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Archives for : April2018

A Monumental Work for Health Justice #BookReview

 

Mohan Rao

Textbook of Global Health by Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Yogan Pillay and Timothy H Holtz, New York: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp xxxvi + 674; fourth edition, price not indicated.

On 7 February 2018, in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, the police arrested a “quack” for infecting 58 people with HIV by using the same unsterilised syringe. He was treating them for coughs and colds and charged only ₹10 per injection. Newspapers reported that 25 of them had been referred to Kanpur for antiretroviral (ART) treatment. Irate villagers complained that, given the absence of public health facilities, they had no option but to avail the services of the “quack,” who was always there, and was kind and friendly, unlike the staff at the nearest public health centre (PHC). The PHC was also shabby, neglected, and without adequate doctors or medicines.

On 30 November 2017, a pair of twins were born pre-term at the upscale Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, Delhi; a hospital so upscale, one has to go through a security check before entering. Upon being declared dead in the hospital, while being taken for the last rites, it was noticed that one of the babies was alive. Admitted into another hospital, the baby died after a week on life support. With the massive backlash that ensued against this private hospital, the government was forced to cancel its licence.

On 8 November 2014, 13 women who underwent sterilisation operations—conducted in an abandoned private hospital building—in a government camp in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh, died following the operation. The surgeon responsible, R K Gupta, had carried out 83 sterilisations in three hours, using a single laparoscope without adequate asepsis (Sama, JSA and NAMHHR 2014). Of course, nobody called Gupta a quack. On the contrary, upon performing 5,000 sterilisations in his career, he had been awarded by the state.

Beyond Conventional Approach

A conventional textbook of public health —wedded to either the biomedical approach that views illness and death as located within the individual body, or the behavioural school, that views illness and death as arising from wrong behaviours, which it then sets out to correct through health education—would not see any link between these three events. The Unnao incident would be attributed to the ignorance of the villagers, and the Max Hospital events and the Bilaspur deaths to the medical negligence of individual doctors. This would be the approach that would possibly find resonance in the standard textbook used in India for the training of doctors, namely, Park’s Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine (Park 2017).

Neither of these dominant approaches of public health would link the above events to structural and systemic issues that create health problems and contour public health interventions. Indeed, they would divest the word “public” from public health, reducing health to an individual issue. What this also does is depoliticise public health, disregarding the heady words of the 19th-century medical reformer, Rudolf Virchow, who argued that “medicine is a social science and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale.”

Since Virchow’s time, of course, the approach to public health that is known as the political economy approach has evolved. The unit of study here is the population as a whole, although it does not ignore the individual. It is firmly committed to a historical analysis of the present. Any problem here is relational; we seek to know the extent of a problem in relation to all health problems, and in relation to other health problems. This approach is necessarily interdisciplinary and employs both quantitative and qualitative data. Above all, it reveals how the health of populations and individuals is shaped by political and economic structures, globally and nationally. Health is not an individual biological event, although so expressed, but is socially created.

Classic of Critical Epidemiology

It is this approach that is magnificently illustrated in the book under review, Textbook of Global Health, which must be made compulsory reading in the training of all public health workers. The book covers a very wide canvas of public health at the most macro level of international trade and finance. It studies their implications for public health, traversing regions and nation states, and then showing us how these contour the lives and the health of individuals. Case studies link an individual garment worker in Bangladesh with an illegal migrant worker in the United States (US) who buys this garment. The work is based on impressive analyses of a wide array of data from international organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Monetary Fund, national government reports, and a wide range of academic research from across the world. Fundamentally, what it does is completely undermine biomedical and behavioural explanations of health, both at the individual and population levels. Always historically located, the book is a masterpiece of critical epidemiology, wedding together political economy and Kreiger’s eco-social theory (Kreiger 2011). A singular contribution of this book has been that it goes beyond the social determinants of the health model, highlighting the need to understand the “causes of causes.” Above all, the book is beautifully written and a pleasure to read.

Textbook of Global Health covers an astonishing range of issues in public health, from the historical origins of public health under colonialism, to how imperialism shapes health interventions today. Thus, it is noted that the colonial explanations of diseases and deaths in the imperial centres of tropical medicine “located sickness in individual bodies rather than in the body politic” (p 11).

Political and medical officials alike failed to consider the “civilising” process—wars of conquest, the slave trade … large-scale population displacement, forced labour in industrial enterprises, environmental degradation. (p 11)

It was this process, as much as the extraction and transfer of loot and surplus that caused recurrent famines and epidemics in the colonies. All too frequently, colonial officials blamed these on “overpopulation.” Thus it was that India entered the 20th century with an average life expectancy of 22 years, the average life expectancy of pre-agricultural societies.

Utilising this approach, the three events with which I began this review would be linked by the health crisis we have in India, the appalling neglect of public health that forces people into the arms of the largest and least-regulated private medical industry in the world, extracting super-profits. The public system concentrates its pitiful resources on a notoriously coercive population control programme—the largest public health intervention in the world—such that events like the tragedy at Bilaspur, are waiting to happen. All these have been shaped by international agencies in public health, in particular the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

International Health

Colonial and postcolonial periods witnessed what has been called international health, with a range of institutions at the international level interacting with nation states. So, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation extended US policy concerns through public health aid, while the WHO emerged as the main institution of global relevance to public health. With the wane of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world entered a neo-liberal order, which now shapes global health. The role of the WHO has shrunk, while the World Bank is the biggest lender in health. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has emerged as a big funder in public health, especially reproductive health, although its role is plagued by profound conflicts of interest. They work not primarily through the nation state, but by encouraging private players, even while international health is increasingly privatised. A new set of international regulations, undergirded by the WTO, shapes important issues like pharmaceutical patents and trade, while health is getting increasingly financialised.

