dhar police contacted Anand Service Society director Gyanendra Purohit and his wife Monica to interact with the minor in sign language.

The couple reached the survivor’s house in Kumhar Gaddha area of Dhar and used a doll to record the statements of the girl.

Police said the girl conveyed the information on what had happened to her by referring to the private parts of the doll.

Initially, the minor, who was in a state of shock, did not disclose anything to her family. However, when she was no longer able to deal with the pain and excessive bleeding, she confided in her mother about the incident using sign language.

“The girl approached us along with her mother. Her mother told us that the girl’s 19-year-old cousin Omkar, who was living at her home for summer vacations, had raped her on finding her alone in the house,” Shailendra Singh Jadon, city Kotwali police station in-charge told TOI.

“The girl’s parents, who are daily wage labourers, had gone to work whereas her brothers were at school when the incident took place. Omkar allegedly locked the room and raped her. He also threatened her of dire consequences,” Jadon added.

While taking to the counselors, the minor started putting her hand in the lower apparel of the doll and also narrated the entire way in which the accused had ‘mistreated’ her.

“She was not comfortable in interacting about the incident and so we thought of bringing her a Barbie doll as a gift. There was also a male doll. She used both the dolls and showed us exactly how she was raped,” Gyanendra Purohit told TOI.

“A case has been registered and the accused will be arrested at the earliest. He had fled the house soon after the girl’s mother came to know about the incident,” said Jadon.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/using-a-barbie-doll-12-year-old-deaf-and-mute-girl-explains-sexual-assault-on-her/articleshow/59347601.cms

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Bihar- 8-year-old girl killed for plucking mangoes #WTFnews

An eight-year-old girl was tortured and killed for plucking mangoes from an orchard in Bihar’s Araria district, adjoining Nepal. The girl’s body bore cut marks and she was also subjected to electric shock.

mango
Basmatiya police station in Bihar’s Araria district where the case has been lodged.(HT photo)

ARARIA: An eight-year-old girl was allegedly tortured to death after she strayed into a private orchard to collect mangoes at a village bordering Nepal in Bihar’s Araria district on Sunday.

Amerun Khatun had gone shopping with her father, Ibrahim Safi, on the eve of Eid. While returning, she insisted on collecting some mangoes from an orchard, which was on way. Safi, however turned down her request, only to realise sometime later that Khatun had given him the slip in the milling crowd.

Hoping that his daughter would return home, which was nearby, Safi continued with his homeward journey. “It was only when she did not return till late Sunday evening that I got panicky. Later, villagers informed me that my daughter was lying in a pool of blood near a well, adjoining the orchard,” Safi said.

“I found my daughter murdered brutally. There were several cut marks on her body and she was subjected to electric shock as well, to give an impression that she had been accidentally electrocuted,” he added.

Accusing the owner of the mango orchard, Sanjay Mehta, and his henchmen to have killed his daughter, Safi claimed that blood stains were found in the mango orchard.

The incident took place at Teentikri village under Basmatiya police outpost along the Indo-Nepal border, 300 kms north-east of Patna.

Station house officer (SHO) of Basmatiya police station Sadanand Sah confirmed the injury marks on the victim’s body . “Only after we get the postmortem report can we ascertain the exact cause of death,” Sah added.

The SHO said the girl’s father had lodged a complaint against the orchard owner and his aide Vinod Mehta, who were absconding. He suspected that they had crossed over to Nepal.

Araria superintendent of police Sudhir Porika said, “We are trying to arrest the accused. We will definitely take action against the perpetrators of the crime.”

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Why are Indian women wearing cow masks?

 

A photography project which shows women wearing a cow mask and asks the politically explosive question – whether women are less important than cattle in India – has gone viral in the country and earned its 23-year-old photographer the ire of Hindu nationalist trolls.

“I am perturbed by the fact that in my country, cows are considered more important than a woman, that it takes much longer for a woman who is raped or assaulted to get justice than for a cow which many Hindus consider a sacred animal,” Delhi-based photographer Sujatro Ghosh told the BBC.

India is often in the news for crimes against women and, according to government statistics, a rape is reported every 15 minutes.

“These cases go on for years in the courts before the guilty are punished, whereas when a cow is slaughtered, Hindu extremist groups immediately go and kill or beat up whoever they suspect of slaughter.”

