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Archives for : January2018

गोरखपुर की मांओं का दर्द- हमार बाबू अब कुछ बोलत नहीं  #Vaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

सोनमती

गोरखपुर अंचल में यात्रा करते हुए ऐसा लगता है जैसे इस साल यहां इंसेफेलाइटिस का शिकार हुए बच्चों की मौत का दुख जनवरी की शीत में घुलकर खेतों में बिखरा पड़ा है.

यूं तो यहां इंसेफेलाइटिस और इससे जुड़ी तमाम मेडिकल जटिलताओं की वजह से होने वाली हज़ारों बच्चों की सालाना मौत का सिलसिला दशकों पुराना है. पर खस्ताहाल अस्पतालों और इस महामारी के प्रकोप के हाथों हर साल अपने बच्चे खो रही गोरखपुर की मांओं के लिए इंसेफेलाइटिस का हर नया आंकड़ा हमेशा से एक ताज़ा निजी ज़ख्म रहा है.

 

गोरखपुर की इन मांओं से बात करके मुझे लगा जैसे उनके आंसुओं में लिपटा हुआ गोरखपुर का दुख, जनवरी के कोहरे के साथ-साथ अवसाद बनकर पूरे इलाक़े में फैल रहा है. अगस्त 2017 में गोरखपुर के बाबा राघवदास (बीआरडी) मेडिकल कॉलेज में अचानक हुई ऑक्सीजन की कमी से पांच दिनों के भीतर 72 बच्चों की मौत हो गई थी.

 

सोनमती नहीं थमा मौत का सिलसिला इस घटना ने क्षेत्र में इंसेफेलाइटिस के साथ साथ स्वास्थ्य, सफाई और चिकित्सा के वषों से ध्वस्त पड़े ढांचे की तरफ सरकार और राष्ट्रीय मीडिया का ध्यान तो आकर्षित किया, पर बीआरडी मेडिकल कॉलेज में बच्चों की मौतों का सिलसिला नहीं थमा. दिसंबर 2017 तक बीआरडी मेडिकल कॉलेज में इंसेफेलाइटिस के 2240 मरीज़ भर्ती हुए, जिनमें से 505 की मौत हो गई. इन मरीज़ों में ज़्यादातर नवजात शिशुओं से लेकर 15 साल की आयु तक के बच्चे थे.

सोनमती

गोरखपुर अंचल में मारे गए इन बच्चों की मांओं के पथरीले चेहरों पर आज भी वही गहरी उदासी चिपकी हुई है, जिसे आज से लगभग 82 साल पहले मशहूर चित्रकार अमृता शेरगिल ने गोरखपुर में ही बनाई गई अपनी तस्वीर ‘मदर इंडिया’ में उतारा था.

 

29 वर्षीय रामसनेही गोरखपुर के खजनी विधानसभा क्षेत्र में बसे सराय तिवारी गांव में अपनी पत्नी सोनमती और तीन बच्चों के साथ रहते हैं. कुछ महीने पहले तक रामसनेही 4 बच्चों के पिता थे पर 14 अगस्त 2017 को उनकी 4 साल की बच्ची महिमा की एक्यूट इंसेफेलाइटिस सिंड्रोम (एइएस) से मौत हो गई. पेशे से बेलदार रामसनेही घर चलाने के लिए मजदूरी करते हैं पर इन सर्दियों में उन्हें कोई काम नहीं मिला. गांव के अंतिम छोर पर मौजूद अनुसूचित जाति के मोहल्ले या ‘टोले’ में बनी उनकी एक कमरे की झोपड़ी में सन्नाटा पसरा हुआ था.

अपनी खाली रसोई के सामने नारंगी रंग की चमकीली साड़ी पहने सोनमती उस पूरे माहौल के विरोधाभास को खुद में समेटे हुए खामोश बैठी थीं. BBC

रामसनेही अपनी पत्नी सोनमती के साथ

रामसनेही अपनी पत्नी सोनमती के साथ

‘पकौड़ी मांगने वाली बिटिया चीखकर बेहोश हो गई’ महिमा के बारे में पूछने पर काफी देर वो खामोश रही. फिर अपनी काजल भरी आंखों में आंसू भरकर बोली, “एक भी दिन ऐसा नहीं जाता जब हमको महिमा की याद नहीं आती. उस दिन ठीक थी वो…सारा दिन अच्छे से खेली कूदी रोज़ की तरह. रात को हमसे बोली की माँ पकौड़ी छान दो, हम पकौड़ी खाएंगे.” ”रात हो गया था, तो हमने कहा बाबू बिहाने (सुबह) छान देंगे पकौड़ी. तो कुछ नहीं बोली और सो गई चुपचाप.

 

रात को 10.30 बजे अचानक उठी और कपार (सिर) पकड़ कर ज़ोर से चीखी. नीचे वहीं उसके भाई-बहन सो रहे थे. चीखकर वो बेहोश हो गयी और अपने भाइयों के ऊपर गिर गयी. जब हमने उसको गोद में उठाया तो उसके हाथ पांव पूरे अकड़े हुए थे और आखों की पुतलियाँ ऊपर थीं. शरीर तेज़ बुखार से तप रहा था.”

 

इतना कहकर सोनमती सिसकियां लेकर रोने लगीं और बगल में बैठे रामसनेही की आखों में भी आंसू आ गए. एक ग्लास पानी पीने के बाद रामसनेही बताते हैं, “हम दोनों बच्ची को दुपहिया पर लेकर तुरंत 22 किलोमीटर दूर बने जिला अस्पताल पहुंचे. वहां उसको सुई लगाई और तुरंत बीआरडी मेडिकल रेफर कर दिया. हम उसको लेकर वहां से गोरखपुर शहर भागे. रात को 1 बजे तक हम उसे गोरखपुर मेडिकल कालेज ले आए थे.

 

तबीयत खराब होने के तीन घंटे के भीतर मेडिकल कालेज में उसके कागज़ पत्तर भी बन गए थे और उन्होंने उसे तुरंत आईसीयू में भर्ती कर लिया. कुछ ही दिन पहले ऑक्सीजन की कमी से 70 बच्चे मरे थे, अस्पताल में इसलिए तब बड़ी कड़ाई थी. अफसर मीडिया सब थे वहां. हमारे बच्चे को ठीक से देखा गया. पर बच्ची बची नहीं. झटका आने के 24 घंटे के भीतर उसी रात उसकी मौत हो गई.”

गोरखपुर

BBC गोरखपुर एइएस इंसेफेलाइटिस का एक घातक प्रकार सरकारी आंकड़ों के अनुसार, गोरखपुर अंचल में इंसेफेलाइटिस से होने वाली कुल मौतों में अस्सी फीसदी मौतें एइएस यानी एक्यूट इंसेफेलाइटिस सिंड्रोम से ही होती हैं. एइएस गंदे पानी, फफूंदी वाला दूषित भोजन, पानी में खड़े खेतों में मौजूद कीटाणुओं से भी फैलता है. मच्छर के काटने से होने वाले जापानी इंसेफेलाइटिस से इतर एइएस एक तरह का तेज़ दिमागी बुखार है, जिसमें मरीज़ में सुस्ती, बेहोशी और विक्षप्त व्यवहार जैसे लक्षण पाए जाते हैं.

