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Archives for : September2017

Can the World Come to Its Senses on Nuclear Weapons?

By Bunny McDiarmid

Looking back, one of the key moments that was to define both my professional and personal path was the moment I stepped onto the small atoll of Rongelap, in the Pacific Ocean.

It was May 17, 1985 and I was 24 years old.

At first glance, it appeared as if I had reached paradise; sandy beaches with coconut trees, water so crystal clear you could see the bottom, meters deep. And yet nothing was as it should be.

Waiting for us on the beach, with flowers, was the local community. The women held a banner reading “we love the future of our children.”

I was there with the crew of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, to help them relocate. Their beloved island was making them sick, and what you couldn’t see here could kill you.

Bunny McDiarmid during the evacuation on May 17, 1985Back in March 1954, the atoll received a massive dose of radiation when the U.S. tested its most powerful nuclear weapon. The test was code named “Castle Bravo” and the people of Rongelap were given no warning and offered no protection.

Radioactive fallout rained down on the island, falling for days. It dissolved into the water supplies, into the sea, and onto the houses, gardens and people. It contaminated them all.

In the tropics, where people spend a lot of time outside, the children played in the fine white ash, thinking it was snow.

In the years that followed, it became clear to the people that their island was no longer safe. The impact of the radiation poisoning, impossible to clean, was revealing itself with time. The number of children that had their damaged thyroids removed, the number of women that had children born with severe deformities, known as “jellyfish babies,” was impossible to ignore.

They no longer trusted what the U.S. military scientists were telling them about the safety of their island. They were left with no choice but to leave, with little hope of ever returning.

Evacuation of Rongelap Islanders to Mejato by the crew of the Rainbow WarriorThe contrast between the beautiful setting and the criminal irresponsibility of the U.S. military who used these people as guinea pigs is still heartbreaking this many years later.

Aug. 29, marked the International Day Against Nuclear Tests.

And while every day during the past few months stands as a stark reminder as to why nuclear tests and nuclear weapons are so dangerous, today is a good day to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned in fighting nuclear tests, and, most importantly, how we carry on the fight to rid the world of this evil invention.

This year, we do so with renewed impetus.

As the last few months has revealed, the majority of the world’s nuclear warheads are in the hands of men for whom the idea of using them is becoming thinkable.

It is perhaps hard to imagine that not so very long ago, nuclear tests were common and held regularly. Hailed as a benchmark of scientific progress and the ultimate guarantee of security, nuclear weapons have been tested more than 2000 times since July 16, 1945, when the “Trinity” test was conducted by the U.S. army in New Mexico.

In the 60s and 70s, the number of tests peaked, before decreasing in number but continuing steadily until the late 90s.

The countries conducting the most tests were the U.S. with 1,054 tests, the USSR with 715, France with 210, and the UK and China with 45 tests each.

Public outrage and the relentless efforts of determined individuals across the world eventually led major powers to stop testing in the physical environment. Greenpeace first set sail as an organization in 1971 to stop nuclear weapons testing and the role that we played in this, alongside so many, fills me with pride.

Protest at the UN building in Geneva, encouraging nations to sign the CTBTIn 1996, major states signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty pledging to discontinue all nuclear testing. Although the treaty has never entered into force, nuclear testing essentially screeched to a halt with its adoption.

It forged an international zero-tolerance stance against nuclear testing. The handful of nuclear tests conducted after 1996 received universal condemnation and unanimously adopted UN Security Council sanctions.

The only country to have performed nuclear tests in the 21st century is North Korea—completing five tests in the past 11 years.

With the end of the Cold War, and with major powers signing various treaties committing them to disarm, media and public interest died down. We entered a period where many were living under the false pretense that the threat of nuclear war was something of the past.

And yet, the countries that have committed to disarming have not done so.

They have stalled, found excuses or blatantly ignored their commitments. The result is stark. Nearly 25 years after the end of the Cold War there are still an estimated 16,300 nuclear weapons at 98 sites in 14 countries. Rather than disarm, the nine nuclear-armed states continue to spend a fortune maintaining and modernizing their arsenals.

That false pretense under which we have been living has been shred to pieces during the last few months.

Nuclear war, it seems, is no longer inconceivable.

President Trump, who is the ultimate commander of the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal, (believed to consist of 6,800 warheads) has threatened North Korea with “fire and fury.” North Korea has threatened to attack the U.S. territory of Guam, in the Pacific Ocean. The threat of nuclear attack has become a bargaining chip, a threat spoken about all too easily and lightly.

These latest developments fill me with anger and even despair. Have we learned nothing from the past?

But I try to see the positive. At least the veil has been lifted, once again we are reminded of how high the stakes are, how fragile is our existence in a world where nuclear weapons are still so prevalent.

Activists hold a banner in front of the embassy of North Korea in Bern in 2006.These weapons of mass destruction are designed for one purpose only: war. Their use and even the threat of their use poses an existential threat to all life on our precious planet.

The solution to the current crisis is clear: negotiation and diplomacy. Only this can bring us back from the brink. But this is not enough, we can wait no longer for the countries in possession of nuclear weapons to disarm.

In July, a historic milestone was reached at the United Nations in New York when 122 countries voted in favor of a new treaty banning nuclear weapons.

In September, the treaty will open for signature. Nuclear armed states and many of their allies have boycotted the treaty and have done all they could to try and derail the negotiation. They failed, but their absence is significant as unless a country ratifies the treaty, it is not bound by it.

Nevertheless, the importance of the treaty is enormous—it will make it harder for the proponents of nuclear weapons to describe them as a legitimate and useful means to provide security. The treaty sets the benchmark for a world where nuclear weapons are considered as a threat to security, not an avenue to it.

