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Archives for : November2017

India – 3 Reasons Why the Big Media Blacked Out The Massive Workers Mahapadev (Sit In)

 

THE CITIZEN BUREAU


 NEW DELHI: They came in the thousands. They came from all over India. They came to demand their rights. They were in Delhi for three days.

They were the workers of India, the mazdoors, the oppressed labour. Amongst them were hundreds of women, as vocal, as aware of their rights as the men. They came in protest against the anti-worker policies of the current government, to raise an united voice, to demand their rights.

They were blacked out by the big media. Not a word appeared on television channels, in the major newspapers, about this huge protest in the heart of the national capital. It was as if it did not happen where the media was concerned, redefining news in its desire to please the corporate and political bosses.

Is this not news:

The video by Newsclick captures the crowd, the anger, the enthusiasm. And yet this was not seen as news by the big media, all owned by corporate houses and all working to preserve the political-business nexus.

The workers come in the way of this corporate-political nexus. This is the first reason why the huge rally that continued for three days, with the workers drawn from all segments of life—industrial, agrarian, mining—giving an insight into the India that seems to have been factored out of the headlines of the corporate driven media. Both suspicious and fearful of the organised trade union movement, with the massive mobilisation by the Left parties in particular, adding to the rich and powerful paranoia.

Media houses and corporate houses worked to destroy the trade unions in newspapers through the 19980-1990’s to ensure that the press workers and the working journalists were contained and controlled. Television ensured a crippling blow with contracts favouring the management replacing the daily wage board pay scales. And as the trade unions disappeared one by one in the newspaper industry , the management control over the workers intensified, with even editors now hired and fired at will with merit and capability hardly being the qualification.

Second, the workers are seen as anti-employers. Their demands thus increase the pressure on the business houses, and the governments that are resistant to conceding what the poor of India need and want. For instance on the last day Parliament street had turned into a sea of women asking for better wages, health and education care, all pretty low on the list of those who are in government and those who control government. Hence the media, that works under the employers, decided not to give space to over a lakh of workers and their demands.As pressure makes the ‘employers’ uncomfortable and thus is has become the duty of the owned and subservient media to ensure that comfort levels are not damaged.

Wages was a major issue. No revision of wages, low wages, undue cut of wages, and various methods used to ensure that the workers do not get what is their due.

“Jo hamse takrayega, choor choor ho jayega” shouted the workers as their leaders told the handful of reporters who were there representing alternative media that the central employees felt cheated, betrayed, over the 7th Planning Commission. They spoke of how work had increased manifold, wages had not, as government jobs were not filled and vacancies continued. There has been no wage revisions for instance of postal employees working in the rural areas, no confirmations, no revision. Trade union facilities are being withdrawn instead, and the government-corporate nexus is working in unison to marginalise the workers.

Those who own the newspapers too feel vulnerable against workers unity, and hence are at one with the nexus to black out the poor of India.

Three, workers are India’s toiling masses from coal mines, to anganwadis, to landless labour. They are not the consumer class, and bring no direct benefit to the advertising and TRP linked revenues of the big media. Giving them even a passing mention is thus worthless, as it brings no money and instead for the reasons cited above actually cuts into the revenue with the workers demanding a fair slice of the growth pie. By giving them space the big media does not want to justify or highlight their cause. Somehow the ostrich like approach has replaced conscientious and fair reportage, a belief that if the media ignores an event and buries its head in the sand, it will pass.

But as the workers said without hesitation, they have no respect left for the media. “Who cares whether they report or do not, your reporters are just bought by big money,” a woman from ASHA said smiling through the apparent belligerence. There was not a single voice that spoke of the media with any level of regret saying instead, “why should we bother, you are not going to write about us here or in our work place, you are not interested but the people’s voice cannot be stopped. A trade union leader pointed out, “we were here a few years ago, over a lakh of workers right outside Parliament but your media did not even notice us.”

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/2/12229/3-Reasons-Why-the-Big-Media-Blacked-Out-The-Massive-Workers-Mahapadev-Sit-In

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Congress wins Chitrakoot by-election, defeats BJP by over 14,000 votes

In Big Boost, Congress Keeps BJP Out In Key Madhya Pradesh Seat
Chitrakoot Assembly By-Election Result:Congress candidate Neelandhu Chaturvedi beats BJP’s Shankarlal Tripathi by more than 14,000 votes
Image result for chitrakoot electionT

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Congress’ Nilanshu Chaturvedi defeated his nearest rival, Shankar Dayal Tripathi of the BJP, by 14,133 votes in the bypoll
  • Though 12 candidates were in the fray, the main contest in the bypoll was between Chaturvedi and Tripathi

Chitrakoot by-election result 2017: Congress’s Neelandhu Chaturvedi beat BJP’s Shankarlal Tripathi.
BHOPAL:
HIGHLIGHTS
Congress wins Chitrakoot by-poll that saw high-profile campaigning
A Congress stronghold, it had fallen vacant after death of legislator
Neelandhu Chaturvedi beat BJP’s Shankarlal Tripathi by over 14,000 votes
In face of a super-aggressive BJP campaign, the Congress today retained its stronghold, the assembly seat of Chitrakoot, by a margin of more than 14,000 votes. The seat had fallen vacant after the death of sitting legislator Prem Singh, who won it three times.