ज्यादातर 15 वर्ष से कम आयु के बच्चों को अपना शिकार बनाने वाले एइएस बुखार से आंशिक या पूर्ण विकलांगता के साथ-साथ मौत भी हो सकती है. सराय तिवारी गांव के जिस मोहल्ले में रामसनेही और सोनमती रहते हैं, वह खुली नालियों, गंदे पानी के खुले तालाबों, कूड़े और गोबर के ढेरों से भरा हुआ था. गोरखपुर अंचल में भूमिगत पानी का स्तर सामान्य से ऊपर है इसलिए ज्यादातर यहां के लोग पीने के लिए कम गहराई पर खुदे हुए हैंडपंप और नलों के पानी का इस्तेलाम करते हैं. घरों के चारों तरफ फैले गंदे नालों और तालाबों का पानी अक्सर पास बने हुए पीने का पानी देने वाले नलों और हैंडपम्पों के भूमिगत पानी में घुलकर, उसे प्रदूषित कर देता है. इस संक्रमित पानी को पीने से एइएस फैलता है.

गोरखपुर

गोरखपुर गंदे नाले के पास बने हैंडपंप से पानी पीने के पानी को प्रदूषित होने से बचाने के लिए उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार ने गोरखपुर अंचल के हर गांव में 80 फ़ीट गहराई वाले हैंडपम्पों को बनाने और हर घर में शौचालय की व्यवस्था करने की योजना शुरू की थी.

पर रामसनेही के गांव में बनाया गया सरकारी पम्प काम नहीं करता. उनके घर में शौचालय भी नहीं है. रामसनेही का परिवार आज भी गांव के गंदे नाले के पास बने हैंडपंप से पानी पीने को मजबूर है.

मैंने देखा कि तालाब के किनारे से लेकर गांव से बाहर निकलने का पूरे रास्ता खुले में शौच के लिए इस्तेमाल किया जाता है. गांव के बाहर बने प्राइमरी स्कूल के सामने बना खाली मैदान भी खुले में शौच की दुर्गंध से बजबजा रहा था. रामसनेही ने बताया कि उनकी बच्ची की मौत के बाद पहली बार उनके गांव में जापानी इंसेफेलाइटिस के मच्छरों को मारने के लिए दवा का छिड़काव हुआ पर एइएस को रोकने के लिए साफ़ पानी और शौचालयों की व्यवस्था अभी तक नहीं हो पाई है.

 

मृत्य प्रमाण पत्र होने के बावजूद उन्हें अभी तक सरकार की तरफ से इंसेफेलाइटिस बीमारी से मारे गए बच्चों के परिजनों के लिए घोषित 50 हज़ार रुपये की मदद राशि भी नहीं मिली है.

पानी की टंकी

BBC पानी की टंकी सरकार की योजना कितनी असरदार गांव से बाहर निकलने पर सरया तिवारी शुक्रवार बाज़ार रोड पर पानी की बड़ी टंकी दिखाई देती है.

 

मालूम करने पर पता चलता है कि उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार की ग्राम समूह पेयजल योजना के तहत सरया तिवारी सहित आसपास के नौ गांवों में पीने के शुद्ध पानी के लिए इस टंकी का निर्माण किया जा रहा है. इस की टंकी का निर्माण 4 साल से अधूरा पड़ा है. इसके आसपास घरों में साफ़ पानी पहुंचाने के लिए लगाए जाने वाले पाइप बिखरे पड़े धूल खा रहे थे.

बिंदू का परिवार

बिंदू का परिवार ‘फिर बोली ही नहीं बाबू’ विदा लेने से पहले महिमा के आखिरी घंटों को याद करते हुए सोनमती जोड़ती हैं, “घर से ही उसकी बोली बंद हो गयी थी. पूरे रास्ते और फिर अस्पताल में कुछ नहीं बोली. अस्पताल में उसे मेज़ पर एक करवट सुलाया गया था. जांच के लिए डॉक्टर ने थोड़ा खून निकाला तो उसके हाथ से खून बहने लगा.

 

मैंने खून साफ़ किया और उसके पास ही खड़ी रही. पर कुछ नहीं बोलीं बाबू हमार. हमतो सोच रहे थे हल्का बुखार है, घर ले जाकर पकौड़ी खिलाएंगे.

 

रात को मांग रही थी, हम खिला नहीं पाए. पर फिर बोली ही नहीं बाबू”. कुशीनगर की हाटा तहसील के डुमरीमलाओं गांव में रहने वाली 26 वर्षीय बिंदू यादव की कहानी भी सोनमती जैसी ही है. BBC

बिंदू

बिंदू बीते साल 17 अगस्त को उनके बेटे अनुज यादव की जापानी इंसेफेलाइटिस से मौत हो गई. 4 साल के अनुज ने अभी अभी पास ही के स्कूल की नर्सरी क्लास में पढ़ने जाना शुरू किया था कि अचानक एक रात उन्हें तेज बुखार आया. अपनी 7 साल की बेटी और 2 साल के बेटे को गोद में लिए बिंदु अब तीसरे खो चुके बेटे की याद में रोते हुए कहती हैं, “याद नहीं आएगा जी? जिसको अपने पेट से पैदा किए हों और चार साल तक सेवें (पालन पोषण) हों, उस बच्चे की याद नहीं आएगी?

 

हमको अनुज भूलता ही नहीं है एक क्षण को भी. उसके बाद हमने उसका कोई सामान कोई कपड़ा घर में नहीं रखा. सब निकाल कर बाहर कर दिया कि हमको याद न आए. पर हमको फिर भी अनुज की बहुत याद आती है. पहला बेटा था हमारा. इतना मानते थे बाबू को कि कभी मारा ही नहीं बाबू को. कभी हाथ नहीं उठाया बाबू पर. सबसे ज्यादा वही लाड़ले थे सबके. पापा के, दादी के और हमारे भी. बहुत शांत और प्यारा बच्चा. दाल भात खाकर खुश रहता था. रोज़ नहाकर स्कूल जाता था. पता नहीं कैसे इतना तेज़ बुखार हो गया बाबू को.” BBC

बिंदू की दादी

बिंदू की दादी

‘बाबू के प्राण ही न रहे’ गोरखपुर शहर से सिर्फ 40 किलोमीटर दूर मौजूद बिंदू का गांव भी गंदे तालाबों, खुले हुए नालों और कूड़े के ढेरों से अटा पड़ा था. बिंदू के घर आज भी शौचालय नहीं है और घर के ठीक सामने जमे हुए प्रदूषित पानी का एक बहुत बड़ा तालाब है. यानी जापानी इंसेफेलाइटिस के मच्छर के पैदा होने फैलने के लिए उपयुक्त माहौल. बिंदू बताती हैं कि अनुज की मृत्यु के बाद पहली बार सरकारी स्वास्थ कर्मचारी उनके गांव में दवाई का छिड़काव करने आए.