In the dominant approaches to public health, the argument is made that as societies undergo an epidemiological transition, with a decline of environmentally caused communicable diseases, there occurs the concomitant rise of “lifestyle-led” non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This approach profoundly undermines the environmental and political causes of NCDs. Thus, for example, the leading role played by multinational food corporations in the global epidemic of diabetes and hypertension is glossed over. Indeed, 10 of the largest food and beverage multinationals have “lobbied aggressively to influence WHO’s standard-setting and policymaking activities around diet-related NCDs” (p 169). While analysing these patterns of diseases, the authors intriguingly present them on a grid of modernisation. It was not clear to me as to what analytical or practical use this serves. Let me give the example of hypertension and diabetes in populations on the verge of starvation in India. These are neither lifestyle diseases, nor are they diseases of affluence. This epidemic is taking place in populations that are victims of modernisation. Modernisation in the imperial countries came as a consequence of the ravishment of the colonies, which prevented the modernisation of any sort in the latter, now being subject to a double burden of diseases.

A masterful chapter traces varying patterns of health system development in the world and their political and economic reasons and consequences. Thus, we find that Scandinavian countries—with their tax-based systems of universal health care and accompanied social welfare measures—have the best health indicators, while the US, with largely insurance-based, privately provided care, has the worst. The US, despite spending more on health than any other country in the world, lists iatrogenesis, that is, medical treatment-induced illness or injury, among the top 10 leading causes of death. Out-of-pocket medical expenditure in the US, as in India, is a leading cause of bankruptcy and indebtedness.

It is frequently argued that poor nations do not have the resources to provide universal free healthcare. This argument is especially made in the context of countries of the sub-Saharan region. However, the authors have refuted this argument.

The capital flight numbers out of Africa reaching almost $300 billion from 39 countries for 2005 to 2010 (or over $1 trillion spanning the 1970 to 2008 period) offer a stark illustration of why there are so few resources available for domestic investment. (p 390)

The countries of the South are subsidising medical care in the high-income countries (HICs) with “Four HICs—Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the US—accounting for 72% of foreign-born nurses and 69% of foreign-born doctors in the world” (p 512).

Exceptional Contributions

One of the unique contributions of Textbook of Global Health, not seen in any other book on public health, is the attention to political ecology in relation to climate change and its implications for health. Thus, we are told that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions are three and a half times higher in wealthier nations than in poorer nations.

The United States alone, with just 4.4% of the global population, consumes nearly 20% of the world’s energy resources. The African continent, by contrast, comprises 16% of the world’s population and accounts for a mere 3% of world energy consumption. (p 447)

Thus, population growth is not the driving force in global warming. The second unique contribution is the attention given to conflict and its implications for public health. Case studies from Iraq and Palestine are presented, in addition to conflicts in Africa. In doing so, the authors hold a mirror to the current global arrangement of power and the conflicts it engenders, drawing attention to the health disaster caused by sanctions in Iraq and the medical disaster caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The third unique contribution is that the book makes clear how societal factors—caste, gender, sexuality and marginalisation—shape not just the occurrence of diseases, but also the access to care. Here, again, with the study of HIV in Africa, we understand how patent rules set by the WTO caused the deaths of thousands of patients in Africa who were prevented from accessing cheaper ARTs made in India.

What this dazzling book does is to show us how merely fighting for health rights is not enough; the cry for universal health is a cry for social justice. The authors are social scientists and public health workers with a remarkable vision of public health and how it can contribute to a better world, more just and more equitable.

References

Kreiger, Nancy (2011): Epidemiology and People’s Health: Theory and Context, New York: Oxford University Press.

Park K (2017): Park’s Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jabalpur: Bhanot Publishers.

Sama, J S A and NAMHHR (2014): “Camp of Wrongs: The Mourning Afterwards—A Fact-Finding Report on Sterilisation Deaths in Bilaspur,” Sama–Resource Group for Women and Health, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights, New Delhi.’

([email protected]) is with the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

source-EPW

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Public Health Activists Oppose Maneka Gandhi’s Move to Packaged Nutrients over Take Home Rations in Anganwadis

 

Gandhi made the news recently by opposing her own ministry into wanting to convert these to factory made packets instead of sourcing local food items and ingredients. Citing food safety she has pushed for a powdered formula that can be mixed with regular meals.

 

 

To

Ms. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Minister

Ministry of Women and Child Development

Govt. of India

 

Dear Madam,

 

We write to you to express our concerns regarding your plan to convert all take home rations given by Anganwadi centres to children in the age group of 6 months to 3 years and pregnant and lactating women, with “energy-dense, factory-made nutrient packets”, as has been reported by the media. Such a move would open doors for private contractors and suppliers, taking control over what is given in Anganwadi centres in a decentralised manner.

Children need adequate quantities of wholesome, diverse foods to grow and develop. These foods should meet their requirements of various nutrients, as well as calories. Lack of enough food, especially diverse food, means that children are unable to meet their nutritional requirements. The “supplementary nutrition programme” (SNP) under ICDS is expected to play an important role in combating child malnutrition. As shown by NFHS-4 data, less than 10% of children under two years in our country are currently receiving adequate diet[1], highlighting the urgent need to take measures to ensure dietary diversity and appropriate care and feeding for young children. Introducing nutrient packets would take us away from the objective of moving towards dietary diversity.

In the context of increasing burden of non-communicable diseases in India, experts have been warning us against excessive use of processed and ultra-processed foods. In a recent International Conference on the double burden of malnutrition held in Delhi, a number of country experiences were presented where successful strategies to combat malnutrition included supporting local food systems, improving livelihoods and access to healthy foods.