Chitrakoot is one of the three Congress strongholds – including Mungaoli and Kolaras — that go to polls ahead of the assembly elections in the state which will be held at the end of next year. The Congress has high hopes of winning the election, owing to what it sees as anti-incumbency against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.

The BJP, which has been in power in the state for three straight terms, fought hard to wrest the seat, deploying nearly half of its cabinet to campaign in the area. The Chief Minister, who led the charge, had camped out in the area for three days, during which he held 23 rallies. Leaders from other states – including Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya — also came to campaign for the election.

But the BJP showing was poor in all the 16 areas they focused on.

After the results were announced — in which Congress’s Neelandhu Chaturvedi beat BJP’s Shankarlal Tripathi by 14,333 votes — Mr Chouhan tweeted saying public mandate was supreme in democracy.

“I thank the people for their support. Nothing will come in the way of Chitrakoot’s development. My aim is to develop entire Madhya Pradesh,” the tweet read.
For the Congress, it was also a prestige battle.

The Vindhyas had been the home turf of the late Congress strongman Arjun Singh. His son Ajay Singh, who is also the leader of the opposition, has a huge following in the area. So last year’s defeat in Maihar by-elections had come as a huge embarrassment for the party and questions had been raised about Mr Singh’s clout.

This year, the party had pushed in its top guns, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is the front-runner for the Chief Minister’s post for the coming elections. Senior leader Kamal Nath also came to campaign.

The two leaders not only targeted what they called the corruption and bad administration of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government but also raised the Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue to attack the BJP.

After Mr Chaturvedi’s victory, Ajay Singh said, “The exile of the Congress in the state has ended from the taposthali of Lord Rama“. Chitrakoot is said to be the place where Lord Rama had spent almost 12 years of his exile with wife Sita and brother Lakshmana.

The Congress, Mr Singh announced, had won from areas where Mr Chouhan held public meetings. “The BJP candidate has been defeated from his own village as well as the village of his in-laws,” he added.

Accepting the defeat, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted saying public mandate was supreme in democracy.

“I thank the people for their support. Nothing will come in the way of Chitrakoot’s development. My aim is to develop entire Madhya Pradesh,” the tweet further read.

Congress workers celebrated the victory by bursting crackers outside the party’s state headquarters, Indira Bhawan in Bhopal, whereas the state BJP headquarters, Deendayal Parishad, wore a deserted look.

As per the Hindu mythology, during his exile, Lord Rama had spent almost 12 years in the forests of Chitrakoot with wife Sita and brother Laxmana.

The BJP had invoked Lord Rama during its campaign for the bypoll.

After the bypoll victory today, the jubilant Congress workers raised slogans such as “BJP ke lag gaye kam, jai shri Ram, jai shri Ram (the BJP is defeated, hail Lord Rama)”.

Asked about the saffron party invoking Lord Rama in the run-up to the bypoll, state Congress chief Arun Yadav told reporters that it was his partymen, who were the true worshippers of the Hindu god.

“Lord Rama helps the honest and upright, not the corrupt,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh said, “The exile of the Congress in the state has ended from the ‘taposthali’ of Lord Rama. The party has won from areas where Chouhan held public meetings. The BJP candidate has been defeated from his own village as well as the village of his in-laws.”

In response to a query, Singh said the chief minister had made the Chitrakoot bypoll a prestige issue for himself.
TOI

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Allegations of harassment resurface against FTII visiting professor Nilanjan Dutta #Vaw

STUDENT BODY REACHES OUT TO FTII CHAIRMAN

ANUPAM KHER

Students from FTII have sent a solidarity message to Nistha.“We have very good relations with her.So,we sent her personal messages expressing our support to her,”informed Rohit Kumar. When BT reached out to the professors and students,they informed us that they were not allowed to talk to the press. Anupam Kher was also unavailable for comment till the time of going to press.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/allegations-of-harassment-resurface-against-ftii-visiting-professor/articleshow/61590015.cms

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The only thing that can protect a writer’s freedom is you, the reader #FOE

The choice to read is always with the reader. If you do not like a book, throw it away. There is no compulsion to read a book. Literary tastes may vary – what is right and acceptable to one may not be so to others. Yet, the right to write is unhindered.

Madras High Court, July 5, 2016

The freedom to write wholly depends on the reader’s right to choose what they read. And reading can unlock incredible experiences, even if we shut every aperture and leave just a single door or window open to new ideas. If we let our minds dwell inside an impenetrable dark cave, nothing will get inside. We can gain from reading only if we are welcoming of unfamiliar ideas. A guest always arrives with different stories of her own to tell. Reading literature is exactly like inviting a guest to your home. The result is conversation, stimulation, exchange of news and ideas, and good cheer.

Popular literature of today does not raise any questions about our values or shed fresh light on life as we know it. It only addresses the superficial changes taking place around us and ends up glorifying outdated aspects of our culture and civilisation. This kind of writing is prized by readers who prefer the status quo and do not want to read anything that makes them uncomfortable.