 

अपने बच्चे की बीमारी के दिन याद करते हुए बिंदू बताती हैं, “14 अगस्त को अचानक बाबू को तेज़ बुखार आया तो हम लोग हाटा के सरकारी अस्पताल ले गए. बाबू का शरीर एकदम अकड़ गया था और आंखें ऊपर हो गई थीं. बेहोश थे, कुछ नहीं बोले रस्ते भर. वहां डॉक्टर ने दो-चार घंटा रखा बाबू को.”

बिंदु कहती हैं, ”सुई लगाया, दवाई दिया और फिर हम लोगों को बोल दिया कि गोरखपुर मेडिकल ले जाएं. हम लोग तुरंत अपनी दुपहिया पर ही बाबू को गोरखपुर मेडिकल कालेज ले आए और यहाँ इंसेफेलाइटिस वार्ड में भर्ती करा दिया. उस दिन बाबू ने किसी को नहीं पहचाना. अगले दिन भी नहीं. फिर तीसरे दिन बाबू मम्मी पापा कहने लगे और थोड़ा कुछ खाने लगे. कहते थे मम्मी घर ले चलो, स्कूल जाउंगा. फिर चौथे दिन अचानक बुखार बढ़ गया और बाबू को आईसीयू में ले गए.

फिर उसके ऊपर वो कोई लेप लगाकर सीना मशीन से दबाकर जिंदा करने की कोशिश करने लगे. पर बाबू के प्राण ही न रहे शरीर में तो कैसे जिंदा होते?”

बिंदू का घर

BBC बिंदू का घर बच्चा बचाने के लिए पानी ख़रीदकर पिला रही हैं मांएं अनुज के बाद अब बिन्दू को अपनी बाकी दो बच्चों की जान का डर भी सताता रहता है. इंसेफेलाइटिस से लड़ने के अपने उपायों के बारे में वो कहती हैं,

“अब हम हैंडपंप का पानी बच्चों को नहीं पिलाते. हर रोज़ 15 रुपये का साफ़ पानी का कैन खरीदना पड़ता है पर पैसे खर्च करके बच्चों के लिए खरीदती हूं. बच्चों को मच्छरदानी में सुलाती हूं आयर रोज़ गर्म पानी करके नहलाती भी हूं.

इस दिमागी बुखार से हर साल हमारे यहाँ इतने बच्चे मरते हैं. अनुज के बाद एक डर बैठ गया है दिल में कि बाकी दो बच्चों को भी इंसेफेलाइटिस बुखार न हो जाए.”

Read more at: http://www.bbc.com/hindi/india-42653347

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UP- Divorced, remarried & murdered; no tears for Shabana #Vaw

A 32-year-old was brutally killed, allegedly by her husband, in Bijnor district of UP last month. But no tears are being shed there for the woman, who was divorced, remarried, and returned.

Written by Ankita Dwivedi Johri | Updated: January 7, 2018 2:07 pm

Kaun Shabana?In Noorpur village, where Shabana’s home stands locked, her sister says “she got involved in wrong things”. The 32-year-old was found with her throat slit and her private parts cut open. She was killed allegedly by her husband for being found with another man, whom she had to marry so that her husband who had divorced her could accept her back, as part of ‘nikaah-halala’.

In the three homes and two villages of Uttar Pradesh that knew Shabana though, none of that matters. Door after door is closed on every query about the mother of three with one answer: “she was badchalan (character-less)”.

“Mere bachchon ko badnaam kar diya, mujhe naamard kehti thi… Maine uski gardan kaat di (She defamed my children, called me impotent… I slit her throat),” says Mohammed Ateeq impassively in a “confession” video that Sub-Inspector K K Mishra, the kasba in-charge of Noorpur, shows on his phone. “Her character was bad, she ruined my home… Usko poora cheer diya (I tore her apart),” he continues.

It was on December 17 that Ateeq, 36, a resident of Noorpur in Bijnor, allegedly killed his wife Shabana after finding her in an “objectionable” state with Imran, 35. The couple, who had been married 13 years, have three children, aged 13, 10 and 5.

At Noorpur, a small village of nearly 500 homes where most men are employed as daily-wagers and rickshawpullers, Ateeq was once hailed for “breaking free”. Most men in the village talk about Ateeq’s three-year stint in Saudi Arabia five years ago, and how he “worked very hard at a factory there and returned with lots of money”.

For Shabana, who had accompanied Ateeq abroad, there is only contempt. “She spent all his money. She didn’t even take her children there. Everyone knew her character, she wasn’t a decent woman. After returning from Saudi, she had many affairs in the mohalla (locality),” claims the head of Noorpur kasba, Sannavar Hussain, 36.

According to him, Ateeq took his wife’s life “forced” by events. “She had made Ateeq’s life miserable, so he gave her talaq on June 4. Later, finding it difficult to look after the children, he proposed to marry her again. But, according to the Sharia, she had to first marry another man and then go through an ‘iddat’ period of three months. Shabana said she was willing to marry Ateeq’s friend Imran, and Ateeq agreed. But later, Imran and Shabana refused to divorce each other.”

Hussain believes what followed was only natural. “After much insistence, Imran gave Shabana talaq on December 9 and she returned to Ateeq’s home. But she continued to meet Imran. On December 17, Ateeq caught them at his house around 5.30 pm and killed her in anger.”

Hussain even finds the fact that Shabana moved out with Imran after their wedding a “proof” of her character. “They settled out of the village, in a rented accommodation. She didn’t bother about her children and didn’t want to return. Who would want to stay with such a woman?” he says.

In the village where Ateeq’s crumbling rented home stands locked, most people echo Hussain; others simply deny knowing Shabana. That includes her sister Rukhsaar, who lives less than 100 metres from where Shabana did. “I didn’t interact with her,” claims the 23-year-old, who stays in a one-room kuchcha house with her husband and three children. “We never visited each other. I learnt of her murder through a news item on the Internet. Later, several policemen visited the house,” Rukhsaar says curtly.

Probe her a little more about Shabana’s death, and she snaps, “Woh galat kaam mein pad gayi thi… shaadi toh unki marzi se hee hui thi (She got involved in wrong things. After all, she got married of her own will).”
Rukhsaar adds that her parents, who work as daily-wagers in Himachal Pradesh, had taken Shabana’s three children with them. “I don’t talk to them either,” she claims.

Next door, Shabana’s 26-year-old cousin Salim Ahmed, a daily-wager, repeats what Rukhsaar says. “She had chosen the wrong path… Why are you asking us questions, we didn’t speak to them,” he says, as his 22-year-old wife Salma Parveen asks, “Kaun Shabana (Shabana, who)?

At Imran’s home in the same village, his sons — aged 2 and 5 — are running around in the courtyard. He also has two daughters aged 8 and 10. His wife Hasrat Jehan, 33, and mother Akhilima, 55, who are sitting on a cot, say they were “shocked” by the news of Shabana’s murder. “I didn’t know that Imran had married Shabana. We didn’t know her. When we got the news, my husband and I were on our way to Chandigarh. We returned home from the station and Imran left home. I haven’t seen him since,” claims Jehan. Akhilima says her son is being framed.

Imran’s 24-year-old sister Mumtaz has another worry. “The news has spread… we are getting badmouthed. I was engaged a few months ago, but now the groom’s side isn’t responding. We can’t track my brother either. How long can I sit at home?” she says.