For years, the Right to Food Campaign has been fighting the battle against the role of private contractors in the supply of supplementary nutrition in the ICDS. In state after state it has been seen that the unholy nexus between the contractors and politicians/bureaucrats result in central contracts worth hundreds of crores for supply of food to ICDS. The quality of food supplied to the centres is compromised while companies make profits from the meagre allocation on supplementary nutrition. Recent scams related to the above have been brought to light in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The ICDS’s supplementary nutrition programme (SNP) serves a range of important purposes.  It not only provides quantitative supplementation by increasing children’s food intake but also enhances the quality of diets by giving them nutritious and diverse food items they may not get at home, such as vegetables, eggs, fruit, etc. The provision of nutritious, cooked meals at the Anganwadi is a form of “nutrition education” – it helps to convey what a nutritious meal looks like, and to spread the notion that children need require a regular and balanced intake of various nutrients. It provides the opportunity to create employment for local women as well as demand for local product such as vegetables, eggs, etc. All of this is possible only when the food is produced and distributed in a decentralised manner.

We are opposed to these repeated attempts to serve commercial interests in the supply of nutrition in ICDS. The Supreme Court orders related to banning private contractors must be strictly adhered to. Adequate allocations must be made to ensure diverse and nutritious food, including eggs, are provided to children in Anganwadi centres (in the form of hot cooked meals or take home rations depending on local conditions) in a decentralised manner. Local groups must be provided the training and support required to deliver nutritious and hygienic food.

Intervention to replace locally made food compromises decentralised autonomy and community control. They also detract from local livelihoods and take away the option of using local foods and recipes many of which have good nutritional value. It also violates the Act which gives responsibility to the State Governments to “implement schemes covering entitlements under sections 4, 5 and section 6 in accordance with the guidelines, including cost sharing, between the Central Government and the State Governments.”

 

Large, global and national food corporations see children’s hunger and malnourishment as a source of profits and are trying to influence government policy towards providing packaged foods. We request you not to give in to the interest of profit and continue to abide by the letter and spirit of the National Food Security Act in providing locally made take home rations to children in the Anganwadi centres.

 

Thank you.

 

With regards,

 

We are,

 

  1. Aabida – Advocate, New Delhi
  2. Action India, New Delhi
  3. Aditya Srivastava – Advocate
  4. Adivasi Adhikar Samiti – Chhattisgarh
  5. Ajay K Jha – PAIRVI
  6. Ajay Naskar, BMCDM, Kolkata
  7. Alex Ekka, Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi
  8. All India Democratic Women’s Association
  9. All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers
  10. All India Progressive Women’s Association
  11. Alliance for People’s Rights, New Delhi
  12. Alpana Nai – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat
  13. Amar Jesani
  14. Amita De, Secretary, Shramajivi Mahila Samity
  15. Ankita Aggarwal – Right to Food Campaign Secretariat
  16. Ann Suraksha Adhikar Abhiyan – Gujarat
  17. Anwar Haque – Aman Biradari
  18. Archana Srivastava – – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat
  19. Aruna Rodrigues, Madhya Pradesh
  20. Asha Mishra –Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti
  21. Asima – New Delhi
  22. Asha Kilaru, Public Health Researcher
  23. Astha Samiti – Kawardha, Chhattisgarh
  24. Aysha, New Delhi
  25. Bhanu Chauhan – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat
  26. Bhavika Patil – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat
  27. Bhavna Rajput – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat
  28. Bhuvaneswari Sunil – Common Health, CMNHSA
  29. Bidyut Mohanty
  30. Chandubhai Vankar – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat
  31. Charm Shakeel – Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Bihar
  32. Charul – Loknaad, Gujarat
  33. Chhaya Pachauli, Prayas (Rajasthan)
  34. Chirashree Ghosh, Mobile Crèches
  35. CS Verma, JSAUP
  36. Debmalya Nandy, Jharkhand, Right to Food Campaign
  37. Denny John –  Evidence Synthesis Specialist, Campbell Collaboration, New Delhi
  38. Devika Singh – Mobile Crèche’s, New Delhi
  39. Dheeraj Bharat – Gurunanak Dev University
  40. Dileep Vankar – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat
  41. Dilli Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan
  42. Dilnavaz Variava, Sahayak Trust, Mumbai
  43. Dipa Sinha – Right to Food Campaign
  44. Dr Arun Gupta – Central coordinator BPNI, New Delhi
45. Dr. Antony PM – Tribal Research and Training Centre, Jharkhand