Most people believe that the values with which they were brought up are superior to those of others. They hold the protection of those values to be their supreme duty. They cannot tolerate even minor ripples of change. Since they don’t give the values they defend any serious consideration and have no grasp of them, the only armour they possess is their selfproclaimed righteousness. And when they join hands with others like them, they don’t hesitate to aggressively announce their identity. Therefore, there is an urgent and constant need for us to talk and debate on the freedom to read and the avenues available to express disagreement. A writer’s freedom today is in the hands of the reading public.

A reader has many freedoms. To not buy a book, to not read it, to put it down after a couple of pages, or explore it further. She can treasure her favourite book, and read it again and again. She can recommend it or even lend it to other people, and then badger them to give it back. She can praise that book and, if her skills permit, she can even write about it. She can feel elated when it wins a prize. She can then boast about having read that awardwinning book. She can write letters to the author. She can celebrate it in any manner possible.

She can express her disappointment in just as many ways. She can close the book and toss it away. When my daughter was a child, she liked to tear the pages of any book she could lay her hands on. It was very difficult to save books from her. Eventually we found a middle ground. We allocated some books for her pastime — the books we wanted to discard. When she asked for a book, we offered her one from that pile. She tore them down beautifully. Even the books that we don’t like can serve elegant purposes.

The reader can also generously give away the books she doesn’t like, and earn a good name. Who wouldn’t welcome freebies with open arms? She can wrap them up nicely and give them away as gifts. The truth is that many people never unwrap the books they receive as gifts. But we cannot go to a festivity empty-handed, can we?

She can also sell them off at shops that deal in old and used books. She can write scathing remarks on a book and its author. A little more effort and she can even don the reviewer-mask and set about proving that the book cannot pass for literature. She can engage in debate, or create memes about it. She can launch a campaign against that book and persuade others not to read it. There are lots of ways to express our opinion on social media. There are columns where the ‘worst books of the year’ are religiously listed every year.

These are but some of the punishments that a reader can mete out to the book and its author. The cruellest punishment though is if she spots an author she doesn’t like at a literary gathering, goes up to them, tells them that she has read their book, and stops at that. And doesn’t say anything further. I can assure you that that is the most excruciating torture for a writer.

If you think about it, a reader’s freedom is unlimited. And readers should liberally exploit this freedom and employ all possible democratic means to protest or to celebrate literature. If they do, then the freedom to write — on anything, in any manner — would be protected.

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Telangana-Former BJP leader forces two Dalit youths into dirty pond as ‘punishment’ #WTFnews

Hyderabad: A local level leader associated with the BJP in Telangana‘s Nizamabad district forced two dalit youths to take a dip in dirty water for trying to stop illegal quarrying of mud from local lake.

This happened in Abhangapatnam village of Navipet block about a month ago but came to light on Sunday. However, the victims were reluctant to lodge a complaint with the police fearing consequences. The victims have been identified as Rajeshwar and Lakshman, both belonging to Madiga sub-caste under scheduled castes.

Nizamabad rural police inspector confirmed to Mirror that the incident had taken place but no case was registered due to the victims’ refusal to complain.

“We are sending our men again to persuade the victims to file a complaint,” the inspector said.

Telangana: Dalit youths forced to dip in dirty water for questioning illegal quarrying
Dalit forced to dip in dirty water

By Express News Service  |   Published: 13th November 2017 03:13 AM  |

Last Updated: 13th November 2017 09:50 AM  |   A+A-   |  

Image used for representational purpose only.

HYDERABAD: A 43-year-old man allegedly threatened and abused two Dalit men and made them to enter a small pond in Nizamabad district of Telangana, police said today.

The video of the purported incident, which took place at Abhangapatnam village in Navipet mandal of the district in September, has gone viral on social media and being highlighted by television channels.

After the video went viral, the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS) approached the police and lodged a complaint, Navipet Police Station Sub-Inspector J Naresh said.

Video grab of sand miner B.Bharath Reddy abusing two Dalit men for complaining aginst his illegal mining activities, in Abhagpatnam village | Express

“Based on the complaint, a case under IPC section 506 (criminal intimidation) and under relevant sections of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered against one Bharat Reddy, a local businessman who allegedly threatened and abused the two agricultural labourers in filthy language,” the SI told PTI over phone.

Police’s preliminary investigation revealed that Reddy was getting gravel transported and had engaged a tractor for the purpose. However, the duo had allegedly stopped the tractor, which left Reddy fuming, following which he abused and threatened them.

The video shows a bearded man holding a stick and threateningly asking the two men, who are folding their hands (apparently requesting him to spare them), to enter the pond as a “punishment”. The man is heard using filthy language against the duo.

The video also shows the two men get into water and take dips even as the bearded man continues to hurl abuses against them.

“None of the two victims have lodged a complaint with police in this connection,” the police official said.

Police are in the process of questioning Reddy.

When asked about the television reports, which claimed that the accused is linked to BJP, the police official dismissed reports.