Jehan points out that her options too are few. “I have no place to go, both my parents are dead. Even when Imran returns, I can’t confront him. Kya gussa karoon, rehna toh yahin hai (What’s the point of anger? Where else can I go),” she says.

Thirty km away, in Samadgadh village in Kanth in Moradabad district, Ateeq’s uncle Shabban Ahmed, 50, says he heard about the incident from relatives. “Ateeq’s parents passed away when he was very young. His brother works in Delhi. They have not remained in touch with us.”

Sub-inspector Mishra says the trial is yet to start, but since the accused has confessed, it should be a straight-forward case. While playing the video of the “confession” on his phone one more time, he pulls out a picture of Shabana seized from her house. “There were no other pictures at their home, not even of their nikaah,” he says.

In the picture, Shabana stands in front of a colourful backdrop, wearing an embroidered salwar-kurta, a glittering necklace and golden bangles, her head covered with a dupatta. Her eyes are lined with kohl and her lips have a tint of red. “Yahi hai Shabana, isi ka murder hua tha (This is Shabana, she is the one who was murdered),” says Mishra.http://indianexpress.com/article/india/kaun-shabana-noorpur-talaq-nikaah-halala-uttar-pradesh-5014479/

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India – Concerns over ‘illegal’ detention of Dalits

At least 43 people have been arrested during Dalit protests in first week of January [Reuters/Shailesh Andrade]
At least 43 people have been arrested during Dalit protests in first week of January [Reuters/Shailesh Andrade]

Activists in India say hundreds of Dalits have been “illegally detained” and many others are in hiding, as police in Maharashtra state moved to arrest members of the community who took part in mass protests.

Last week, Dalits from across the state took to the streets to protest against a January 1 attack on the community, during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Bhima-Koregaon.

In that battle, in 1818, lower-caste Dalits sided withBritish colonial forces to defeat upper-caste rulers.

On Wednesday, Indian media reports quoted police as saying they had arrested 43 people, including three minors, in connection with the violence in Bhima-Koregaon in Pune district and ensuing protests across the state.

But Dalit organisations and activists told Al Jazeera the number of those who had been arrested exceeded 100, with 16 children among those detained.

Prakash Ambedkar, an activist and grand-son of Bhimrao Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution and a Dalit icon, said he fears thousands of Dalits are being “illegally detained” in Maharashtra.

“The combing operation that is being done now by the state police is not allowed under the law. A combing operation of this kind can only be done when you have declared the region as a ‘disturbed area’. That’s not the case in Mumbai. So this is an illegal act,” Ambedkar told Al Jazeera.

“The masses will have to decide whether they want this kind of lawlessness in the country or they want rule of law,” he added.

‘We were forced to flee our homes’

On January 3 and 4, police said members of the Dalit community stopped buses, blocked rail lines and shut shops in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra state during protests against the Bhima-Koregaon attack by right-wing groups.

Police have filed a case against two right-wing leaders, Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, for their role in the violence. Bhide is close to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a former member of the Hindu supremacist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Many Dalits, members of other less-privileged castes and Buddhists gather at the war memorial in the Bhima-Koregaon village to celebrate the defeat of the Hindu upper caste Peshwas, in an annual event.

A 28-year-old man was killed during the violence, according to the state government.

Santosh Gaikwad and his family – including his sisters and their children – are in hiding. They say the police are after them, following a complaint by leaders of the RSS, the ideological parent body of the BJP.

“We are forced to flee our homes and stay with relatives. If we return home, the police might arrest us,” Gaikwad, a businessman in Mumbai’s Vikhroli area, told Al Jazeera.

“My nieces [aged 20 and 22] have also been charged, along with the rest of my family, under Section 307 of the Indian penal code [which deals with] ‘attempt to murder’.

“We are unable to get to work; our lives are disrupted. We are filing for anticipatory bail now,” he said, while still in hiding.

Al Jazeera reached out to the Joint Commissioner (Law & Order) of Mumbai Police Deven Bharti, to confirm the numbers of those arrested. He asked us to send a written query instead, there had been no response by time of publication.

Demonstrators stopped trains and took to the streets to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon [Reuters/Danish Siddiqui]

Arrested, beaten and deprived of work

India is home to about 200 million Dalits, many of whom complain about continued social discrimination despite the outlawing of caste-based discrimination by parliament in 1955. Despite the protective measures, lower-caste groups, including Dalits, remain among the most marginalised communities.

This week, many lawyers from the Dalit community have stepped in to offer pro-bono legal aid to Dalits who were arrested during the protests.

“Around 125 people, including many kids, have been arrested. We are trying our best to ensure bail and to counter this injustice,” Kishor Walunje, a lawyer at Bombay High Court, told Al Jazeera.

“The main problem is the state: the police and the government have failed to protect vulnerable Dalits. Why have [they] arrested the peaceful protesters? This is a planned attack by RSS and Brahminical [upper-caste] forces,” he added.

Prashant Manohar Chandanay, another Dalit lawyer in the city of Pune, said he would “fight for those innocent Dalits wrongly incarcerated. It’s the least I can do as a lawyer and a Dalit”.

Right-wing leaders Ekbote and Bhide are yet to be arrested, despite cases filed against them for the January 1 attack on Dalits – under the Prevention of Atrocities Act, legislation which is specifically about crimes against Dalits.

Ashok Kamble, chief of the Maharashtra unit of the Dalit outfit, Bhim Army, says the state government is sending a message by not arresting these upper-caste men.

“These right-wing leaders who instigated the violence have got police protection. Even the state chief minister [Devendra Fadnavis] is a disciple of these people. How can you expect them to be punished?” Kamble, who was present at the Bhima-Koregaon event on January 1, told Al Jazeera.

“On that day at Bhima-Koregaon, I was injured when the police used batons and sticks to beat us mercilessly. Even women and children were not spared. Later, the police arrested Dalits under false charges, but not the perpetrators of the violence. I was also arrested on January 7,” Kamble, who is now out on bail, said.

The Maharashtra state Chief Minister Fadnavis has ordered a judicial probe into the violence.

Data from India’s National Crime Records Bureau shows that the rate of crime against Dalits has risen in recent years. At least 40,801 atrocities against Dalits were reported in 2016, up from 38,670 in 2015.

In 2016, the state of Gujarat and other parts of India were rocked by protests after four Dalit men in the city of Una were tied to a car, stripped and flogged by Hindu vigilantes, who accused them of skinning a cow, a revered animal for Hindus.

Many Dalits, previously branded “untouchables”, are still forced to do menial jobs such as “manual scavenging” – clearing faeces from dry toilets and open drains by hand, rag picking and the disposal of animal carcasses.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/concerns-illegal-detention-indian-dalits-180110152033805.html

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India – Law has always had a troubled relationship with sexuality, consent and gender

 

Indira Jaising

 

 

The significance of the Supreme Court order referring the constitutionality of Section 377 to a larger bench goes beyond LGBT rights. Current debates have focused on the decriminalisation of several laws and the legitimate role of criminal law in our legal system in matters of sexuality. Also central to the outcome is the role of consent and privacy in sexual matters, whether in heteroexual or same-sex relationships. This is what makes the constitutionality of Section 377 a human rights issue relevant to all genders.