46. Dr. B Ekbal

47. Dr V Rukmini Rao, Executive Director, Gramya Resource Centre for Women, Secunderabad

48. Dr Vaishali Patil, Lok Manch Maharashtra

49. Dr. Adarsh Sharma – Former Director, NIPPCD

50. Dr. Indira Hirway, Director and Professor of Economics, Center for Development Alternatives

51. Dr Jacob Puliyel, MRCP, Paediatrician

52. Prof Dr K K Krishnamurthi, President, Indian Society for Certification of Organic Products (ISCOP)

53. Dr. Kashi Nath Chatterjee – General Secretary, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti

54. Dr. Mridul Eapen – Member Kerala State Planning Board, Trivandrum

55. Dr. Naveeda Khatoon –  National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development

56. Dr. Shanmugamvelayuthan – FORCES, Tamil Nadu

57. Dr. Shobha Suri – BPNI

58. Dr. Subodh Gupta (social paediatrician, MGIMS, Wardha)

59. Dr. Suresh – Praja Arogya Vedika

60. Dr. Vandana Prasad – Public Health Resource Network

61. Dr Vinay Kulkarni, PRAYAS Pune

62. Dunu Roy – Hazards Centre

63. Fr. Jothi SJ – Director Udayani Social Action Forum

64. Gyan Vigyan Samiti – Jharkhand

65. Guliben Nayak- Devgadh Mahila Sanghatan

66. HAQ – Centre for Child Rights

67. Harsh Kinger –  Living Farms, Odisha

68. Harsh Mander – Centre for Equity Studies

69. Jan Sahyogi Manch – Charama, Kanker Chhattisgarh

70. Jan Swasthya Abhiyan

71. Janjati Vikas Samiti, Raipur Balrampur, Chhattisgarh

72. Jashodhara Das Gupta – NFI

73. Javed – New Delhi

74. Jean Drèze, Ranchi University

75. Jeevika Shiv, Neeta Hardikar- Anna Suraksha Adhikar Abhiyan, Gujarat

76. Jigisha – Alliance for Right to ECD

77. Jigisha A shastri, Bangalore

78. Jignesh Jadav – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

79. Jyotsana Parmar – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

80. Kalpana Mahadik – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

81. Kamlesh Khantwal – Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Uttarakhand

82. Kandala, Public Health Resource Network

83. Kapil Shah, Jatan, Gujarat

84. Kathyayini Chamaraj – CIVIC, Bangalore

85. Kavita Srivastava – Right to Food Campaign

86. Kavitha – The Sahayak Trust

87. Kavitha Kuruganti – Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture

88. Khushboo Singhania, Bosch Ltd, Bangalore

89. Krishna Damor – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

90. Kumar Sanjay, Right to Food Campaign, Ranchi, Jharkhand

91. Leni Chaudhuri, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, Mumbai

92. Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch – Gujarat

93. Mamta Jaitley – Vividha Features, Jaipur

94. Manushi Sheth – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

95. Maternal Health Rights Campaign – Madhya Pradesh

96. Md. Maroof – Alshifa Hospital, New Delhi

97. Mithilesh Kumar, Video Volunteers

98. Moushumi Bhowmik, Independent Artist, Researcher, Kolkata

99. Mridula Bajaj, New Delhi

100. Mubashira Zaidi – ISST, New Delhi

101. Muneer Mammi Kutty – Public Health Resource Network

102. Parveen – New Delhi

103. Pashchim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti

104. Nachiket Udupa

105. Nadeem – New Delhi

106. Nagarathna B M and Team, Asare – Rural Women Voluntary Organisation, Karnataka

107. NAMHHR

108. Nandini Nayak – Ambedkar University, Delhi

109. National Federation of Indian Women

110. NAZDEEK

111. Neenu Suresh – National Law School of India University

112. Neeta Panchal – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

113. Neetu Sharma – National Law School of India University

114. Neha Dhingra, Head of Knowledge Management, Surge Impact Foundation, Telangana

115. Nibedita Phukan, New Delhi

116. Niranjan Aradhya – CCL, NLSIU

117. Nisha – St. Stephen’s Hospital

118. Nitya Rao, Professor Gender and Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

119. Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI)

120. Organic Farmers Market, Chennai

121. Pallavi Gupta – Public Health Practitioner

122. Paul Lakra, Human Life Development and Research Centre, Matigara, West Bengal

123. People’s Budget Initiative (PBI)

124. Prithvi, Bangalore

125. Rabindranath Chakrabarty, TUCC, West Bengal

126. Radhika Desai – Hyderabad

127. Rajendran N – Azim Premji University

128. Ranjeet Kindo, Tribal Research and Training Centre, Chaibasa, West Singhbhum

129. Rakhi Sehgal – Labour Research Collective, New Delhi

130. Ravi Duggal – Public Health Researcher and Activist

131. Rekha Macwana – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

132. Rekha Sharma Sen – New Delhi

133. Renu Khanna – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

134. Restore, Chennai

135. Right to Food Campaign –  Chhattisgarh

136. Right to Food Campaign – Bihar

137. Right to Food Campaign – Karnataka

138. Right to Food Campaign – Odisha

139. Right to Food Campaign – Tamil Nadu

140. Right to Food and Work Campaign – West Bengal

141. Ritu Dewan – Centre for Study of Society and Secularism

142. Rizu, Delhi

143. Rohit Parakh, India for Safe Food, Mumbai

144. Rosa Abraham, member, Bangalore Birth Network

145. Rukhiben Paggi- Panam Mahila Sanghatan

146. Sachin Jain – Right to Food Campaign, Madhya Pradesh

147. Safe Food Alliance, Tamil Nadu

148. SAHELI – New Delhi

149. Sampat – Action for the Rights of the Child

150. Sandipan Paul

151. Sanjeev Sinha

152. Sangeeta Macwan – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

153. Sangeeta – Health Watch Forum, UP

154. Santosh Mahindrakar – Innovative Alliance for Public Health

155. Sarojini N, New Delhi

156. Satnam Singh – Jan Swasthya Abhiyan

157. Sehjo Singh – Film Maker and Development Professional

158. Sejal Dand, Soma KP, Anita Paul, Ashalatha, Seema Kulkarni-Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch

159. Shakeel – Basti Suraksha Manch

160. Shakuntala Parmar – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

161. Shivani Shah and Ishteyaque Ahmed, Greenpeace India

162. Shraddha Chigateri– Bangalore

163. Siraj Dutta

164. Smita Sonvane – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

165. Sona Mitra – Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability

166. Suchitra Ram Kumar, Consumer Rights Activist

167. Sudeshna Sen Gupta, Campaign for Universal Maternity Entitlements

168. Sudhansu Chakrabarty, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, West Bengal

169. Sujit Adhikary, Co-coordinator, PPUS, West Bengal

170. Sulakshana Nandi –  JSA Chhattisgarh

171. Sumangala Damodaran

172. Sumitra Mishra, New Delhi

173. Sunanda Gamit – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

174. Sunita Singh – SAHAYOG, Lucknow

175. Swapna Naiya, on behalf of Paschim Banga Swarojgari Randuni Union

176. Swati Narayan – Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand

177. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Mumbai

178. Thalanmai Uzhavar Iyakkam, Madurai

179. Tharcharbu Iyakkam, Sirkali

180. Tony Herbert, Prerana, Hazaribagh

181. Uma Shankari. Rashtriya Raithu Seva Samithi, Chittoor, AP

182. Vaishali Zararia – SAHAJ, Vadodara Gujarat

183. Vandana Prasad – Public Health Resource Network

184. Vasanthi Raman – FORCES, New Delhi

185. Venita Kaul, Professor Emerita, Ambedkar University Delhi

186. Vikas – Advocate, New Delhi

187. Vrunda Vaze

188. Zakir – New Delhi

189. 181 Women Help Line Chhattisgarh

190. New Trade Union Initiative

191. Navjyoti Development Society

192. Maharashtra Rajya Anganwadi Karmachari Sangh

 