In this time where the threat of war has become thinkable again, world governments must use it as an impetus to come to their senses and disarm.

Bunny McDiarmid is the executive director of Greenpeace International.

https://www.ecowatch.com/nuclear-weapons-disarmament-2479122660.html

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Did RSS Participate in Freedom Movement?

 

 

Ram Puniyani

 

Freedom movement was an all inclusive movement with the participation of people of all religions and regions. Its underlying premise was pluralism and the concept of Secular Democratic India, which bound all the people in the bonds of fraternity. Those who were for Muslim and Hindu nationalism kept aloof from this movement for ideological and political reasons.

 

Since last few decades the Hindu nationalists have been claiming that they also participated in the freedom movement and that it’s only the Congress-left historians who are trying to paint them in a negative picture vis a vis the struggle for independence. Rakesh Sinha presents the fantasies of RSS participation in freedom movement. His major sources for this claim are from the British intelligence reports. His claims that RSS took part in Civil Disobedience movement of 1930 and that the movement got invigorated due to Hedgewars’ participation in the same are a pure figment of imagination. It is true that Mr. Hedgewar did take part in this movement and was jailed for that, but that was purely at personal level to be able to meet the people who might support his agenda of Hindu Rashtra. There is not a single writing of his or of RSS exhorting the people to participate in the same. On the contrary there are authoritative references of his discouraging those who wanted to participate in the struggle for freedom.

 

What was the RSS leadership attitude to events regarding freedom movement becomes clear from the quote from M.S. Golwalkar’s, the second Sarsanghchalak of RSS, says he, “There was some unrest in the mind due to the situation developing in the country from time to time. There was such unrest in 1942. Before that there was the movement of 1930-31. At that time many other people had gone to Doctorji (Hedgewar). The delegation requested Doctorji that this movement will give Independence and Sangh should not lag behind. At that time, when a gentleman told Doctorji that he was ready to go to jail, Doctorji said ‘definitely go, But who will take care of your family then? That gentleman replied , “I have sufficiently arranged resources not only to run the family expenses for two years but also to pay fines according to requirement’, then Doctorji told him ‘If you have fully arranged for the resources then come out to work for Sangh for two years.’. After returning home that gentleman neither went to jail nor came out to work for the Sangh.”

 

On similar lines during 1942 when the turmoil began Golwlkar issued instructions that routine work of Sangh should continue and nothing should be done to annoy the British, “In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time too routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly.”  (Both these Quotes from Shri Guruji Samgra Darshan, Vol IV, page 39-40)This ideologue of RSS clearly spells that fighting against British has not been part of their agenda, “We should remember that in our pledge we have talked of freedom of the country through defending religion and culture, there is no mention of departure of British from here.”

 

The same is confirmed by C.P. Bhishikar’s biography of Golwalkar, Shri Guruji-Pioneer of a new Era, “It was with this clear understanding that the Sangh, as an organisation, decided not to plunge into the movement. Right from the beginning, the Sangh has decided to observe certain constraints in some matters.” (Page 47) “Right from the beginning, the Sangh has decided to observe certain constraints in some matters. So, when Doctorji decided to participate in the satyagraha, he directed the Swayamsevaks to keep out of it and conduct the Shakha work with regularity. He had kept the Sangh as such out of the agitation.” (page 48)”

 

Now Sinha wants us to believe that lakhs of volunteers of RSS participated in 1942 and many of them were punished severely by British. Sangh is known for its disciplined volunteers, so did RSS volunteers defy their SarsanghChalak to be part of the movement led by Gandhi? Even the British intelligence which was the basis of British circular warning the officers of political nature of Sangh needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as that was the interpretation of administration which was contrary to what RSS itself has always maintained that is a cultural organization and not a political organization.

 

Till quite late there were no claims of about participation in the struggle for India’s Independence. It is only once RSS/BJP inched closer to political power that such claims started being made. One of the earliest attempts in this direction has been that of our ex Prime Minister Vajpayee. In the wake of 1998 general elections he had issued an appeal for seeking votes, he wrote that not only was he working for RSS at shakha level, he also participated in the freedom movement! . His claim was around Bateshwar incident where he was arrested. Soon after his arrest he gave a confessional statement in the court. This statement of his helped him getting released from jail and it also named the leaders of Bateshwar campaign, which was part of Quit India Movement. In this confessional statement Vajpayee says that he had nothing to do with the damages caused to property which was done by the people who had gone to hoist the tricolor on the building. He confesses that he was not part of the procession and was a mere onlooker. Consequent to his apology he was released from the jail.

 

Mr. Sinha has fertile imagination and so he can claim that RSS participation in the Quit India movement was the proverbial last straw for British rulers. The fact is that that RSS routine work of Shakhas and camps continued as usual despite some people feeling uncomfortable about the same. Followers of Gandhi-Congress were on the streets and in jails.

 

Now RSS is trying to insert itself into the slot where it does not belong.

Ideologically Hindutva political organizations, despite their inner differences were mainly intent on undermining Muslim nationalism and for that goal had no problem in cooperating with British. All their efforts were to ignore the diversity of the nation manifested in Gandhi’s central slogan of Hindu-Muslim unity. Today a new construct is being brought to fore for electoral goals, and that is to erase the fact of their absence from the freedom struggle. At deeper level how could RSS be part of the movement for Indian nationalism, as RSS aim is totally in contravention to that as it stands for Hindu nationalism?