Meanwhile, referring to the incident, Telangana BJP said it strongly condemns “misrepresentation” by sections of the media on the viral video.

“The individual exhibiting barbaric and unacceptable behaviour in Nizamabad on Dalits is not a BJP leader, nor does he hold any position in the party at any level,” the party said in a statement.

“BJP Telangana will consider legal options against those, who are indulging in blatant misrepresentation,” it added.

 

According to information available, Rajeshwar and Lakshman tried to stop vehicles carrying mud dug illegally from local Errakunta lake. The vehicles are said to be of Bharat Reddy.

The duo objected to digging of mud from the lake without permission and its transportation without paying royalty to the village development committee.

Bharat grew angry and took Rajeshwar and Lakshman to a dirty water body, which is said to be used by people resorting to open defecation and forced them to take a dip in it. The video shows the youths begging his pardon but for no use. Bharat is heard using filthy language at the victims.

Since the water is less than three feet, the youths could not immerse completely. But, Bharat insisted that they should take a complete dip. Not only his men videograph the eptbut he also clicks pictures on his mobile.

“We have seen the video and immediately sent our men to the village to identify the victims and get a complaint from them. Since victims are scared, our sub-inspector will personally go now,” the inspector said.

Local Communist Party leaders demanded that Bharat should be booked under SC ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act.

Mirror andindian express

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Haryana- Fake lawyers. And now touts who offer judgeship?

Tout As A Topper

Fake lawyers. And now touts who offer judgeship? Leaked papers were sold to candidates appearing for examinations for appointment to the lower judiciary in Haryana.
Tout As A Topper

Fake lawyers. And now touts who offer judgeship? The word ‘fake’, in this case, does not denote an unregistered charlatan, the sort we saw in our previous expose of the rot in our legal system. Rather, we mean junior lordships who may have received their judicial peerage by going through the system. Preparing for an exam, writing it, and acing it. But for a minor ethical infraction that makes all the difference between justice and its shadowy negative.

What if the exam was rigged—if the question papers were leaked selectively to the paying customer?

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This tale unfolds in the Punjab-Haryana arena. Woven into it is a controversial former judge who once gave the slip to the CBI by escaping over a compound wall and who now runs a coaching institute; a senior court official who had custody of the question papers; an aspirant who strikes the actual deals with other aspirants and people suspiciously topping the exam “with minimum errors”.

During the exam on July 16, Suman realised the questions shared with her were part of the paper. Before that, it could have been a fraud.
On November 6, a Supreme Court bench led by the Chief Justice of India heard the case and issued notice to all parties—including the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the governments of Haryana and Chandigarh. Without notice, the CBI was also present in court. But it was in late July that the alleged leak of the preliminary examination question paper for the Haryana judicial services became cause for concern. And the tortuous trail it has spawned shines a torch into the heart of an unlit place.

Now, question papers being leaked is not big news in India. But judgeship for sale should have attracted more attention. The Punjab & Haryana HC recruits to the lower and upper judiciary through a process overseen by a recruitment committee of judges, led by a senior judge. This exam was meant to choose lower court judges—those who grant bail, adjudicate property disputes, convict criminals and so forth. In short, the first line of justice delivery.

The crux of the story: an aspirant claims she was offered both the preliminary and final question papers for Rs 1 crore. The offer was allegedly made by those who later topped the exams “with minimum error”. The person who offered the deal is linked by 760 calls and messages with the high court’s registrar (recruitment), who has admitted to sole custody of the question papers when it was leaked, as per the HC’s registrar-general cum registrar (vigilance).

EYE OF THE STORM

The Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh

PHOTOGRAPH BY JITENDER GUPTA

The investigation and court proceedings proceeded erratically, with quick transfers of the case. This reporter spoke to sitting and retired judges, senior members of the bar, some lawyers who appeared in the matter, aspirants to the judicial services and investigators. Documents accessed and reviewed include court records, call transcripts, interrogation records, status reports and the HC’s internal inquiry report.

Most lawyers and judges are cagey about commenting. “Recruitments are the court’s internal matter. An FIR was lodged and it was being investigated. Now, the matter is with the Supreme Court, and it will decide the course,” says Anmol Rattan Siddhu, president of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Association, in a typical response. Off-the-record, though, many admit they find the case and its progress unusual.

The leak

That there was a leak has been admitted by the high court. By an administrative order, it scrapped the entire exam after its vigilance wing found enough evidence to prove the leak. The matter became public when an aspirant, Suman (no surname given), filed a complaint before the chief justice, detailing her version thus:

Suman was preparing for the judicial services exam at a coaching centre in Chandigarh. A fellow student, Sushila, told her that she had access to both the prelims and main question papers through another aspirant, Sunita. Suman alleges Sunita (no surname given) offered her the entire set for Rs 1 crore barely four days before the prelims. Suman tried to negotiate the price down to Rs 10 lakh. On exam eve, Sushila shared five or six questions with her. ­Suman claims to have recorded many of these conversations secretly on her mobile phone. Outlook has seen the transcripts of the conversation, which suggest the papers were being sold to several aspirants on exam eve.