It all began with Koushal Vs. Naz Foundation in which the Delhi High Court held that Section 377 was unconstitutional based primarily on the argument that it criminalises sexual activity between consenting adults in private, violates their right to privacy. Since then, it has been a game of snakes and ladders. The hard-won victory was reversed by the Supreme Court in Koushal, in what I consider an abdication of constitutional duty in refusing to decide the issue and passing the buck to Parliament. Since then, a curative petition has been entertained and referred to a larger bench and is pending.

A nine-judge bench in the privacy case then commented on Koushal and found that the fundamental right to privacy, once established, would necessarily make Koushal suspect. Many thought that it was only a matter of time before the section itself is struck down. This week, a few more steps have been climbed, towards the demise of Section 377. A petition challenging the section was referred to a larger bench. The clock is now ticking for the elimination of the section from our criminal laws.

But the failure to give pride of place to privacy in Koushal was only one of our problems. Section 377 hinges on what is considered “unnatural sex”. Since 2012, anal sex and oral sex are no longer considered “unnatural”.

Consider POCSO, which deals with sexual offences against children. This law is not only gender neutral qua sexual assault, but it also defines sexual assault broadly, including acts covered by Section 377. Thus, the law that would be applicable to a minor person is gender neutral and defines sexual assault broadly. On attaining adulthood, however, the same person would be faced with a gender-specific rape law, which no longer considers anal sex and oral sex “unnatural” for women but still does for men. Following the Delhi 2012 gangrape and murder incident, the IPC was amended, and rape included anal and oral sex without consent. This means that with consent, these acts are no longer an offence between heterosexual adults. Yet, these acts continue to be an offence under Section 377. This irrationality in the law can be traced to a lack of understanding of the role of consent in sexual matters and the negation of the right to define one’s own sexual identity. This makes no sense and it is here that the right to privacy comes in, protecting consensual sexual acts, a matter now concluded by Puttaswami vs Union of India.

The law in India has always had a troubled relationship with sexuality, consent and gender.

Consider the definition of rape in the IPC. A husband was not guilty of rape with a minor wife above 15 years of age whereas sex by anyone else with a woman below 18 is an offence. Marriage gives a man immunity from prosecution, overriding the consent of the wife even when sexual intercourse was harmful to his minor wife. This led the Supreme Court to hold that sex between a husband and his minor wife below the age of 18 is an offence and cannot be exempted from prosecution. Here, the concern, and rightly so, was the health and safety of the wife, overriding the right of the husband to have sex with his wife. Then again, a husband is never guilty of raping his own wife even if he has sex with her without her consent. Her consent is irrelevant. The fact of marriage grants him immunity from prosecution. Consent is overridden by the law in these cases.

Take the case of adultery. It is an offence for which a husband can bring a criminal case against the man who has sex with his wife “without his consent”. Her consent is irrelevant. We, as a society, are confused about why we make some behaviour an offence and not others, especially when it comes to sex, homosexual or heterosexual. For adults (not minors), the critical dividing line should be consent and not gender.

Sexual behaviour, when it is consensual, cannot be rebuked or criminalised.

When it impacts a third party as in adultery, a civil remedy enabling the person to opt out of marriage must be available, which does exist in all matrimonial laws. On the other hand, sexual behaviour between married adults without consent must be an offence, the issue here is that such behaviour violates the bodily and decisional autonomy of a person. It is a crime against the autonomy of heterosexuals and homosexuals. Sexuality is a means of self-expression and the choice to have sex with a partner of one’s preference cannot be deterred by any criminal law. I believe the criminal law has no role to play in matters of sexuality.

The court, while dealing with the constitutionality of Section 377, marital rape exemption and the law of adultery would do well to pin their judgment on the principle that adults have decisional autonomy in the matter of sex so long as they don’t harm others. The dividing line between a civil wrong and a crime must be kept in mind.

http://indianculturalforum.in/2018/01/10/crime-and-consent/

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India – Government May Remove Address Details From Passport And Change Colour To Orange

Government May Remove Address Details From Passport And Change Colour To Orange

The Ministry of External Affairs is considering a proposal to issue new passports without the last page that contains the residential address of the passport holder.

Hindustan Times reported that the ministry, to protect the citizens’ details, might remove the last page of the passport containing address, though the details will still be in their systems which can be read by scanning a barcode that’s in place on all passports issued since 2012.

“The decision to keep the last page of the passport blank was made to protect the citizens’ details,” Surendera Kumar, the undersecretary of policy and legal matters at the Consular, Passport and Visa Division of the ministry, told the newspaper.

The Hindustan Times report added that the ministry is also considering changing the present colour of the passports from blue to orange for quicker processing.

Currently, passports are issued in three different colours – government officers and peopale who travel to other countries for the Centre carry white passports, diplomats carry red ones and all others carry blue ones. The regular blue passports also have two categories – the first where emigration checks are required and the second where they are not.

According to reports, the ministry is also considering making the passports of those in the emigration check category (ECR category) orange.

Talking to the newspaper, the officials said, “Even if the new series is being issued, all existing passports will still remain valid until their expiry date.”

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/government-may-remove-address-details-from-passport-and-change-colour-to-orange/306756

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Delhi- People protest to liberate themselves from the shackles of #Aadhaar

12th of January marks the beginning of a month of protests against the UID project by various organisations. Protests were held in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Jharkhand and Bihar have events planned that will take place in the coming weeks. 

In Delhi, at Parliament Street, Kanshu Devi from Savitri Nagar spoke about how she is unable to get rations because her fingerprints are not recognised by the Aadhaar based machines installed at ration shops. Due to biometric failure, she has also not received her pension in months.

Santosh from Lal Gumbad stated that the machines also failed to recognise her fingerprints. Geeta from the same area has 3 children who have not been added to her ration card because, despite the fact that they have birth certificates, they do not have Aadhaar.

Ruksana and Geeta from Jagdamba Camp are facing the same issue. Their families therefore get much less ration than they are entitled to, putting an additional burden on them. 

The government and proponents of the UID have averred constantly, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the citizens of India have whole heartedly embraced the Aadhaar.

Citing enrolment rates to back this claim, they deliberately ignore the fact that Aadhaar has been made mandatory for all manner of common public services that range from birth to death of a resident, forcing people to enrol. These same proponents of the project are unable to fix the real issues with Aadhaar that continue to affect people’s lives. 

Students from AISA spoke about how students entitled to scholarships were being forced to enrol in Aadhaar in order to get their scholarships. Sucheta De explained how the UID has clearly become a surveillance project. Kavita Krishnan of the AIDWA explained the threat that the UID posed for people’s privacy. 

One last story is that of Neela Hardikar, from Morena who is in Delhi for the Book Fair and decided to attend the protest. She is a teacher who retired from Sarangpur, MP. She is 76 years old. When she went to enrol in the UID project in 2012, her iris didn’t get recorded so they refused her in 2012.