 

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Medha Patkar: From Peaceful Protester To Political Prisoner In Independent India

medha-narmada-fast

Fasting, according to Mahatma Gandhi, is a tactic that should be used only when other avenues of redress have been explored and failed. In a struggle that has spanned over 30 years, Medha Patkar and her Save the Narmada movement (Narmada Bachao Andolan, NBA) certainly cannot be accused of not using every possible avenue to secure justice for some 60 000 odd persons who have lost livelihoods and homes to the Sardar Sarovar Dam. They have advocated to politicians of every political party, stood for election to parliament and filed petitions in the courts to stop the dam, and subsequently limit its adverse impact to people and the environment. In 1991, Patkar received the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize” for her “inspired opposition to the disastrous Narmada Valley dams project and their promotion of alternatives designed to benefit the poor and the environment.” Yet, as the Indian political scientist Shiv Vishwanathan puts it so eloquently, today’s‘new India’ confronts Patkar and NBA with “indifference, silence and erasure.” It is to defy this indifference and break this silence that Patkar and eleven NBA colleagues chose to begin an indefinite fast on July 27 to protest against the Madhya Pradesh government’s inadequate rehabilitation policies for the 40 000 people who will be affected following a recent decision to raise the height of the dam.

For days, the Madhya Pradesh government and a large section of the Indian media ignored the small group of protesters fasting in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district.Then, instead of engaging in a dialogue with NBA, the authorities on August 9 forcibly removed Patkar and several others from the site of their protest. The police masked their violent tactics by insinuating that their action was motivated by concern for the deteriorating and fragile health of the protesters, but this pretext to disrupt the protest fooled no one. Patkar was held for two days in a private hospital against her wishes, while her colleagues were confined to a government hospital. It was clear that the Madhya Pradesh government did not want the possible martyrdom of activists to interfere with its plans to raise the height of the dam at any cost.

Unfortunately, the government’s attempt to quickly bury the issues by disrupting the protest inadvertently gave it the publicity it previously lacked, and the news that police used force against fasting protesters was covered by most of India’s major newspapers. The government, however, was in no mood to relent, and attempted to weaken the NBA movement by formally arresting Medha Patkar soon after her release from hospital on August 9, even as she attempted to resume her fast. She was charged of breaching the peace, engaging in assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duty, and most bizarrely, of kidnapping a government official. Subsequently, she was granted bail on all but the kidnapping charge. Anyone who has ever met Patkar – who is uncompromising in her belief in non violence – will find these charges to be beyond belief. The fact that the Madhya Pradesh High Court postponed her bail hearing scheduled for August 21 because the police did not produce the case diary reveals the extent to which the entire state apparatus of the Madhya Pradesh government is working overtime to keep Patkar in prison – solely for peacefully protesting and questioning government policy.

In undertaking her peaceful protest, Medha Patkar was merely exercising her right to assemble peacefully and without arms, guaranteed by Article 19(b) of the Indian Constitution. Further, India is obliged as a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to recognise the right of peaceful assembly. However, as CIVICUS, an influential international alliance of civil society organisations observes, “although India’s many civil society organisations have until recently enjoyed an enabling operating environment, civic space is being increasingly constrained because of government interference with the freedoms of association, expression, and peaceful assembly.”

During a month where countless articles have been printed celebrating and commemorating India’s 70th Independence Day, India’s government and policymakers would do well to reflect on the case of Medha Patkar. Patkar, a peaceful protester who has spent a lifetime engaging in Gandhian opposition tactics, spent Independence Day as a political prisoner in a cell in Dhar district jail. Fighting for the rights and livelihoods of those affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam – some of India’s most marginalised citizens – led Patkar to suffer the same fate as many of India’s freedom fighters jailed by the British colonial regime. Can a people be truly independent if a government that claims to represent them cracks down ruthlessly on dissent and throws human rights defenders in jail on trumped up charges? Does the State apparatus in India not know how to respond to anyone who mounts an effective challenge to its approach to ‘development’ in any way other than repression and imprisonment? How the world’s democracies and international organisations respond to this choking of India’s democracy and civil society personified by Patkar’s continued imprisonment will reveal how serious their commitment to halting the shrinking space for civil society truly is.

Sharan Srinivas is the Director of Research and Advocacy at the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

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‘This Is Crazy,’ Sobs Utah Hospital Nurse As Cop Roughs Her Up, Arrests Her For Doing Her Job

The detective didn’t have a warrant, first off. And the patient wasn’t conscious, so he couldn’t give consent. Without that, the detective was barred from collecting blood samples – not just by hospital policy, but by basic constitutional law.

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'This Is Crazy,' Sobs Utah Hospital Nurse As Cop Roughs Her Up, Arrests Her For Doing Her Job

The detective seized hold of the nurse, shoved her out of the building and cuffed her hands.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Nurse Alex Wubbels told policeman to not draw blood from burn victim
  2. Burn victim unable to give consent as he was sedated
  3. Police detective also did not have warrant to draw blood samples

By all accounts, the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit was professional and restrained when she told a Salt Lake City police detective he wasn’t allowed to draw blood from a badly injured patient.

The detective didn’t have a warrant, first off. And the patient wasn’t conscious, so he couldn’t give consent. Without that, the detective was barred from collecting blood samples – not just by hospital policy, but by basic constitutional law.

Still, Detective Jeff Payne insisted that he be let in to take the blood, saying the nurse would be arrested and charged if she refused.

Nurse Alex Wubbels politely stood her ground. She got her supervisor on the phone so Payne could hear the decision loud and clear. “Sir,” said the supervisor, “you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.”

Payne snapped. He seized hold of the nurse, shoved her out of the building and cuffed her hands behind her back. A bewildered Wubbels screamed “help me” and “you’re assaulting me” as the detective forced her into an unmarked car and accused her of interfering with an investigation.

The explosive July 26 afternoon encounter was captured on officers’ body cameras and is now the subject of an internal investigation by the police department, as the Salt Lake City Tribune reported Thursday. The videos were released by the Tribune, the Deseret News and other local media.