In one conversation, Sushila allegedly claims, “Sunita was saying GK is very tough and there are 15 questions from the Constitution and five cases.” They seem to briefly mull approaching the authorities to have the question paper cancelled but then Sushila says, “Who would believe that I have seen the question paper and she (Sunita) will be appointed as ADJ. She had shown me her paper, all the questions were attempted.” In the court’s internal inquiry, Sushila has admitted to these conversations.

Balwinder Sharma, registrar (recruitment) of the HC, claimed he is being made the fall guy. But call records show he was in contact with the accused.
During the exam on July 16, Suman realises the questions shared with her are indeed part of the actual paper. Before that, it could just have been a fraud. (Most doubts are settled when Sunita and Sushila later top the exams in the general and reserved categories respectively, with “minimum errors”.) On July 19, three days after the exam, Suman’s husband files a complaint with the DCP of Panchkula, the Haryana DGP and also the one before the chief justice.

On August 5, instead of waiting for the High Court’s internal inquiry, Suman files a petition, asking the court to register a case and order a high-level inquiry. While this is listed before a bench, the court takes up the complaint internally too and its recruitment committee directs the court’s registrar (vigilance) to probe the matter. Three more anonymous complaints to the court follow. One alleges that an assistant registrar and a superintendent of the recruitment committee had amassed disproportionate assets and could be the source of the leaks. Another aspirant’s complaint says the question papers were not sealed properly—the cover was merely glued shut—and candidates were not videotaped during the exam.

The registrar (vigilance) questions Suman, Sushila, a former judge who ran the coaching academy, two superintendents and an assistant registrar of the recruitment cell, and Balwinder Sharma, the registrar (recruitment). Call detail records (CDR) show Sharma had two cell phones and exchanged 760 messages and calls on these with Sunita on and around the exam dates.

Sharma, who is himself of the rank of additional district judge, admits to the registrar (vigilance) that he had coordinated the process of question preparation between Justices A.K. Mittal and T.S. Dhindsa—and that, after the final round, he had sole custody of the master pen drive containing the question papers bet­ween July 10-12. Between July 12-14, the question papers were printed and stored in sealed boxes, the keys for which too were with Sharma. Between July 14-17, he also retains the pen drive and a physical master copy of the question paper. The exams were held on July 16.

Sharma has claimed he is being made the fall guy but has not named anyone. Anyway, from the CDR it’s beyond dispute that he was in direct contact with Sunita and, through her, with Sushila, both of whom subsequently topped the exam.

The registrar (vigilance) also questions the person who runs the coaching institute in Chandigarh where Suman, Sushila and Sunita studied. He is a former lower court judge, Surinder Singh Bharadwaj, a man with a sensational escape from CBI custody 15 years ago on his resume. “The CBI had trapped Bharadwaj into accepting a Rs 8 lakh bribe. During interrogation, he had taken a break to go to the washroom. No one was sent to guard Bharadwaj…he was after all a judge. He scaled the wall and escaped, but later surrendered and was convicted in 2009. His appeal is pending,” says a senior lawyer.

Surinder Singh Bharadwaj (right), a former judge who escaped from CBI custody and was convicted in 2009. He runs the coaching centre Jurist Academy (left), where the accused studied.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY T.S. BEDI

Bharadwaj tells the registrar (vigilance) that he had found both Sunita and Sushila to be average students and did not expect them to top. When asked about his institute, he tells Outlook that other coaching institutes also figure in the investigation. “My students are all law graduates and what they do outside is their business,” he says. The probe has not yet followed the trail through to see if there is any link bet­ween Bharadwaj and Sharma. But on August 29, the three-judge recruitment committee (Justices Mittal, Dhindsa and Ajay Tiwari) scraps the exam, transfers Sharma out of the recruitment cell and directs that an FIR be lodged against Sunita, Sushila and Sharma.

Public proceedings

While Sharma continues in office, the petition is heard on August 16 by Justice Kuldeep Singh, who issues notices to the parties, i.e. the police and the Punjab & Haryana HC itself. Suman’s lawyer orally demands a CBI inquiry. And, curiously, Sushila has turned up in court with an application for impleadment (since she is not a party to Suman’s petition). Advocates say it’s unusual for an accused to turn up and seek impleadment before a court has issued notice.

On August 28, Justice Singh scrutinises the exam results and finds Sushila and Sunita have topped. He notes that though the registrar (vigilance) is an honest man, he was in line for an elevation to the high court as a judge—and that an inquiry by a candidate for elevation may not satisfy the petitioner or the public. A probe at a higher level was needed, he says.

The court admits to the leak and has scrapped the exam. But the probe and court proceedings were erratic, with quick transfers of the case.
And then, on August 30, Justice S.S. Saron, then acting chief justice of the high court, passes an administrative order transferring the case from Justice Singh to a three-judge bench. Lawyers find it unusual that Justice Singh is not part of this new bench. “There’s no rule set in stone but if a judge has been hearing a matter, he is usually part of the larger bench to which it is subsequently transferred,” say lawyers. Outlook attempted to ask Justice Saron, now retired, about the context that led to the order, but he declined to speak on a subjudice matter.