 

[1] Adequate diet is defined as Breastfed children receiving 4 or more food groups and a minimum meal frequency, non-breastfed children fed with a minimum of 3 Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices (fed with other milk or milk products at least twice a day, a minimum meal frequency that is receiving solid or semi-solid food at least twice a day for breastfed infants 6-8 months and at least three times a day for breastfed children 9-23 months, and solid or semi-solid foods from at least four food groups not including the milk or milk products food group).

 

 

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Strongly condemn the harassment of Rona Wilson, Public Relations Secretary of CRPP, and others in the name of ‘search operations’

As part of a shocking search operation conducted by the Pune (Maharashtra) police on April 17, 2018, at the residences of various activists in Maharashtra, the home of the CRRP Public Relations Secretary, Rona Wilson was also searched in Delhi. The Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) strongly condemns the police raids in the residences of peoples activists in the strongest words.

 

At around 6.00 a.m in the morning, the Pune (Maharashtra) police conducted simultaneous raids at the homes of prominent activists in Maharashtra namely Sudhir Dhavale (Dalit activist, Republican Panthers), Harshali Potdar (Activist, Republican Panthers), Ramesh Gaychor, Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe, Rupali Jadhav and Dhawala Dhengle (all Kabir Kala Manch activists) allegedly in relation to the violence that ensued after the bi-centenary celebrations of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon on 31 Decemeber 2018 and the subsequent bandh. Alongside, Pune Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ganesh Gawade, and Nagpur DCP, Suresh Bawche, searched the residence of prominent people’s lawyer, Surendra Gadling.

 

 

On 31st December 2017, an Elgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of  Bhima-Koregaon which was attended by thousands who gathered to raised their voice against the forces of Bramanical Hindutva Fascism. On the following day, that is, 1st January 2018, a mob carrying saffron flags instigated by Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote attacked the masses and activists who had gathered for the commemoration. It should be noted that instead of taking timely action against those who incited and perpetrated violence that ensued after the Elgar Parishad, the state machinery has chosen to devote its time and attention to target and harass activists and lawyers who have been speaking against the anti-people policies of the government. Both the main forces behind the pre-meditated violence on 1st January 2018, Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, are right wing activists closely connected with the ruling BJP and the Sangh Parivar. The police forces have failed to arrest Sambhaji Bhide in connection with this case. Rather, they seem interested in conjuring up an elaborate tale of how the songs of peoples’ resistance sung by activists at the commemoration on 31st December were deliberately intended to incite violence! Allegedly under the same pretext of investigating the Bhima Koregaon incident, a team of Pune police led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Pravin Munde and investigating officer, Shivaji Pawar searched the residence of Rona Wilson in Delhi by arbitrarily trying to frame him under the Sections 153 a, 117, 505 1 (b), 34 of the IPC. The police has seized his laptop, phone, books and some money from his residence under the pretext of this arbitrary raid.

 

Rona Wilson has been an activist for several years, advocating for the cause of political prisoners all over India. As Public Relations Secretary of the CRPP, he has been at the forefront of organising numerous conventions against the unconstitutional nature of draconian laws like UAPA and AFSPA, and against the arbitrary use of death penalty, specifically against Muslims and Dalit minorities. He is an active voice in the campaign for the release of political prisoners condemning the anti-people ploys of the state machinery for arbitrarily persecuting minorities and marginalised sections. 

 

That these raids are happening at a time when voices of Dalit resistance are transforming into an avalanche of resistance against the anti-people policies of the state indicates the deliberate attempt by the powers that be to stifle all voices of protest. Moreover, it exposes the brazen vengeance of the state against Dalit upsurge organising against the unbridled loot and plunder of resources by imperialist capital aided by the forces of Hindutva Fascism. By targeting activists and peoples lawyers, the state is blatantly trying to snuff out even voices of defense from political prisoners. It must be understood that violence that ensued in Bhima Koregaon is being used as an alibi by the ruling classes to browbeat activists and lawyers who have been fighting for the people into silence. These pre-meditated raids reflect the desperation of the increasingly police state and its growing tendency within the executive to frame activists and lawyers under false charges and keep them in confinement under prolonged incarceration.

 

It must also be highlighted that this arbitrary and illegal search has come at a time when CRPP has been able to gather public opinion against the conviction of Dr. GN Saibaba, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Tirki, Mahesh Tirki and Pandu Narote. The Gadchiroli Sessions Court, in its 827 page judgment, inadvertently exposes the workings of a national security state which uses the instrument of law to thwart dissent. It is not a coincidence that when retired judges and prominent lawyers have agreed to speak at a convention (proposed for April 22, 2018) condemning the Gadchiroli Sessions Court judgement, the state machinery has used the pretext of the Bhima Koregaon incident to harass Wilson in order to divert the attention of the public and stop their mobilisation against the judgement of Gadchiroli Sessions Court. 

 

The CRPP strongly condemns the arbitrary police raid conducted at the residence of Rona Wilson and other activists from Maharashtra which is nothing but a tactic to intimidate activists and prevent them from mobilising people and raising voice against the violence perpetrated by the state.