In 2013 when the rules changed she again tried to enrol using her fingerprints l, the machine recorded 4 prints. She was given an Enrolment ID but didn’t get the card in the mail or from the Center. In 2017 she finally got the UID from the ADM office, Morena by getting it downloaded online.

The ADM said she would have to update her biometrics. There were further problems with a mismatch in birthdates, the Aadhaar updation official they could only fix problems at a time.

 

She is so fed up that she says she is too old to fix it now and will live without Aadhaar.

We are also tired. Tired of the constant stream of stories, facts and information being ignored by the authorities and others. The system is not transparent, nor is it accountable. It has no form of relevant and accessible grievance redress to respond to people’s problems. The few times that UIDAI has sprung into action are when FIRs have been filed against whistleblowers or in matters concerning celebrities.

The last few months have seen reports of starvation deaths due to Aadhaar related issues. We have seen how easy (and cheap) it is to access the Aadhaar database via the explosive tribune report. Elderly pensioners continue to face massive difficulties in using biometric authentication. 

We stand together and say NO2UID, no to surveillance, no to starvation deaths, no to tech failures, no to human rights violations, and no to the coercive UID system. 

The protest was attended by Rethink Aadhaar, AISA, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, Right to Food Campaign.

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Full Text Letter Outlining Supreme Court Judges Complaint To Chief Justice

The press conference blew the lid on a growing rift between senior justices and the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Justice Chelameswar and three other senior Supreme Court judges addressed a historic press conference

NEW DELHI: 

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. The letter to the Chief Justice was written a couple of months ago
  2. The seven-page letter was released publicly by the four judges today
  3. Letter was written with “great anguish and concern”, the judges said

In a first, four senior judges of the Supreme Court have gone public against the Chief Justice, saying that “unless Supreme Court is preserved, democracy will not survive”. The press conference blew the lid on a growing rift between senior justices and the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. “The Chief Justice of India has left us with no option but to go public about what is going on within the Collegium,” Justice Chelameswar said.

Justice Chelameswar and his colleagues – Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph – made their concern public in a letter.

Read the full letter here:

“Dear Chief Justice,

It is with great anguish and concern that we have thought it proper to address this letter to you so as to highlight certain judicial orders passed by this court which has adversely affected the overall functioning of the justice delivering system and the independence of the high courts besides impacting the administrative functioning of the office of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India.

From the date of establishment of the three chartered High Courts of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, certain traditions have been well established. The traditions were embraced by this court which came into existence almost a century after the above mentioned courts. These traditions have their roots in the Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and practice.

One of the well settled principles is that the Chief Justice is the master of the roster with a privilege to determine the roster, necessity in multi numbered courts for an orderly transaction of business and appropriate arrangements with respect to matters with which member/bench of this court (as the case may be) is required to deal with which case or class of cases is to be made. The convention of recognising the privilege of the Chief Justice to form the roster and assign cases to different members/benches of the court is a convention devised for a disciplined and efficient transaction of business of the court but not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues. It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of this country that the chief justice is only the first amongst the equals – nothing more or nothing less.

In the matter of the determination of the roster there are well-settled and time honoured conventions guiding the chief justice, be the conventions dealing with the strength of the bench which is required to deal with a particular case or the composition thereof.

A necessary corollary to the above mentioned principle is the members of any multi numbered judicial body including this court would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matters which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition wise and strength wise with due regard to the roster fixed.

Any departure from the above two rules would not only lead to unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution. Not to talk about the chaos that would result from such departure.

We are sorry to say that off late the twin rules mentioned above have not been strictly adhered to. There have been instances where cases having far reaching consequences for the nation and the institution have been assigned by the chief justices of this court selectively to the benches “of their preference” without any rationale basis for such
assignment. This must be guarded against at all costs. We are not mentioning details only to avoid embarrassing the institution but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this institution to some extent.

In the above context, we deem it proper to address you presently with regard to the order dated October 27, 2017 in RP Luthra vs Union of India to the effect that there should be no further delay in finalising the memorandum of procedure (MoP) in the larger public interest. When the MoP was the subject matter of a decision of a Constitution Bench of this court, in Supreme Court Advocates-on-record Association and Anr Vs Union of India [(2016) 5 SCC1] it is difficult to understand as to how any other bench could have dealt with the matter.

The above apart, subsequent to the decision of the Constitution Bench, detailed discussions were held by the collegium of five judges (including myself) and the MoP was finalised and sent by the then Hon’ble Chief Justice of India to the Government of India in March 2017. The Government of India has not responded to the communication and in view of this silence, it must be taken that the MoP as finalised by the Collegium has been accepted by the Government on the basis of the order of this court in Supreme Court Advocates-on-record Association (Supra). There was, therefore, no occasion for the bench to make any observation with regard to the
finalisation of the MoP or that that issue cannot linger on for an indefinite period.

On July 4, 2017, a bench of seven judges of this court decided in Re, Hon’ble Justice C S Karnan [(2017)1 SCC1]. In that decision (referred to in RP Luthra), two of us observed that there is a need to revisit the process of appointment of judges and to set up a mechanism for corrective measures other than impeachment. No observation was made by any of the seven judges with regard to the MoP.

Any issue with regard to MoP should be discussed in the Chief Justices’ conference and by the full court. Such a matter of grave importance, if at all required to be taken on the judicial side, should be dealt with by none other than a constitution bench.

The above development must be viewed with serious concern. The hon’ble Chief Justice of India is duty bound to rectify the situation and take appropriate remedial measures after a full discussion with the other members of the collegium and at a later stage, if required, with other hon’ble judges of this court.

Once the issue arising from the order dated October 27, 2017, in RP Luthra Vs UOI, mentioned above, is adequately addressed by you and if it becomes so necessary, we will apprise you specifically of the other judicial orders passed by this court which would require to be similarly dealt with.

With kind regards,

 

Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B
Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph.

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Fact finding report of Bhima Koregaon Violence by  Rashtra Seva Dal

 

Located at the eastern side of Pune and situated on the banks of River Bhima, Koregaon-Bhima can be traced along Pune –Ahmadnagar highway and approximately 25 km from the Pune City whose population is around 7000-8000.

1st January 2018 was the occasion of celebrating the completion of 200 years of Bhima Koregaon battle. It is considered to be a valor day for Mahar regiment and was initiated by Dr B.R. AMBEDKAR nearly 90 years ago in 1927. From 1927 to 2018 the number of people belonging to and consisting of depressed classes from all over Maharashtra increased magnificently from a few thousands to nearly around 1.5 million this year.  Prior to this year’s conglomeration a substantial number of conferences were held all over Maharashtra in which hundreds of anti-caste groups under the banner of Elgaar had participated including that of Rashtra Seva Dal also .These conferences facilitated the record turnout at Bhima-Koregaon this year. The state administration was well –informed about all these developments.

In the year 1990-91, on the special occasion of the death anniversary of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and the birth centenary of Dr B.R.Ambedkar, a decision was taken to celebrate certain historical events like the establishment of the first women’s school at Bhidewada, Pune and the locations having historical significance like the birthplace of Savitribai Phule at Naygaon, Pune. Along with that, it was also decided to commemorate the things which have hitherto remained marginalized like the installation of the first statue of Gautam Buddha by Dr.B.R. AMBEDKAR on Dehu road near Pune. Celebration of the victory memorial of the Bhima-Koregaon battle as it was initiated by Dr.B.R AMBEDKAR on 1st January 1927 was also a part and parcel of this broader objective.