On September 6 and 12, the three-judge bench hears the matter and goes through the sealed records of the in-house inquiry (the vital points already detailed above). Meanwhile, Suman approaches the Supreme Court with a request to transfer the case to the Delhi High Court, saying she didn’t have faith in the Punjab & Haryana HC to monitor an investigation into its own officials.

At this stage, the Supreme Court deems it fit to dismiss the plea. On September 15, the three-judge bench transfers the FIR to Chandigarh (from Panchkula), so that they can monitor the investigation and direct the formation of a high-level SIT. It also finally suspends Sharma.

A status report is filed on the probe at its end by Haryana Police on September 15. Surprisingly, the investigation into this crucial matter was carried out by an assistant sub-inspector (ASI), Pradeep Rana. This ASI made some interviews and closed the case as false, claiming Sunita was trying to get the exam cancelled since it had not gone well for her! Haryana Police later files an FIR against the ASI because it turns out that Sushila’s husband is also a sub-inspector and had manipulated the investigation.

On September 18, the three-judge bench forms an SIT comprising a superintendent of police (SP), a DSP and an inspector. On October 5, though, the Supreme Court, which had earlier declined to transfer the case, takes it up of its own accord and transfers the matter to itself.

The Punjab & Haryana High Court chief justice, S.J. Vazifdar—who, in an apparent act of camaraderie, had taken leave so that the senior Justice Saron could be acting CJ for a few weeks before his retirement—is not pleased with the way the case had proceeded. In an administrative order this reporter has accessed, he says “…a detailed enquiry is absolutely necessary”, but subject to “orders or directions from the judicial side”. In short, he wants primacy to be given to the judicial proceedings (in open court) rather than the moves on the administrative side—and so the decision to suspend Sharma too should wait till the court arrives at a decision after hearings. (Sharma, incidentally, has now filed an appeal in the SC against his suspension.)

The tap is on

Not that the leak was an out-of-the-blue event. One aspirant from Punjab this reporter spoke to has gathered data on the exams of the past few years since Sharma had taken over. It seems those who had failed once managed to top the next exam—one such candidate from a previous year topped the exams in both Punjab and Haryana.

What’s more, the list of those who got very high marks includes the children of very powerful people, he had found. He feels the judicial appointments of the last few years should be looked into, but few are willing to question a high court, even if on the administrative side. The recruitment committee had not opened up previous years’ recruitments, made under Sharma, for probe. Now that’s up to the Supreme Court.

In June, the SC collegium had almost cleared the elevation of Justice Mittal as chief justice of the Delhi High Court. It had reportedly consulted two other senior SC judges who had served as chief justice of the Punjab & Haryana HC. They had supported Justice Mittal’s elevation but suggested it be halted till Justice Saron, then second puisne judge, retired in September. Till then, the Delhi High Court was to continue with an acting chief justice.

The paper leak surfaced in the interim period. The petitioners filed complaints with the police and the chief justice on July 19. Without waiting for that to fructify, within days they approached the judicial side of the High Court with a criminal petition. The evidence has cleared the recruitment committee members but the matter was transferred up twice. Outlook attempted to speak with Justice Mittal but he declined to break protocol and speak to the press. What view the SC collegium has now taken is still not known.

Earlier this year, Outlook had published a cover story on the high number of fake lawyers in the country. At the time, a former Supreme Court judge had said in an interview to this reporter that a fake lawyer becoming a judge was a theoretical possibility. Leaked judicial exam question papers available on the market shelf only boost the chances of that “theoretical possibility”.

The salary for an additional district/sessions judge would be around Rs 60,000. Those leaking the paper would hardly be offering an EMI mode of payment. This means the recruit would require to be both rich in cash and poor on scruples…or else, obviously, perhaps be begging and bor­rowing—secure that he or she was looking forward to a much higher return on investment.

https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/tout-as-a-topper/299517

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Maharashtra – Now, nameplates in Satara have both Mr & Mrs

Though women in this part of Maharashtra look after both house and farm while their husbands are working in the city, they rarely get property rights. But a new movement has overcome parampara and male insecurities to make 5,000 women joint owners

Afield lush with yellow and orange marigolds, red roses, and pink velvets is a cheery spot of colour amid the green farms in Maharashtra’s Satara district. Shobha More skillfully chops off weeds, inspects the flowers and appears pleased with the progress. More has been supervising cultivation of flowers, peanuts and soyabeans on her one-acre plot in Kari village ever since her husband died a year ago. “Before he passed away, he had put my name on the house and land as co-owner. Now the land is mine, and it helps put food on the table and pay for my son’s education,’’ More says.

More is one of about 5,000 women in 20 villages of Satara district who now own the home they live in. Another 500 are in the process of getting co-ownership of the family farmland as well. That’s significant in a country where around 75% of rural women depend on agriculture for livelihood, yet just 12.78% own land according to the Agriculture census 2011.