On top of that, Wubbels was right. The U.S. Supreme Court has explicitly ruled that blood can only be drawn from drivers for probable cause, with a warrant.

Wubbels, who was not criminally charged, played the footage at a news conference Thursday with her attorney. They called on police to rethink their treatment of hospital workers and said they had not ruled out legal action.

“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry, I feel a lot of things,” Wubbels said. “And I’m still confused.”

Salt Lake police spokesman Sgt. Brandon Shearer told local media that Payne had been suspended from the department’s blood draw unit but remained on active duty. Shearer said Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown had seen the video and called it “very alarming,” according to the Deseret News.

It all started when a suspect speeding away from police in a pickup truck on a local highway smashed head-on into a truck driver, as local media reported. Medics sedated the truck driver, who was severely burned, and took him to the University of Utah Hospital. He arrived in a comatose state, according to the Deseret News. The suspect died in the crash.

A neighboring police department sent Payne, a trained police phlebotomist, to collect blood from the patient and check for illicit substances, as the Tribune reported. The goal was reportedly to protect the trucker, who was not suspected of a crime. His lieutenant ordered him to arrest Wubbels if she refused to let him draw a sample, according to the Tribune.

A 19-minute video from the body camera of a fellow officer shows the bitter argument that unfolded on the floor of the hospital’s burn unit.

A group of hospital officials, security guards and nurses are seen pacing nervously in the ward. Payne can be seen standing in a doorway, arms folded over his black polo shirt, waiting as hospital officials talk on the phone.

“So why don’t we just write a search warrant,” the officer wearing
the body camera says to Payne.

“They don’t have PC,” Payne responds, using the abbreviation for probable cause, which police must have to get a warrant for search and seizure. He adds that he plans to arrest the nurse if she doesn’t allow him to draw blood. “I’ve never gone this far,” he says.

After several minutes, Wubbels shows Payne and the other officer a printout of the hospital’s policy on obtaining blood samples from patients. With her supervisor on speakerphone, she calmly tells them they can’t proceed unless they have a warrant or patient consent, or if the patient is under arrest.

“The patient can’t consent, he’s told me repeatedly that he doesn’t have a warrant, and the patient is not under arrest,” she says. “So I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do, that’s all.”

“So I take it without those in place, I’m not going to get blood,” Payne says.

Wubbels’s supervisor chimes in on the speakerphone. “Why are you blaming the messenger,” he asks Payne.

“She’s the one that has told me no,” the officer responds.

“Sir, you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse,” Wubbels’s supervisor says over the phone.

At that point, Payne seems to lose it.

He paces toward the nurse and tries to swat the phone out of her hand. “We’re done here,” he yells. He grabs Wubbels by the arms and shoves her through the automatic doors outside the building.

Wubbels screams. “Help! Help me! Stop! You’re assaulting me! Stop! I’ve done nothing wrong! This is crazy!”

Payne presses her into a wall, pulls her arms behind her back and handcuffs her. Two hospital officials tell him to stop, that she’s doing her job, but he ignores them.

“I can’t believe this! What is happening?” Wubbels says through tears as the detective straps her into the front seat of his car.

Another officer arrives and tells her she should have allowed Payne to collect the samples he asked for. He says she obstructed justice and prevented Payne from doing his job.

“I’m also obligated to my patients,” she tells the officer. “It’s not up to me.”

In Thursday’s news conference, Wubbels’s attorney Karra Porter said that Payne believed he was authorized to collect the blood under “implied consent,” according to the Tribune. But Porter said “implied consent” law changed in Utah a decade ago. And in 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that warrantless blood tests were illegal. Porter called Wubbels’s arrest unlawful.

“The law is well-established. And it’s not what we were hearing in the video,” she said. “I don’t know what was driving this situation.”

Wubbels has worked as a nurse at the hospital since 2009, according to the Tribune. She was previously an Alpine skier who competed under her maiden name in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics.

As a health-care worker, she said it was her job to keep her patients safe.

“A blood draw, it just gets thrown around like it’s some simple thing,” she said, according to the Deseret News. “But your blood is your blood. That’s your property.”

For now, Wubbels is not taking any legal action against police. But she’s not ruling it out.

“I want to see people do the right thing first and I want to see this be a civil discourse,” she said Thursday, according to the Deseret News. “If that’s not something that’s going to happen and there is refusal to acknowledge the need for growth and the need for re-education, then we will likely be forced to take that type of step. But people need to know that this is out there.”

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Kangana Ranaut attacks Hrithik Roshan: Girls get pregnant, get shot. I feared for my life

Kangana Ranaut’s shocking revelations regarding her alleged relationship with Hrithik Roshan are again making news. The Simran star says she feared for her life during the public spat with Hrithik.

HT
Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan have been engaged in one of the ugliest public spats Hindi film industry has ever seen. Kangana has now demanded a public apology from Hrithik and his father, Rakesh Roshan.
Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan have been engaged in one of the ugliest public spats Hindi film industry has ever seen. Kangana has now demanded a public apology from Hrithik and his father, Rakesh Roshan.

Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut has been creating a storm – not just with her stellar performances and her choice of films – she has made startling and shocking revelations for the past two years regarding her past relationships, especially her alleged affair with Hrithik Roshan. And now, Kangana has said she feared for her life during the public spat with the Krrish star.

In an interview to Rajeev Masand, Kangana said, “There are so many things that happen in extramarital things really. Look at what happened in the Malayalam (actress) case. What that man did to her for a complaint to his wife. He got her raped, got her videos circulated. All this only happened now but girls get pregnant, they get shot, they get killed for things like these. Of course, I feared for my life,” she said.