The Bhima-Koregaon war was fought between the British forces on the one hand and the Peshwas forces on the other. In that Peshwas had near about 20,000 soldiers while the British regiment known as Bombay Native Infantry, 2nd battalion consisted of merely around 1000 soldiers. However, latter were armed with better quality of arms and ammunition. This particular regiment consisted of Mahar community soldiers in majority.  Ultimately, the battle won by the British resulted in the downfall of Peshwa regime. It was during this regime that atrocities related to the caste system were at its peak and   the then untouchables along with women were at its receiving end. They were the most severe victims of caste-oppression and humiliations. The then untouchables were required to carry a pot hung from their chest to belly so that whenever they spit the matter should not fall on ground as it is considered to be impure.   Further, a broom was also used to be tied at the back of their waist so that while walking on the ground the impure traces of their footprints should automatically be get cleaned & cleared. This humiliation was the most prominent reason behind the Mahar community’s participation in the brave fight from the British side. That’s the reason behind Dr. Ambedkar’s commemoration of the event as a victory day.

Another version of this episode was that the end of Peshwa regime did not automatically resulted in putting a full stop to the caste oppression. Instead, in the aftermath of 1857 Sepoy Mutiny (which is also being upheld as the First War of Independence within the ranks of nationalist historiography), the British regime assured both the Brahmins and the Muslims that they will not interfere in the religious affairs of the indigenous communities. They discontinued with the recruitment of separate Mahar regiment in accordance with this assurance. Thus, as per the proponents of this version of history, the British strategy should be looked upon with a suspicion and thereby we should refrain ourselves from celebrating this battle as a Victory Day which according to them amounts to being an anti-national. The descendents of the Peshwas along with Hindutva forces hold on to this view and had also approached the court to demand a ban on the celebration of this day as a Victory Day. However, their petition was rejected by the court. Interestingly, the War Memorial has been standing at that place since last 200 years with the Martyr’s names inscribed on it. It consist not only the names of the soldiers from the Mahar Community but also a few Maratha and Other Backward Caste soldier’s names are visible alongside.

A few kilometers away from this memorial, a mausoleum of Chhatrapati Sambhaji is also situated at a village called Wadoo (BUDRUK). Renowned historian V.C .Bendre had discovered this mausoleum in the year 1939 which can be located in the Dalit locality of the village. Sambhaji, the then scholar of Sanskrit language became an eyesore to the Brahmins as gaining the knowledge of Sanskrit was prohibited for the non-Brahmins on the basis of Manusmriti dictums.  These Brahmins advised Aurangzeb to punish Sambhaji in accordance with the Manusmriti code which included the brutalities like to take out his eyes for the crime of reading Sanskrit Vedas, to cut off his head for memorizing them along with his body to be thrown out into pieces. A fatwa was issued prohibiting the cremation of his body parts. However, there was one  Govind Mahar who took up the responsibility of late Sambhaji’s last rites and duly cremated his body after sewing up those parts and pieces. Renowned historians apart from V.C.Bendre like Kamal Gokhle and Shrad Patil had also corroborated this version.

However there is another version coming from Hindutwavaadi forces is that the body parts were not sewed by a Mahar but was done by a Maratha. Hence the Marathas of the village are claiming that it is the ancestor of a maratha Family named Sevale who had performed the last rites of Sambhaji. The Hindutwavaadi forces are giving this twist to the story of punishment to Sambhaji for the last 25 years in western Maharashtra which has added fuel to fire in the riots on 1st January.

On 28th December 2017, existing family members of the Govind Mahar had fixed a board indicating direction towards his Sambhaji’s mausoleum. However, certain miscreants from the same village removed the hoarding. They also removed and threw away the shed over the mausoleum of Govind  Mahar. Latter’s family members lodged a police complaint and accordingly 49 people were arrested from the village. On 1st January 2018, a rumor spread like a wildfire that some suspicious activity is taking place at Sambhaji Maharaj’s mausoleum. An organization called Hindu Aaghadi has been active for quite some time in this area. They have been holding public meetings for the last three weeks and were issuing warnings to the people in the gathering that those who would assemble on 1st January would be considered as anti-national. One amongst them held a press conference on 28th December 2017 at Pune and publicly said that probably India is the only country in the entire world where some anti-national elements can celebrate the victory of a foreign power over nationalist forces (i.e. Peshwas) and the incumbent government instead of interrogating them provides all facilities to hold such public gatherings.

On 29th, 30th and 31st December 2017, law and order was presided over BHIMA –KOREGAON, Wadoo (BUDRUK) along with Sanaswadi. However, some strangers were found loitering around these villages. The Bhima-Koregaon village council had passed a resolution to observe a shutdown on 1st January 2018 and had also submitted a copy of the resolution to the nearest Police station at SHIKRAPUR. But the Police ignored it and grossly underestimated the situation.

On 1st JANUARY 2018 people from all over Maharashtra were approaching to gather at Bhima-Koregaon. On the other hand, thousands of people with saffron flags had assembled at Vadhu(Budruk) around 10a.m.The open space around Bhima-Koregaon was filled with the vehicles parked by those who came to celebrate the memorial and Victory Day. After parking their vehicles, people came walking for 3-4 kilometers towards the memorial which included women, children and elderly. Around 11 a.m., an attack was launched upon them by the bearers of the saffron flag. Hundreds of vehicles were burnt down. The riots escalated further towards the Sanaswadi and Chakan-Shikrapur road. The attackers were duly equipped with stones and other sharp-edged weapons. A  shop belonging to one Salim Inamdar was set ablaze. Petrol was freely used to burn the vehicles. A warehouse belonging to one Salim Khan was put on fire. A Tire-shop belonging to one Asgar Ali Ansari was burnt. His younger brother who had taken shelter inside the shop fled when the shop was put on fire. A cylinder in the adjacent hotel got burst which burnt the shop Sarvesh Autolines belonging to one Bhausaheb Khetre. The two trucks (truck no. MH-12-786 and MH-12- 2757) in front of one Razzak Bhai’s garage were put on fire. A shop belonging to one Shivraj Prajapati displaying the nameplate- ‘Ranabhai Marble’ was looted. A warehouse of firewood belonging to one Haribhau Darekar was burnt.

One Dalit by the name of Sudam Shankar Pawar, a project affected person who had been rehabilitated in the Sanaswadi and who had received two acres of land out of which 1 and ½ acres is used for Sugar Cane cultivation while in the rest of his land a Buddha Vihar has been built along with a meeting hall and an open space. He has also built 29 one room row houses (Chawl). On 1st January 2018, around 6pm a crowd marching from the side of a steel factory entered his field and broke the vehicles parked in his open space and put on fire his sugar-cane field from all the sides and also broke the glass –panes of the Buddha VIHAR. Interestingly, the houses and the fields belonging to Darekar and Hargude remained intact which were just in front of his home. Thus, it becomes apparent that the rioters had targeted only Sudam Pawer’s house and field because he is a Dalit. Similarly, the attackers also pelted stones towards the houses of Ravi Kamble and Athwale. The studio of a famous painter and sculptor, Elvin Fernandes was also burnt. The property of Mr. Mutha Jain was put on fire. On the   Pune-Ahmed Nagar road, the fire brigade vehicle was also put on fire. In total 5000 vehicles were destroyed. 50 cars and luxury buses were burnt.