The movement to give women property rights was started in Satara nearly two years earlier by an NGO, Dalit Mahila Vikas Mandal (DMVM). The impetus was a 2003 resolution passed by the Maharashtra rural development department called Ghar Doghanche or Home for Two. In effect, it means that the home should belong to both husband and wife. Little was done to ensure it was implemented till DMVM founder and lawyer Varsha Deshpande took up the issue. “We were already working in the community on issues like domestic violence, female foeticide and alcoholism. It struck us then that until women were owners of the home and land that they worked so hard to till, they would continue to be an invisible labour force and victims of violence,’’ she says.

A 2014 study by NGO Landesa — conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh — found that increasingly land is being cultivated by women as men migrate to cities in search of work. Yet they remain the largest group of landless labourers.

The idea that they could own their home was inspiring for women, Deshpande says, but the men were less enthusiastic. “It took us some time to convince men that they should include their wife’s name in the marital home,’’ she says. Male fears and insecurities came up: would the woman sell the property, desert her husband and take in another man?

Sheeta Sawant from Ozarde village says some men feared the women would go astray. Sawant has been instrumental in mobilising women to ask for their ‘hakk’ (right in Marathi). “I was taunted as a loose woman who was instigating women and destroying marriages. Men ordered their wives to stop talking to me. I was ostracised socially but with the help of Varsha tai (Deshpande) mindsets started changing,’’ she says. One year on, all married women in the village have homes in their names. A victim of domestic violence herself, Sawant says that incidents of drunk men beating up wives have come down sharply since the ownership pattern changed.

Thirty-two year-old Vishal Lakde, who works in a wholesale market in Mumbai, is one husband who has changed with the times. “We leave our family here to go work in the city. It is my wife who looks after the land, and takes care of the children. I realised there should be something for her as well. She should feel that she is secure and will not be thrown out,’’ he says. The other men in the village nod in agreement.

Changes in India’s land laws happened in the 1980s. Five states — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra and Karnataka — amended their laws between 1986 and 1994 to allow women to inherit agricultural land. Most recently, the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act (HSAA), 2005 ruled that Hindu sons and daughters had equal rights to inherit agricultural land across all states, except Jammu & Kashmir.

Studies show that ownership of property acts as a catalyst to empower women to resist violence, and encourages entrepreneurship and financial independence. Yet, ground realities are different. Women hesitate to seek a share in parental property for fear of alienating their parents and siblings. In the marital home, assets are rarely transferred to women. Brutal murders and violence against women who seek property rights make headlines in urban India nearly every week. The Landesa study, which interviewed 1,436 women whose households had access to land, found that only 19% own land with documents that include their names. When researchers looked at how plots are registered, they found that women’s names appeared in only 14% of the title deeds or documents.

Even in Satara villages, men have agreed to share home ownership, but are still reluctant to part with land rights. But women like Shakuntala Jadhav from Bhivadi village are optimistic. “The land is not in my name but I am hopeful that my husband will agree. He works in the city, while I take care of the crops. It is my work that puts food on the table,’’ she says.

Men, however, say that land rights are ruled by ‘parampara’ or tradition. Although supportive of the move to give property rights to women, 74-yearold Sriranga Jadhav of Bhivadi village feels that handing over land to women is inviting trouble.

Deshpande is determined to change these attitudes. She points out that the NGO has succeeded in getting about 500 households to share land ownership with women, and more may follow. “It is a much longer process and ownership of land is very complex in India with fathers, brothers and other family members as stakeholders,’’ she says. But for now, 5,000 women have become the true ardhanginis (or equal half) of their homes.

There has been headway in the battle to share home ownership but men are still reluctant to part with farmland

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Meghalaya, Assam citizens feel #Aadhaar pain  

Liu Chuen Chen| TNN | 

KOLKATA: The Reserve Bank of India’s recent decision to link Aadhaar numbers with bank accounts by December 31 has put students and professionals from Meghalaya and Assam working outside their states in a fix. Meghalaya and Assam, along with Jammu & Kashmir, are the three states where Aadhaar enrollment is not mandatory.

After having worked for a New Delhi-based private firm for several years, Shillong resident Dianne Nongrum, 30, is now finding it difficult to maintain her bank accounts and provident funds (PF) accounts. “I don’t have an Aadhaar card, but our finance department insists I get one so that maintaining my PF and bank account does not become difficult. I am worried about the complications that may arise because of this,” she said.

“What worries me the most is the RBI directive stating that non-submission of Aadhaar numbers will make bank accounts non-operational,” said Samuel Ralte, who, like Dianne, is from Shillong and works in a private company based in New Delhi. “When I took up the job in Delhi recently, the first question that one of my interviewers asked me was if I had an Aadhaar card. He suggested that I apply for one at the earliest so that my salary doesn’t get stalled,” Samuel added.

Assam resident Vikas Boroah who works as an accountant in a Kolkata-based firm is under pressure to acquire an Aadhaar number as quickly as possible. “My employers have been regularly asking me to obtain an Aadhaar card. Banks and telecom companies want me to link my account and mobile number to my Aadhaar number, which I don’t have. I have come to know that the Assam government will begin an Aadhaar drive in December. But I don’t think I will be able to go home at such short notice,” he said.