Kangana was referring to the abduction and molestation of a Malayalam actress, allegedly by actor Dileep. According to the police, Dileep got the actress abducted as she complained to his first wife Manju Warrier that he was having an extramarital affair with Kavya Madhavan. Dileep has been arrested in the case. Kangana has alleged that while she was in a consensual relationship with Hrithik, the Kaabil actor has denied her claims.

She also asked for an apology from Hrithik and his father Rakesh Roshan, “I’m still waiting to meet him face-to-face and exchange two words on this and sort this out, but he’s been running and hiding from me. He (Hrithik Roshan) and his father (Rakesh Roshan) have made fools of themselves, they should apologise to me in public. Even if they don’t, I will clarify to the world what happened to the case. The case has not died down. They couldn’t prove anything.”

Talking about how Hrithik claimed that Kangana was interacting on mail with an impostor and not him, Kangana said on the show, “He (Hrithik Roshan) and his father claimed they would expose me and shock the world, but they couldn’t prove anything. He (Hrithik) slapped a notice saying, ‘She caused great harm to my reputation because she called me a ‘silly ex.’ I am the silly ex.’ But, he couldn’t prove it. So, he changed his stance and said, ‘She’s right, she had an affair, but that wasn’t me, it was an imposter.’ But, he couldn’t prove that also.”

Kangana and Hrithik were engaged in a public war when she talked about her ‘silly ex’ in an interview. Hrithik retorted to this with a rather nasty tweet, writing, “Ther r more chances of me having had an affair with d Pope dan any of d (Im sure wonderful)women d media hs ben naming.Thanks but no thanks (sic).”

Ther r more chances of me having had an affair with d Pope dan any of d (Im sure wonderful)women d media hs ben naming.Thanks but no thanks.

Later, Hrithik sent a legal notice to Kangana. “Since quite sometime you (Kangana) have been insinuating and trying to create an image within the film industry through print and social media and in public at large that there was some relationship between our client (Hrithik) and you,” the notice sent by Hrithik’s advocate Deepesh Mehta on February 26, 2016 said.

Watch Kangana in conversation with Rajeev Masand

Kangana answered with a counter-notice, asking Hrithik to take back his notice or face a criminal case. Hrithik has maintained he has met Kangana only publically and that Kangana has been communicating with an impostor on email. The Mohenjo Daro actor also filed a complaint with Mumbai Police’s Cyber Cell department in this regard and some of the emails written by Kangana to Hrithik also found their way to social media.

On Rajeev’s show, Kangana alleged that Hrithik misused her email account since he had the password for it. “I never knew he will send so many emails to himself from my account. I even complained to his father that I don’t know what your son is up to. He used to stay logged in to my account throughout the night. Then his father (Rakesh Roshan) promised to help me but he never did. Ultimately, I shut the account.” But she admits that out of all the emails, some of them were written by her when she was in New York.

Kangana is at present shooting for her Rani Jhansi biopic, Manikarnika, while Hrithik Roshan is supposed to have started work on a film Super 30

 

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Zee News fined Rs one lakh for labelling scientist and poet Gauhar Raza labelled as ‘anti national ‘

Mr. Gauhar Raza, an eminent scientist and poet, was maligned, defamed and hate engineered against him by the malicious, concocted and motivated news telecast carried by Zee News in March, 2016. Mr. Raza was branded as a part of an “Afzal Premi Gang” for reciting his poems in the ‘Shankar – Shaad Mushaira’.

A complaint was then filed by Mr. Raza with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority against Zee News along with another joint complaint filed by eminent artists like Mr. Ashok Vajpeyi, Ms. Shubha Mudgal, Ms. Sharmila Tagore and Dr. Syeda Hameed. Advocate Vrinda Grover arguedf on behalf of Gauhar Raza and other complainants.

The NBSA, vide its order, has upheld the constitutional right of Mr. Raza to freedom of speech as well as his right to dissent, and held that media house Zee News cannot use their might to intimidate citizens and prevent them from exercising their constitutional right to dissent and freedom of expression.
Upholding the rights of Mr. Gauhar Raza, ZEE news channel has been held liable for their false, malicious and distorted coverage. NBSA has directed that

• to publish an Apology on 08.09.2017 at 09:00 pm on their channel, in Hindi text, in large font size, on full screen, and a clearly audible vioce over in slow speed

• Fine of Rs. 1 lakh to be paid in 7 days.
The NBSA has awarded the highest punishment in its jurisdiction, reaffirming that big media houses cannot trample over the rights of citizens to freedom of speech and expression, which includes the right to dissent.

Zee News, the flagship channel of Zee Media Group, had gone all guns blazing at an innocous poetry symposium that is organised in Delhi annually. The channel’s latest campaign comes at a time when it is facing allegations of airing unverified videos and misleading the public debate on the issue of sedition.

The prestigious Shankar-Shad Mushaira is organised in memory of Urdu poets Shankar Lall and Murli Dhar, who were also renowned social, academic and cultural personalities. It celebrates the shared literary heritage of India and Pakistan and seeks to spread the message of peace.

 

The 51st edition of the event held on Saturday, 5 March, at Delhi’s Shankar Lall Hall and was attended by eminent poets from India, Pakistan, the United States and Qatar attended the Mushaira. The channel recently ran a news programme, terming the symposium a meeting of “Afzal-Premi gang” (a gang of Afzal lovers).

Zee News played a poem recited by the renowned Indian scientist and poet Gauhar Raza at the symposium and called him an ‘anti-national’ who supports Afzal Guru. The show was hosted by Zee News’ controversial editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhury, who termed Raza’s poem against India’s interests.

THE GHAZAL:

Dharm me lipti watan parasti kya kya swang rachayegi,

masli kaliyan, jhulsa gulshan, zard khizaan dikhlayengi..