The project, he says, is “his way of protesting” against the growing influence of the vigilante cow protection groups that have become emboldened since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, came to power in the summer of 2014.

“I’ve been concerned over the Dadri lynching [when a Muslim man was killed by a Hindu mob over rumours that he consumed and stored beef] and other similar religious attacks on Muslims by cow vigilantes,” Ghosh said.

A woman with a cow mask in front of Delhi's India Gate
A woman with a cow mask in a college classroom

In recent months, the humble cow has become India’s most polarising animal.

The BJP insists that the animal is holy and should be protected. Cow slaughter is banned in several states, stringent punishment has been introduced for offenders and parliament is considering a bill to bring in the death penalty for the crime.

But beef is a staple for Muslims, Christians and millions of low-caste Dalits (formerly untouchables) who have been at the receiving end of the violence perpetrated by the cow vigilante groups.

Nearly a dozen people have been killed in the past two years in the name of the cow. Targets are often picked based on unsubstantiated rumours and Muslims have been attacked for even transporting cows for milk.

Ghosh, who is from the eastern city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), says he became aware of “this dangerous mix of religion and politics” only after he moved to Delhi a few years ago and that “this project is a silent form of protest that I think can make an impact”.

So earlier this month, during a visit to New York, he bought the cow mask from a party shop and, on his return, began shooting for the series, taking pictures of women in front of tourist hotspots and government buildings, on the streets and in the privacy of their homes, on a boat and in a train, because “women are vulnerable everywhere”.

“I photographed women from every part of society. I started the project from Delhi since the capital city is the hub of everything – politics, religion, even most debates start here.

“I took the first photo in front of the iconic India Gate, one of the most visited tourist places in India. Then I photographed a model in front of the presidential palace, another on a boat in the Hooghly river in Kolkata with the Howrah bridge as the backdrop.”

A woman with a cow mask in a train
A woman with a cow mask in front of the presidential palace

His models have so far been friends and acquaintances because, he says, “it’s such a sensitive topic, it would have been difficult to approach strangers”.

Two weeks ago when he launched the project on Instagram, the response was “all positive. It went viral within the first week, my well wishers and even people I didn’t know appreciated it.”

But after the Indian press covered it and put out their stories on Facebook and Twitter, the backlash began.

“Some wrote comments threatening me. On Twitter people started trolling me, some said I, along with my models, should be taken to Delhi’s Jama Masjid [mosque] and slaughtered, and that our meat should be fed to a woman journalist and a woman writer the nationalists despise. They said they wanted to see my mother weep over my body.”

A woman with a cow mask on a boat
A woman with a cow mask

Some people also contacted the Delhi police, “accusing me of trying to instigate riots and asking them to arrest me”.

Ghosh is not surprised by the vitriol and admits that his work is an “indirect comment” on the BJP.

“I’m making a political statement because it’s a political topic, but if we go deeper into the things, then we see that Hindu supremacy was always there, it has just come out in the open with this government in the past two years.”

The threats, however, have failed to scare him. “I’m not afraid because I’m working for the greater good,” he says.

A positive fallout of the project going viral has been that he’s got loads of messages from women from across the globe saying they too want to be a part of this campaign.

So the cow, he says, will keep travelling.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/40404102

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Aruna Roy -Memories Buried Deep have come back to Haunt Me:

by – Aruna Roy
I was born a year before independence, and my parents and I lived in Delhi. I still bear the scars of those memories of partition- the brutality of killings , hatred, anguish and my father’s fearless forays and his confrontation of the mobs, my mother’s anxieties ….. household stories for me. When I was 3 I saw pictures of the holocaust. The two horrors were born of genocidal politics.