 

In protest,

SAR GEELANI

PRESIDENT

AMIT BHATTACHARYYA

SECRETARY GENERAL

SUJATO BHADRA

VICE PRESIDENT

SUKHENDU BHATTACHARJEE

VICE PRESIDENT

MN RAVUNNI

VICE PRESIDENT

  1. KOYA

VICE PRESIDENT

MALEM

VICE PRESIDENT

HANYBABU MT

MEDIA SECRETARY

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BRD Hospital Tragedy: Dr Kafeel Khan Not Well but Jail Admin not Listening, Says Wife

In December 2017, Dr Kafeel Khan’s mother, Nuzhat Parveen had met Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath during a Janta Darbar held in Gorakhpur and demanded justice for her son.

BRD Hospital Tragedy: Dr Kafeel Khan Not Well but Jail Admin not Listening, Says Wife
File photo of Dr Kafeel Ahmad.
Lucknow: Dr Kafeel Khan, often hailed as the “hero” of the BRD Medical College tragedy in Uttar Pradesh last year that killed over 60 children dead, is languishing at the Gorakhpur prison and his health is deteriorating, said his wife. He has been booked over charges of “attempt to murder”.

In a statement given to a news agency on Tuesday, wife of Dr Khan said, “My husband’s health is deteriorating. Doctors have said that the case must be referred to Lucknow, but it the jail administration is not executing the orders. I fear for my husband’s life.’

In December last year, Khan’s mother, Nuzhat Parveen had met Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath during a Janta Darbar held in Gorakhpur and demanded justice for her son. Nuzhat Parveen told Yogi Adityanath that her family was going through a difficult time and that the CM must help them.

“My son was arrested over the BRD Medical College incident while he was doing his duty because a conspiracy was hatched against him. I have requested CM Yogi Adityanath and he has assured me to look into the case,” said Nuzhat Parveen, who was performing Hajj when over 63 children died at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur in August 2017.

The Gorakhpur Police have dropped charges of corruption and private practice against Dr Kafeel Khan, who is one of the nine accused in the BRD Medical College case that left many dead allegedly due to oxygen shortage in the children’s ward.

Khan, the head of the encephalitis ward and an assistant professor at the paediatrics department, was removed from the post of the nodal officer at the National Health Mission in the wake of deaths that rocked the state and the Yogi government.

Khan has been charged under Sections 120-B, 308 and 409 of the IPC by the office of DG Medical Education for collecting oxygen cylinders from his private hospital.

https://www.news18.com/news/india/brd-hospital-tragedy-dr-kafeel-khan-not-well-but-jail-admin-not-listening-says-wife-1721401.html

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UK academics and activists write Open Letter- Modi’s government fails to act on rape #Vaw

The media must question Modi about the involvement of his party members in these atrocities, write signatories including Meena Kandasamy, Sarah Green and Pragna Patel
Indian women protest to bring attention to the rape of women and girls in India.

In the context of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK, we are deeply shocked at the gut-wrenching violence against women and children in Indiabeing defended by politicians of Modi’s ruling Hindu rightwing party, the BJP.

Hindu extremists, or their associates, stand implicated in rape and murder while some BJP leaders actively mobilise to defend them and undermine the rule of law (Reports, 12 April and 17 April).

In Kathua, in Jammu and Kashmir state, eight-year old Asifa was horrifically gang raped and murdered in a Hindu temple by a group of men, in order to terrorise the nomadic Muslim Bakarwal community she belonged to. There followed violent protests in defence of the accused by a pro-Modi Hindu rightwing outfit the Hindu Ekta Manch. At least two BJP ministers took part in these protests. In Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the BJP’s notorious hate preacher Yogi Adityanath, a 16-year-old girl was raped. When her family protested after almost a year of inaction by the police, her father was brutally assaulted by Sengar’s [one of the suspect’s] supporters, arrested on a false case and died in police custody.

Narendra Modi’s long silence was only broken on 13 April in the face of mass protests in Delhi. He promised justice to “daughters” but refused to utter the word “rape” let alone recognise the role of his own party supporters in perpetrating and celebrating such horrors. The media must question Modi about the involvement of his party members in these atrocities and his government’s effective sanctioning of rapes, attacks on minorities and lawlessness.
Sarah Green Co-director, End Violence Against Women Coalition
Vivienne Hayes CEO Women’s Resource Centre 
Marai Larasi Director, Imkaan
Anber Raz Co-chair Imkaan
Gurpreet Virdee Director, Women and Girls Network
Camille Kumar Women’s and Girls Network, Rape Crisis Centre West London
Baljit Banga Director, London Black Women’s Project
Anjum Mouj Chair, London Black Women’s Project
Pragna Patel Director Southall Black Sisters
Sabrina Qureshi Million Women Rise Movement
Sarbjit Johal Freedom Without Fear Platform
Rachel Moran Executive director SPACE International 
Nirmala Rajasingam South Asia Solidarity Group 
Taranjit Chana GMB Union Race
Dipti Morjharia London Black Women’s Project
Yasmin Rehman Feminist and human rights activist 
Meena Kandasamy Novelist and activist
Tabitha Benjamin Singer- songwriter
Amrit Wilson Writer and activist
Rahila Gupta Journalist and activist
Rosie Woods Harrow Momentum
Jaiti Sharma Harrow Labour party 
Priya Sharma Harrow Labour party 
Professor Shirin M Rai University of Warwick
Professor Avtar Brah Birkbeck, University of London 
Professor Nira Yuval Davis University of East London
Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya University of East London
Dr Kalpana Wilson Birkbeck University of London
Dr Shakuntala Banaji London School of Economics
Dr Meena Dhanda University of Wolverhampton
Dr Sumi Madhok London School of Economics
Dr Anandi Ramamurthy Sheffield Hallam University
Dr Goldie Osuri University of Warwick
Dr Rashmi Varma University of Warwick
Dr Alessandra Mezzadri Soas, University of London
Professor S. Sayyid University of Leeds
Dr Navtej Purewal Soas, University of London
Dr Feyzi Ismail SoasUniversity of London
Dr Rinella Cere Sheffield Hallam University
Dr Katy Sian University of York
Dr Marsha Henry London School of Economics 
Dr Sukhwant Dhaliwal London Metropolitan University
Dr. Ravi K. Thiara University of Warwick
Dr. Fiona Vera-Gray University of Durham
Dr Josie Phillips University of Durham
Dr Penny Vera-Sanso Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Deepta Chopra Institute of Development Studies
Dr Jennifer Ung Loh Independent scholar
Dr Joanna Lovett London Metropolitan University
Dr Churnjeet Mahn University of Strathclyde 
Dr Yasmin Gunaratnam Goldsmiths, University of London 
Dr Gail Lewis, Birkbeck University of London 
Dr Iona Szeman University of Roehampton 
Dr Nisha Kapoor University of York 
Dr Bethan Harries University of Manchester