Europe jis vahshat se ab bhi sehma sehma rehta hai,

khatra hai wo vahshat mere mulq mein aag lagayegi..

German gaskado (gas chambers) se ab tak khoon ki badboo aati hai,

andhi watan parasti hum ko us raste le jayegi..

Andhe kuen me jhooth ki naav tez chali thi maan liya,

lekin bahar roshan dunia tum se sach bulwayegi..

Nafrat me jo pale badhe hain, nafrat me jo khele hain,

nafrat dekho aage aage unse kya karwayegi..

Fankaron se pooch rahe ho kyun lautaye hain samman,

Poocho, kitne chup baithe hain, sharm unhe kab aayegi..

Yeh mat khao, wo mat pehno, ishq to bilkul karna mat,

deshdroh ki chap tumhare upar bhi lag jayegi..

Yeh mat bhulo agli naslein roshan shola hoti hain,

aag kuredoge, chingari daaman tak to aayegi…

Raza, who has also made a documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots, is open about his differences with the BJP‘s ideology. “Every individual or party has a freedom to propagate the ideas of their choice in Indian democracy,” he says. “Dissent has a very important place in any democracy. However, it is being equated with anti-nationalism in today’s scenario.”

 

Zee News, the fourth-most-viewed Hindi news channel, has been at the forefront of running a pro-establishment campaign, airing unverified videos and polarising the debate on nationalism over the past few weeks in India. Its editor Sudhir Chaudhury, accused of running an extortion racket, has termed the channel’s approach to news “instant journalism”, where “same day you raise an issue, by evening you reach a conclusion”.

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Delhi HC instructs that no eligible and deserving person should be left out of the ambit of food security

Delhi High Court directs Delhi government to operationalise transparency, grievance redress and accountability provisions of National Food Security Act, says no deserving person should be left out of the ambit of food security*

 

(Photo: Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan report)

In a landmark hearing today, a bench of the Delhi High Court comprising Chief Justice Geeta Mittal & Justice C. Hari Shankar said that were appalled to note that the Delhi government had failed to promulgate rules under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) including those related to transparency, grievance redress and accountability provisions despite passage of more than 3 years since the enactment of the law.

The Court directed the government to frame Rules and operationalise all provisions of the law in a time-bound manner to ensure proper functioning of ration shops in Delhi. Rules under the law are required to be framed by the State government, but till date the Delhi government had not promulgated any rules.

These directions came in an ongoing case filed by the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan against Aadhaar being made mandatory for receiving ration under the National Food Security Act. The High Court said that no deserving and eligible person should be left out of the ambit of food security. Several affidavits were filed by people testifying how either they themselves or members of their family were excluded from the National Food Security Act as they did not possess Aadhaar at the time when ration cards were made. The Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan informed the court that it had identified many more cases of exclusions of the most marginalised sections of society- homeless, transgenders, residents of slums etc.- due to Aadhaar being a mandatory condition for accessing rations.

In the last hearing the Court had appointed Mr. Zoheb Hossain (advocate) to act as a commissioner of the court and meet with people who are being excluded from food security due to Aadhaar and also visit the shops where Aadhaar enabled Point of Sale (POS) devices were installed. The report of the Commissioner recorded the problems faced by people due to Aadhaar being mandatory and also the problems in areas where Aadhaar based biometric authentication through Point of Sale (POS) device was made mandatory for receiving food entitlements from ration shops. It is the first time that a report by an independent person appointed by the court has confirmed that making Aadhaar mandatory for receiving ration has led to exclusions. In fact even the response filed by the Delhi government admitted that there were problems in the delivery of ration using Point of Sale devices- like network coverage, lack of electricity, biometric failures etc.,- due to which the government had to allow manual distribution of rations.

The commissioner’s report also highlights that Aadhaar in itself cannot resolve all the issues plaguing the public distribution system. When the commissioner visited the ration shops to examine the problems due to POS devices, the shops were found to be closed during working hours. The Commissioner had to call up the Food Department officials in order to get the ration shops to open. The High Court noted that poor functioning of ration shops is a key problem which hinders peoples’ ability to access rations.

The Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan also put before the court its report on ‘Peoples’ Assessment of the Implementation of Transparency, Grievance Redress and Accountability Measures of the National Food Security Act in Delhi’ which on the basis of physical inspection of 250 shops (10% of all ration shops in Delhi) found that: more than 60% shops were shut during working hours; most shops did not display requisite information of rights of ration cardholders; in many cases shops were selling poor quality of grains, overcharging etc. The report highlights that complaints about non-delivery of ration are wide-spread across low income and marginalised communities in Delhi.

The National Food Security law provides for mandatory periodic social audits and setting up of State Food Commission. Till date, no social audit has been undertaken and there is no functional State Food Commission in Delhi. Further the law also requires appointment of District Grievance Redressal Officers, internal grievance redressal mechanism and transparency of ration related records. These provisions have not been properly implemented in Delhi.

The Court said that it was inclined to appoint local commissioners to monitor functioning of ration shops in Delhi. There are 2500 ration shops in Delhi and about 72 lakh people who have been identified as beneficiaries so far.

The case is now listed for hearing on September 19. The Delhi Rozi Roti Abhikar Abhiyan was represented by Mr. Sanjay Parikh, Apar Gupta and Prasanna.

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Dozens detained as Tamil Nadu braces for the next storm — Anitha

S Anitha, daugher of a casual labourer, recorded spectacular performance in Class XII examinations on the State board syllabus.

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu returned to the brink of a potent expression of public anger after the death of S Anitha, who killed herself in despair over her failure to obtain medical admission despite scoring very high marks in Plus 2.

Protests erupted across the State, mostly by youth and smaller opposition parties, which were immediately brought under control by police. But more are in store for Saturday, when a number of outfits will stage agitations in front of central and state government offices.