I do not know how  my generation can be quiet, and party to a politics born of hate and revenge, it has seen a lot. No matter how we judge Gandhi today, let us not forget that he stood fearlessly, daring to bring reason to this madness. He died for it. Today those who tacitly approved of the assassination rule us.
We have to fight harder than ever to get sanity back. This is not a BJP vs Congress debate, or a 1984 vs 2002 argument. All genocidal killings have to be condemned. We have to speak for compassion, humanity and for India. It is the land of the Buddha and of seers and poets, of Kabir, the sufis, bhakti poetry , of Ramana and Ramakrishna, of Moinudding Chisthi and guru Nanak, its also the land where Thomas the apostle landed fleeing from persecution in the 1st century, where the Zoroastrians found shelter. It is also the land which gave space to Ramaswami Naicker, the whole stream of questioning caste, Phule and Ambedkar.
The persistent attacks are more than worrying. I see in these actions  a baiting of the Muslims, to provoke them to retaliate ; so that once some are provoked, we can bring in the bogey of Islamic terrorism to manage a huge concerted attack. This will lead to a state of permanent violence and the India we know will soon disintegrate in every way, which way. In short I am worried and very anxious.

My bottom line is that I am not willing to keep quiet where my principles and my country are being torn asunder. I will speak and do whatever I can. I am glad that this group exists, amongst others, and a realisation is dawning on us that every voice matters – small or big, from wherever it may come – to bring sanity back to our battered public life and space.

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Mumbai-Even pregnant women were not spared from assault in Byculla Prison

Manjula Shetye’s death on June 23 — allegedly after the prisoner was beaten up by jail staff inside Mumbai‘s Byculla district jail — highlights what really goes on inside India‘s prisons.

An external view of the Byculla district jail

Sushma Ramteke, who spent almost three years in Byculla jail as an undertrial on the charge of ‘association with Maoist ideology’, says she was beaten and humiliated by the jail staff.

Currently out on bail, she recounts what she encountered at the Byculla jail.

Daily routine

The wardens wake the inmates by 5 am. The inmates are made to sit in a line in groups of two.

By 5.45 am they open the gates of the barrack. 50, 60 undertrials are kept inside a barrack that has a capacity for just 25 people.

Once the counting of inmates is over, the undertrials get their tea and breakfast by 7 am.

After completing the work given to everybody by 10.30, 11 am the jail officials bring lunch.

Once lunch is over by 12.30 pm, everybody is again stuffed inside their respective barracks.

By 2, 2.30 pm everybody is again brought out from their cells for tea.

Soon after, by 3.30, 4 pm, dinner is distributed among the undertrials.

Those who like to eat hot food eat their dinner at around the same time while those who feel they may get hungry by bedtime keep their food and eat it later in the evening.

Those who feel hungry after an early dinner have no option but to wait the night out till breakfast arrives.

CCTV Camera

The dinner is nothing more than two rotis, watery dal, some vegetable and a bit of rice.

The food served is often of inferior quality. We protested often and agitated over it, but to no avail.

Nobody listens to your woes inside the Byculla jail.

Most of our agitations were about cockroaches, worms and lizards found in our food.

How the inmates are harassed

While the food quality, toilet facilities and hygiene are often used to harass undertrials, there are other ways adopted to tire and disturb the undertrials mentally.

The guards who are often supposed to accompany undertrials for hearings in court are often ‘absent’, so we are not allowed to go to hearings under this pretext.

They don’t allow the guards to take us for court hearings even when they are available. They tell us the guards are ‘absent’.

This results in huge delays in the trial proceedings. The case is stalled in court for want of the accused.

If not, this they invent excuses like there is a strike in the city.

If we insist on being produced in court, we are abused or manhandled.

This happens on many occasions.

The other ways in which inmates are harassed

The rebellious ones are woken up earlier than the others and made to work harder.

They are not given enough food so as to emaciate them by not giving them enough calories required by adults.

Their movements within and outside the barracks are restricted so that they don’t get enough fresh air.

They are not allowed to meet their relatives and are confined to the barracks.

The worst is solitary confinement, which is done to break down an inmate’s mental balance.

This has resulted in people suffering from mental disorders.

Beatings, almost a daily routine

During my 2 years, 9 months stay at Byculla jail I did not hear about the death of any woman inmate because of severe beating by the jail officials.

There were lot of cases of jail officials assaulting women inmates inside the jail.

Inmates would be beaten up severely for silly reasons.

If anybody opposed ill-treatment to fellow inmates, they were beaten black and blue.

Even pregnant women were not spared from such assaults.

I was seriously assaulted on November 8, 2013.

I intervened and asked why an inmate was being beaten.