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Dalit police officer in UP quit job to protest dilution of SC/ST Act

Former police officer BP Ashok (left); Ashok’s letter entitled “Ab nahi to kab? Hum nahi to kaun” (If not now, then when? If not us, then who?), sent to President of India and Governor of Uttar Pradesh

Protesting the dilution of SC/ST Act, a UP-cadre Dalit police officer Dr BP Ashok, sent his resignation letter to the President, stating he was hurt by the Bharat Bandh where many Dalits were killed

On the day of the Bharat Bandh on April 2, as Dalits protested the dilution of stringent provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by a Supreme Court judgment, a Dalit police officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, Dr BP Ashok, created a flutter when he sent his resignation letter to the President of India. Ashok said he was hurt by the day’s incident in which a few youngsters lost their lives and a dozen others, including cops, were injured.

“The decision to resign was not spontaneous. I have been contemplating for many years as to why caste equations come to play at work. When a certain government is in power, a particular caste is subjugated while during the term of the next government, another caste becomes the victim. In almost all the cases, Dalits always remain at the bottom of the caste hierarchy,” said Ashok.

In his letter he raised seven demands that included stay on dilution of the SC/ST Act, representation of women in government service, representation of SC/ST, OBC and women in judiciary, an end to the interview system in government recruitments and a special law to make a casteless society.

“This decision was not easy. I love my job. My father was a policeman too, so I opted for police services whereas I could have opted for the SDM’s post. I know once my VRS application is accepted, I will have to relinquish police dress and this thought is not very comfortable,” he said.

The announcement took many bureaucrats by surprise because Dr Ashok is known in police circles for his integrity and has received multiple awards. Colleagues tried to reason why he is calling it ‘quits’.

BP Ashok: “The decision to resign was not spontaneous. I have been contemplating for many years as to why caste equations come to play at work. When a certain government is in power, a particular caste is subjugated while during the term of the next government, another caste becomes the victim. In almost all the cases, Dalits always remain at the bottom of the caste hierarchy”

His detractors called this resignation a ‘drama’ to gain entry into any political party. They argued that had Ashok been serious, he would have sent his resignation to his supervisors and not to the President of India, as only IPS officers need to send their VRS or resignation letters to him and Ashok is a state cadre officer.

“I know some people saying that I did this (resignation) at the behest of some political party. But the fact is I am an apolitical man. During Mayawati’s regime, I was under suspension,” he said.

“The biggest bane in India is the caste system. Have we progressed the way we should have since Independence? No, we have not. With every successive government our strength has depleted because we were out to placate various castes. Sometimes it is Yadavs, sometimes Brahmins and other times it is Dalits,” he said.

“Why can’t we have a casteless society where we will be known by our first name. Once we start dropping our surnames our caste identities will be lost and we will be equal,” he said. “If our Prime Minister can order culling of high denomination currency notes he can also declare that no one should use surnames. This will make all equal. If this happens we will not need SC/ST Act,” he said.

The 50-year-old Ashok has completed his doctoral research on Buddhism. He has had conversations with noble laureate Amartya Sen at events and has even delivered lectures in the UN.

He had also sent a letter to President and Governor titled “Ab nahi to kabHum nahi to kaun” (If not now, then when? If not us, then who?) pleading that caste should be declared illegal.

Source- National Herald

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#Aadhaar: “Fingerprint information is only of interest to palmists and for the growth of palmistry” – UIDAI Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi

The five-judge Constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, comprising Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan on Thursday resumed hearing in the Aadhaar case.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), contended that Rules can prescribe penalties under Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules (PMLA Rules) for not providing or linking Aadhaar number for a bank account. However, the Bench raised several questions on this logic. Chief Justice Misra even asked Mr Mehta to show legal authority to show Rules may prescribe consequences of non-compliance as drastic like freezing bank account when the Act does not provide for it.
The ASG was submitting requirement for linking Aadhaar with bank account, and how failing to which can lead to account being frozen. He said, “There is plenary legislation of a valid statute Section 12 and 15 give the statutory status to the PMLA Rules under challenge.”

sflc.in

@SFLCin

ASG: only plenary law is considered with respect to “procedure established by law” is wrong. The rules can also be considered.
Freezing of bank account is not a penalty but just a consequence.
J. Sikri: It is a penalty. You’re depriving someone of their property.

sflc.in

@SFLCin

ASG says the point of such a consequence ( freezing of bank accounts) is so that money launderers render their account non operational.
CJI: Our only question is whether the consequence is mandated under law or is it an overreach.