A Guwahati-based RBI official insisted, “Banks and account holders must solve the matter among themselves. Even a state like Assam is yet to begin Aadhaar enrolment.” In response to TOI’s query sent by email, the RBI office in Shillong said it has forwarded the question to its national headquarters in Mumbai and was still waiting for a reply.

Banks, too, seemed clueless about the issue. “It is a pan-India problem. We have communicated the matter to our main office in Mumbai. We are not in a position to comment,” said an HDFC Bank official in Kolkata.

On the other hand, the Shillong-based Meghalaya People’s Committee on Aadhaar (MPCA) wants the government not to force people to enrol for Unique Identification. “I don’t understand why banks are in a hurry to get the two details linked. A PIL challenging the circulars making linkage of Aadhaar cards with telecom service providers and bank accounts mandatory is pending at the Supreme Court,” said PBM Basaiawmoit, consultant at North East Dialogue Forum.

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma and Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal have written to the Centre seeking exemption from Aadhaar.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/meghalaya-assam-citizens-feel-aadhaar-pain/articleshow/61599483.cms

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Yet Another Cow Lynching: Muhammad Shot Dead by Mob 2 Days Ago, No FIR Yet #WTFnews

Umar Muhammad was shot dead and his body thrown on the railway track.


 ALWAR/NEW DELHI: In a new twist cow mobs are trying to hide the killing of their Muslim targets. Umar Muhammad, transporting cows near the RajasthanHaryana border was shot dead and his body thrown on the railway track to make it appear like an accident.

The brutal killing took place in Fahari village in Alwar district with Muhammad and two others taking the cows from Mewat in Haryana to Bharatpur in Rajasthan. They were stopped by the mob en route, assaulted. The two men with Muhammad fled with injuries, but the media has reported ‘official sources’ as confirming he died of a bullet wound.

This happened two days ago and no arrests have been made till date. The family members, including Muhammad’s wife and eight children, have demanded the arrest of the accused but the police has not even registered a FIR.

Mewat is extremely tense, more so as the Muslim community here, is a target of right wing forces. The Meo community told reporters that Muhammad was killed in the presence of the police. The attack reportedly took place at 5a.m. After Muhammad was shot dead, the mob placed his body on the railway tracks to get a train to pass over him. The community claimed that the police have carried out no investigation, and the body is still liking in the mortuary.

It might be recalled that the six accused named by Pehlu Khan in his dying declaration after he was attacked by a mob, have all been released. They were given a clean chit on the basis of a statement by a cow shelter owner. Khan was also transporting cows when he was waylaid by a cow mob, and beaten to death.

The family is terrified but calling for an investigation. The police is tight lipped.

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/2/12238/Yet-Another-Cow-Lynching-Muhammad-Shot-Dead-by-Mob-2-Days-Ago-No-FIR-Yet

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Bengal Government Doctor Suspended For Facebook Comments On Dengue

The suspension is being compared to the arrest of Jadavpur University‘s Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra for forwarding cartoons of Mamata Banerjee in 2012 to a friend a via email.

Bengal Government Doctor Suspended For Facebook Comments On Dengue

Dr Arunachal Dutta Chowdhury’s suspension: The Bengal government is accused of suppressing dengue deaths.

KOLKATA

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Arunachal Dutta Chowdhury expressed helplessness in dealing with dengue
  2. Government says post was ‘derogatory to hospital administration’
  3. West Bengal government accused of suppressing dengue deaths

A government doctor in West Bengal has been suspended by the state health department for a Facebook post in October in which he lamented his helplessness in dealing with a deluge of dengue patients at the hospital where he worked.

The government has said 63-year-old Arunachal Dutta Chowdhury’s post was “derogatory to hospital administration”. Some sources suggest he may have been suspended for posting a song by a Bengali rock group that had some satirical references to the Trinamool and the chief minister’s claims that the dengue virus was brought to Bengal by people from other states.

The suspension on Friday, when opposition parties have accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of suppressing the actual dengue toll in the state, has provoked outrage among doctors.

Several outfits of medical professionals have announced a march to the office of the health department on Tuesday to demand that the suspension be revoked.

The suspension is being compared to the arrest of Jadavpur University’s Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra for forwarding cartoons of Mamata Banerjee in 2012 to a friend a via email.

Dr Dutta Chowdhury works at North 24 Parganas district hospital at Barasat about 30 km from Kolkata.

On October 6, he wrote on Facebook: “People are dying of fever. I am trying to console them. In the death certificate I am writing ‘fever with thrombocytopenia’, not dengue.”

Asked about the government’s decision to suspend him, Dr Dutta Chowdhury refuses to be drawn into controversy. “The government’s decision is final. I have nothing to say about it,” he said.

Dr Dutta Chowdhury had joined government service in 1983. He was due to retire in 2011 at age 58. But the retirement age has been revised to 62 and the doctor was looking forward to retiring soon.

“I am a little surprised of course. I did not expect suspension,” he said.

Friends and fellow doctors say Dr Dutta Chowdhury is a prolific poet and writer and not one to take political potshots at anyone.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bengal-government-doctor-suspended-for-facebook-comments-on-dengue-1774273

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