Fearing a repeat of the jallikattu protests that quickly spiralled out of their control, police have already begun to take many into preventive custody. But it remains to be seen if this would help quell the fire.

The anger would be directed against the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and perhaps even Nirmala Sitharaman, the speculated future face of the BJP in Tamil Nadu, who had assured the State Board students that Tamil Nadu would receive an exemption from NEET through an ordinance.

The State government and the leaders here, too, are sure to come under heavy fire from the protestors for the way the whole matter was dragged till the very end. All the while, there were thousands of students waiting for their dream medical seat, a hope that was fuelled by the government here.

What would surely make things worse for the ruling AIADMK is the reaction from at least a section of their leaders, including an IT wing office-bearer who raised questions about Anitha’s “sponsors” who helped her file the case at the Supreme Court and paid for her flight ticket.

Hari Prabhakaran, the joint secretary of the IT wing and also a member of the social media team of deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, has since put Anitha’s image as his profile photo, though the damage has already been done.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2017/sep/02/dozens-detained-as-tamil-nadu-braces-for-the-next-storm–anitha-1651348.html

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Admiral Ramdas’ Open Letter To President of India -Ram Nath Kovind

admiral-ramdas

Honorable President Shri Ram Nath Kovindji,

Let me at the outset congratulate you on assuming office as the 14th President of the Republic of India.

The Armed Forces of India – of whom you are the Supreme Commander, have a different and special relationship with their President and I was especially struck by your unambiguous reference to the fact that it is your duty to “protect the Constitution and uphold its values.”

Yes, you are now every Indian’s President, and I deeply appreciate that you have pledged to work for the oppressed and downtrodden. In your acceptance speech you spoke of your own experience of poverty and exclusion and have pointed out that it was your commitment to the spirit of service, in the great traditions of our country that has brought you from your village of Paraunkh, to Rashtrapathi Bhavan in the capital. You have also stated that “my election to the post of President reflects the greatness of Indian democracy”, and stressed that you will “serve the Nation in the spirit of ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah’ (May all be happy)”.

Like you, we in the armed forces too are also sworn to defend our Country and also to protect and defend the Constitution of India. And it is on this important aspect sir, that I, as one of the senior most retired servicemen in the country, would like to share some of my thoughts and concerns with my Supreme Commander today.

I am proud to have served my country for nearly 45 years in uniform. I retired as the Chief of the Naval Staff on 30 September 1993, after joining the first course of the Joint Services Wing – the forerunner to todays NDA. I too come from a humble background – my grandfather was a village postman in the small South Indian town of Palghat, and our family joined many of those who migrated from a rural area to then Madras- and eventually to Bombay and finally to Delhi. It was also there I was personally witness to the terrible violence and savagery of partition and proud to also see men like my father, shelter his good friend Ghulam Mohammed and his family in our home – telling the mobs baying for his blood that they would have to kill him first. These were the formative years as I grew up – a child of Independence.

In many ways, my life in the service parallels our trajectory since Independence. The compelling reason that attracted many of us to join the services in those days was the powerful motivation that we would be laying the foundation and helping to build this new, free and independent country.

Although the country has achieved a lot and made progress in certain areas, in many others we have remained backward, and stuck in our age old blind beliefs, regressive social mores, and in recent times have allowed the forces of religious hyper nationalism to endanger the fundamental constitutional provisions and promises of a tolerant, equitable nation where there would be dignity for all and freedom of thought, speech and expression. I fear our Constitution is under attack and faces grave threats from the forces that have been let loose.

Sir, we in the Defence Forces are a microcosm of India. We have people of all faiths, denominations, castes and creed to make up our very professional military force. We work as a team, do not discriminate or shower largesse on any one class, caste or community, and in the Navy especially, believe in the age old saying that “We swim or sink together”. The emphasis in the Services has always been on inclusiveness and camaraderie.

Alas these values and traditions, built and nurtured over nearly seven decades, are today threatened as never before.

The increased intolerance at all levels, the shocking assault and treatment of our minority communities – especially Muslims, the growing tendency to take the law into their own hands by lynch mobs and Gau Rakshaks – and the continuing impunity with which your own community, Dalits, as also OBCs, Adivasis and women, are targets of physical, sexual and verbal abuse and attacks brings no credit to our proud heritage and tradition.

The age old principles of dignity and respect for all, have almost totally given way to a barely concealed right to those with money and power to do as they will – and corruption in all these many forms has increased across the board.

While in uniform we are governed by our respective Army, Navy and Airforce acts to which Servicemen have to conform. One foregoes the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution. However this is not so with retired personnel who revert to their primary role as citizens.

Sir, I feel it is important to point out that during my nearly 25 years in retirement I have engaged with a large number of issues and struggles of the people of this land. I was part of a seven year long struggle to save farmers including myself,being evicted thanks to SEZ; Muslims,  Dalits and Adivasis targeted as either terrorists, anti nationals or Maoists; the indiscriminate application of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the trampling of all norms to protect environment. To add to all of these has been the increasing use, by this and earlier regimes, to be quick to use the allegation of sedition and label people, incuding myself, as anti-national merely for expressing dissent or a point of view which is different from the mainstream – be it on nuclear matters,or promoting dialogue for peace with our neighbours, including Pakistan. I have on several occasions pointed out that the hydra headed monster of religious intolerance is causing permanent damage to our plural, syncretic and secular democracy.

Last week I watched with deep distress a dalit woman and Bezwada Wilson, a recent Magsaysay award winner like me, spoke of the continued indignity of their lives as manual scavengers. And every day we are reading and hearing of unwarranted attacks on our Muslim and even Christian minority. It would be tragic if we allowed all the struggles of our freedom fighters to undertake this unique task of building a secular, plural and rainbow nation of faiths, creeds, communities, languages and gender, to end up in an un-democratic, intolerant, Hindu Rashtra kind of structure, when our neighbours are striding in the opposite direction – be it Bangla Desh, Nepal or Sri Lanka.