She was standing in a queue when I saw women officials beat her. This inmate was pregnant.

I asked why she was being beaten. They beat me up black and blue for demanding an explanation and insubordination.

It was only when two African inmates threatened to go naked that I was spared.

If they (jail staff) had continued their assault, I would have been dead too.

A South African inmate Dyna was called into a room and severely beaten along with her son, who was barely three then.

There were bruises on his body when we saw him in the barracks.

His mother told us he fell unconscious after being beaten.

Everybody who leads protests against the high-handedness of jail officials is marked and is dealt with an iron hand when they get an opportunity.

Sushma Ramteke, former Byculla jail inmate

After my assault case, the CPDR (Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights) visited the jail the next day, that is, November 9, and spoke to me.

I could hardly walk or talk. They also met the jail officials.

This stopped further assaults and harassment.

My lawyers Sudeep Pasbola and Arif Siddiqui moved the sessions court the very next day, November 10.

Jail Superintendent Indurkar and I were summoned to the court.

Seeing my condition, the sessions judge ordered immediate medical treatment at the J J hospital as well as a magisterial enquiry which is (still) pending before the Sewri court.

I am saying this because it is important.

Prompt legal intervention saves the lives of inmates.

Senior officers turn a deaf ear

When jailors come for weekly visits on Wednesdays and Thursdays we would tell them about the inhuman treatment given to the inmates by prison officials.

While they would listen to us patiently and promise action or improvement in our conditions, nothing would change.

The jailors were not at all affected by our plight, not even when we told them that pregnant women were beaten up mercilessly by the jail staff.

During my stay in the prison I did not come across any case where an inmate’s private parts were assaulted.

From what I hear this sister (Manjula Shetye) was called into the office which is far away from the barracks.

Even when I was there, inmates were taken to this office and beaten up mercilessly.

Though we could not hear anything, the inmates would narrate what happened with them, how they were beaten up by the women officials in that office.

The other inmates were then intimidated to keep their mouth shut.

We were told that false cases would be lodged against us; we would never be let out of jail; we would be beaten more mercilessly.

The inmates would succumb to such pressure tactics and keep quiet.

Jail facilities

There are toilets inside the barracks, but the bathrooms are outside.

At night, inmates use these toilets.

When jail inmates are outside their barracks they can use 10 to 15 toilets and bathrooms at the ground level.

During monthly periods, those inmates who cannot afford to buy sanitary napkins on their own were given two pieces by the jail.

When these two are not enough, inmates have to make use of clothes.

Those whose families can afford send money orders to the inmates inside the jail and then they buy sanitary napkins from the jail canteen where they are sold.

http://www.rediff.com/news/special/even-pregnant-women-were-no-spared-from-assault/20170629.htm

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India bars Sikhs to visit Pak for Ranjit Singh death anniversary

Chandigarh:

The Centre has denied permission to a 251-member Sikh delegation to visit Pakistan on the occasion of death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the 19th-century Sikh empire, citing security reasons, the SGPC said Wednesday.The delegation, sponsored by the Shiromani GurdwaraParbandhak Committee (SGPC), was scheduled to visit Pakistan from June 21 to 29.

“The Centre has declined permission to the delegation to visit Pakistan due to security reasons,” SGPC secretary Harcharan Singh told PTI on Wednesday.

 

The Centre had informed the SGPC that if anyone wanted to visit Pakistan, then it should give an undertaking that the person was going there at one’s own risk to which the Sikh religious body did not agree, he said.

 

On being asked whether the neighbouring country was contemplating sending a train for the delegation up to theAttari-Wagha border, he said, “Permission was not given by theCentre. Therefore, there was no question of anybody going to Pakistan.”

Singh said some people were sent by a Ferozepur-based NGOto the Attari border to protest against the Centre’s decision.”But they were stopped by the police today ahead ofAttari. When the permission has been declined by the Centre, how can one go to Pakistan,” he said.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh died in Lahore on June 27, 1839.

Another delegation, which was to visit Pakistan last month for the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, was denied visa allegedly due to want of clearance from the Centre.

http://www.newsnation.in/amp/india-news/centre-bars-sikh-pilgrims-to-visit-pakistan-to-mark-178th-death-anniversary-of-maharaja-ranjit-singh-175508.html

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