Following questions can be raised with regard to the whole incident:-

  1. Who took the decision for the shutdown on 1stJanuary 2018? How come a village which claims to provide hospitality to the outsiders every year gave a call for shutdown on very day this year? As a result of which the visitors did not even get a glass of water to drink.
  2. We noticed a tremendous fear among the common people in the Bhima –Koregaon who requested us repeatedly not to write their names in our report. Due to this same fear, the existing family members of the Govind Mahar of Vadoo-Budruk who had filed a case earlier have retracted now. All 49 people who were arrested in the case of destruction of Govind Mahar’s mausoleum have now been freed. What is the cause of this fear psyche?
  3. The Hindutva forces which are clearly involved in this entire episode are roaming freely around, giving interviews and putting up distorted video clippings on social media relegating the entire blame at the doors of Dalits for whatever happened. What is the state administration doing?
  4. This whole episode clearly indicates an attempt directed to divide the Dalits and the Marathas along caste lines thereby disrupting the social fabric of Maharashtra. Why the law and order agencies are not paying any attention to the polarization effect taking place due to this incident?

 

 

Our demands are as follows:-

  • Arrest immediately the main culprits involved in the riots of Bhima-Koregaon.
  • A judicial inquiry must be immediately instituted and it should duly publish its report.
  • The role of the police and the administration should be investigated and the guilty persons should be punished accordingly.
  • The role of the media in this entire episode should be scrutinized.

 

 

Team members of Rashtra Seva Dal who conducted this fact finding are:-

  • Suresh Khairnar (President)
  • Allauddin Sheikh
  • Vinay Sawant
  • Feroz Mithiborewala
  • Puja Badekar
  • Shivraj Suryavanshi  in association with
  • Bharat Patankar and

8) Kishor Dhamale

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Bangalore – Aadhaar protest: Citizens question linkage, raise privacy concerns #BreakAadhaarChains


BENGALURU: Citizens from various parts of Bengaluru and other districts of Karnatakabraved the heat on Friday to register their protest against Aadhaar, claiming their access to welfare schemes like pension and ration had been restricted ever since the 12-digit number was made mandatory for various services.
Town Hall, the protest venue, saw around 100 people displaying placards and banners calling fellow citizens to ‘break Aadhaar chains’. The demonstration-cum-discussion was organized by several NGOs working for the welfare of disadvantaged citizens who are unable to avail of several Aadhaar-linked schemes and academic scholarships. It was a platform for citizens to discuss the exclusive nature of Aadhaar, ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on its validity beginning January 17.

“The Karnataka cabinet on January 9 approved a central legislation that allows government departments to make Aadhaar a must for citizens to avail of subsidies,” a statement from the NGOs said.

Kshitij Urs, head of Action Aid Karnataka, said 300 affidavits had been filed from across Karnataka and more than 1,000 signed petitions had been submitted to SC in the Right to Privacy case. “Aadhaar is making people beg for the bare minimum (subsidies) to survive. People are realizing its disadvantages and are starting to speak up,” he said.

A group of 20 Dalit families in Chintamani, Chikkaballapura, recently took to the streets to demand ration, which they claimed was being unfairly denied to them. “Of the 45 families, nearly 20 of us didn’t get ration for over a year. Our pleas fell on deaf ears so on January 8 and 9, we sat in front of the ration shops till we got the foodgrains. We collected greens from the forests and cooked and ate them on the road to prove our desperation. Though senior officials came to meet us, we didn’t budge. Finally, all 20 families received between 350 and 550kgs of rice. We were also told that our ‘cancelled’ cards would be reactivated,” said Nagesh, member of one of the aggrieved families.

Vinay Sreenivasa from Alternative Law Forum (ALF) said the turnout proved that problems with Aadhaar were not just the domain of the “wine and cheese social media elite”. “The issues permeate the grassroots level too. Why introduce a virtual id when people barely understand Aadhaar? Many are not even aware that it not a card but a number. The Act itself is interpretative, with issues like Aadhaar linkage being grey areas. Consent for linking is not being considered by many companies. Issues will crop up when you link everything to one form of identification. What happens when that fails,” he questioned.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/aadhaar-protest-citizens-question-linkage-raise-privacy-concerns/articleshow/62479448.cms

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Mumbai – Activists launch #BreakAadhaarChains campaign- ‘Aadhaar unconstitutional, flawed by design’

 

 

 

Activists to launch national campaign to ensure Aadhaar is not made mandatory

Independent activists came together under the banner of Rethink Aadhaar on Friday demanding that Aadhaar not be made mandatory for the entitlement of any service.

The activists, who met at the Mumbai Press Club, also claimed that enrolment and production of a unique number must be made strictly voluntary.

Raghu Godavarthi, one of the conveners of the meeting, said the event was part of a national programme and similar groups were being formed in Delhi and Bangalore. Mr. Godavarthi said, “Our goal is to expose the flaws in the Aadhaar project in the lead up to the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for January 17.”

The speakers included the first petitioners in the case: Vickram Crishna, Dr. G. Nagarjuna and Kamayani Bali Mahabal. They highlighted issues such as the denial of basic entitlements and services, coercive tactics to ensure enrolment, technological issues with the project. The project has been riddled with problems in fingerprint and retinal scans, security of data, potential for surveillance and the lack of transparency and grievance redress system.

“Aadhaar is entering its ninth year and yet it is being called a project that is in its infancy,” said Mr. Godavarthi. He added that media and citizens have not been very successful in tracking Aadhaar’s failure. “We feel that Aadhaar in its current form is unconstitutional and flawed by design. The problems linked to the programme have expanded with its expansion.”

Activist Dr. Nagarjuna said the core issue is the centralisation of power, which goes against the idea of democracy. He said, “It is very important to fight together against this crime that is being committed under the name of social justice. It is all a lie. There is potential for a leakage in information every time we link it some agency.”

Ms. Kamayani Mahabal, who filed a petition in the Supreme Court, said, “The gender biases within the system came out only after I filed the petition. There have been several instances where women have been denied family planning options, as they did not posses an Aadhaar card. Linking of services to the project has been criticised by all.”

Welfare researcher Sakina Dhorajiwala narrated three cases from Jharkhand where people had starved to death as they were denied rations because their Aadhaar card was not linked to the Public Distribution System.

Krishnakant Mane, who is visually impaired, said, “My impairment is due to a faulty retina and hence I have been denied an Aadhaar card.” He said people with disabilities faced difficulties in obtaining an Aadhaar card.

Mr. Mane said, “I have seen cases where people who have been affected by leprosy have been denied a card as their fingerprints could not be read. Are they not eligible for such public services?”

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-mumbai/aadhaar-unconstitutional-flawed-by-design/article22433684.ece

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