India has always followed the path and shown the way towards non violence and tolerance – essential pre-conditions for Peace in our region. People still speak of our contribution to the dynamic idea of Panch Shila . We are looking to you Sir to use this historic mandate and extraordinary opportunity of being the second Dalit to occupy the highest office in the land, to steer this nation away from the narrow path of violent hyper nationalism towards the concept of Dharma and Righteousness in the grand tradition of all our Saints, Sufis and Gurus. I believe that the President and Supreme Commander is in a unique position to wield his power and authority wisely and creatively.

As the Supreme Commander and President – you have it in your hands to outline and chart a totally new direction for our people and to advise the Prime Minister and his cabinet accordingly. You have only to call on the millions of foot soldiers, the women and the men who are yearning to see a very different India, to work with you to realise the vision of all those women and men who have contributed to building our vast and amazingly rich and plural heritage.

As a former Service Chief, I can confidently say that the spirit of service and camaraderie and a nationalistic impulse which is tolerant and inclusive, still obtains in our armed forces. If you show the way and give the call – believe me our years of discipline because of which we have honoured the principle of civil control over the military and have never  veered towards any kind of Military takeover as in our neighbourhood – we veterans are ready to contribute towards national development in the best sense of that word. Let us always remember though that civil authority does not mean civil service or bureaucratic control. As Supreme Commander you also have the privilege of ensuring that the genuine demands of the service and ex service men and women are studied and honoured .

We are inhabiting an India where there is growing discrimination, and also growing alienation of our youth and unrest in the temples of learning – our universities. There is also growing fear and insecurity. And given that our comrades in the armed forces – our sailors, airmen and jawans – come from villages and towns across the country – they cannot but be affected deeply by what they are seeing around them. Their morale and self esteem is constantly under threat. How does a sergeant in the Air Force feel when his own father, Mohammed Akhlaq is made a target of utterly irrational mob behavior and killed – merely on the suspicion of keeping beef in their home?

In the long run this will affect their own professional performance and therefore our National Security.

I have written several letters over the years to several Presidents, and Prime Ministers, sharing my thoughts and fears. Some have responded and some have not. I believe it is not just our right, but our responsibility as senior citizens who have held the highest positions in the country, to bring some of our observations and concerns to you and it is in that spirit that I write this letter.

I look forward to hearing from you Sir- and also to meeting you when I next travel to Delhi. I have every reason to believe that you will rise to the occasion as our Supreme Commander and will not fail us in this critical hour.

With highest regards,

Jai Hind

L.Ramdas
Honorable Shri Ram Nath Kovind
President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan
NEW DELHI
110011

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Rajasthan – 45% maternal deaths due to delay in decision on delivery: Social audit

Nearly half of the maternal deaths in Rajasthan take place due to the delay by family members in deciding where they should take the pregnant woman for delivery, a social review has revealed.

JAIPUR T

P Srinivasan
Hindustan Times
According to Sample Registration System 2013, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Rajasthan is 244.
According to Sample Registration System 2013, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Rajasthan is 244.(HT Photo)

Nearly half of the maternal deaths in Rajasthan take place due to the delay by family members in deciding where they should take the pregnant woman for delivery, a social review has revealed.

The social review was conducted from September 2014 till July 2017, Dr Tarun Choudhary, project director, maternal health, said. A total of 760 maternal deaths were reported during the period. Of these 45% were due to the indecisiveness of family members on whether to call a midwife; take the pregnant woman to a quack; or get the delivery done at home with the help of elderly women.

Choudhary said this indecisiveness stems from social or personal beliefs. “These (760) maternal deaths were those that took place either at home or on the way to hospital. The major reason of these maternal deaths was lack of awareness about the service availability,” he said.

Of the 760 deaths, 12% were due to delay in transportation and 8% due to delay in treatment, Choudhary said.

According to Sample Registration System 2013, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Rajasthan is 244.

After a maternal death is reported, a social review is carried out at anganwadi centre on mother and child nutrition (MCHN) day that is organised every Thursday. The anganwadi worker, family members of the deceased, a teacher, panch and doctor from primary health centre review the reasons behind the death. The issues discussed include whether the pregnant woman had gone for ante natal care, was administered tetanus injection and given iron folic acid tablets, and whether she had got proper transport facility to the hospital.

Choudhary said some progress has been made in bringing down the maternal mortality by creating awareness about the service availability. He said the pregnant woman and her family are encouraged to go for institutional delivery. They are informed about the available ambulances and taxis to reach the nearest delivery point. Regular check-ups under Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matratva Abhiyan is organised on 9th of every month across the state. Similarly, Surakshit Matratva Diwas is organised every alternate Friday at community health centres and Prasuti Niyojan Diwas is held on last Thursday of every month at the sub centre. Kushal Mangal Karyakram is also organised to identify high risk pregnancies.

Choudhary claimed that with awareness, the institutional delivery has gone up to 84% as per National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16).

He said compared 55% deaths due to delay in taking decisions in 13 months, from September 2014 to September 2015, the figure came down to 33% in the 13-month period of October 2015 to October 2016. Similarly, deaths due to delay in transportation came down to 8% from 15% during the same review period.

Contacted, National Health Mission chief Naveen Jain said, “Rajasthan is the only state in the country that had introduced social review of maternal deaths to know the reasons and plug in the gaps. This was started in September 2014.”

He said this idea of ‘social review/audit’ was taken from Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Based on the findings, many gaps have been plugged.

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