Chief Justice Misra and Justice Bhushan pointed out that those provisions under the Act cannot give sanction to render a new account inoperative after six months. This is violation under Section 300A as alleged by Senior Counsel Arvind Datar in his submission.
“Conditions, limitations, consequences are all different under law,” the Chief Justice pointed out. Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who is the representing Gujarat Government, contended that Aadhaar is mere a condition for opening a continuance of account.
Justice Bhushan pointed out that the condition mentioned in 12(c) only applies to verification and not about continuance of accounts.
Referring to existing accounts, Justice Sikri asked, “How you can freeze those accounts under the Act…even those validly opened accounts.”
Justice Chandrachud also opined that by any stretch Section 12 and Section 15 cannot sanction prescribing penalties by Rule making power.

sflc.in

@SFLCin

J. Chandrachud:Is the penal consequence authorized by the Act or rules itself?The Act only talks about verification of bank accounts.
Asg: The rules are part of the Act.Penal consequence is just an ancillary provision and can be provided by the rules.J. Chandrachud does not agree

However, ASG Mehta continued to contend that consequences of non-compliance can be prescribed by Rules.
Both Justice Sikri and Justice Chandrachud did not agree with the contention of the ASG. Justice Sikri says, “When someone cannot withdraw his property, it is a deprivation under Section 300A.”
Earlier, Justice Sikri had asked about status of a pensioner who can be deprived from receiving pension and operating own account. “A pensioner who is known to be a pensioner for so many years…what is the need to trouble him and harass him by not allowing him to withdraw on just the ground of no Aadhaar?”

Prasanna S@prasanna_s

Sikri J and DYC J roar at TM when he says this is only a consequence of non compliance and not penal.

Sikri J says when someone cannot withdraw his property, it is a 300A deprivation.

Sikri j earlier also asked about what about a pensioner who has been known to be a pensioner..

Prasanna S@prasanna_s

…who is known to be a pensioner for so many years…what is the need to trouble him and harrass him by not allowing him to withdraw on just the ground of no aadhaar.

The ASG contended that the power under PMLA Act of the law being able to reach the right beneficial owner of any entity is not under challenge.
Interjecting, Justice Sikri pointed out that Rule 9 (4) is challenged on proportionality where there are several other officially valid documents. He said, “What is the need to make Aadhaar compulsory when there are other officially valid documents available?”
Mr Mehta, however said that Aadhaar is the most robust and most fraud proof identity and other IDs do not have biometric.
While the ASG was reading the Rules under PMLA, Justice Chandrachud asked him to respond to contentions from Mr Datar.
Mr Datar had contended that “That the Rules are just subordinate legislation and that it is ultra vires Act. There is no provision under PMLA  to render a validly opened account in-operational and how is life insurance or health insurance included under the Rules?”
Senior Counsel Shyam Divan also raised the question of one time verification versus continuous verification.

Prasanna S@prasanna_s

TM says that is the very mischief sought to be remedied.

DYC J says the overall purpose is clear but that we are into the nitty gritty legalities.

Prasanna S@prasanna_s

Sikri J raises a question about “Designated Business” under the definition of Reporting Entity under PMLA.

TM says may be there are no notifications.

Shyam Divan points out that it is defined under 2 (sa).

TM now defends that (!) saying these are about prize schemes etc.

Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi contended that nobody has been forced to get an Aadhaar and everyone has voluntarily gone and obtained an Aadhaar number!

Gautam Bhatia@gautambhatia88

RD says that he has never felt that he is under surveillance.

RD says that nobody has been forced to get an Aadhaar. In no city or village or any part of India has anyone been forced. He says that we all have voluntarily gone and gotten an Aadhaar card.

Gautam Bhatia@gautambhatia88

RD says that we have all gotten an Aadhaar card because we think it’s a useful thing.

RD says that if the government wants to surveil me, it has ample means. It doesn’t need Aadhaar. For example, it can monitor bank accounts for unusual activity under a master circular.

Calling petitioners to be engaged with ‘rhetorics’, Mr Dwivedi contended, “Reality of India is that the top 1% have 73% of the wealth. And the petitioners are saying that the government is spending time in real time surveillance.”
Mr Dwivedi admitted that surveillance has been happening, but there is not need of Aadhaar for this. “No government needs Aadhaar to surveil anybody. Every time he made a speech, some person from the special branch was present. If the government wants to surveil, it will do so without Aadhaar.”
Justice Chandrachud said the point is that technology is a powerful enabler of surveillance and misuse of data is one of the most pressing problems.
Responding to this, Mr Dwivedi, asked “Which data? Merely saying ‘metadata’ does not lead us anywhere. Aadhaar data cannot be compared with Google and Facebook. UIDAI does not have those kinds of tools.”

Gautam Bhatia@gautambhatia88

RD says that we don’t have learning algorithms. He says that the petitioners have been trying to confuse the Court. He says that S 32 prohibits the UIDAI from knowing the purpose of a transaction.

Chandrachud J says that that’s only a prohibition on sharing.

Gautam Bhatia@gautambhatia88

RD says that it is for the petitioners to show that the Act allows such powers.

Chandrachud J says that the Act doesn’t preclude you from acquiring those powers.

RD says that if the Court finds there is such power, it can strike it down.

The Counsel for Gujarat contended that the only purpose of Aadhaar is authentication.
Justice Chandrachud asked, “Then why you store the metadata? When the CEO of UIDAI made his presentation, technical experts showed that they learnt a lot about him from that.”
Replying to this, Mr Dwivedi said, “I do not know about Pandey. But I challenge anyone to disclose what they know about me, on any media. I am issuing an open challenge to technical experts”
Justice Sikri pointed out that the metadata tells you a lot about the nature of transaction. Mr Dwivedi, said, “The UIDAI does not know this.”
Justice Sikri says, “You will know if the authentication request has come from a hospital, or a chemist, or…”
Mr Dwivedi argued that this does not work like that. “The authentication request will come from, say, http://nic.com. I will not know if it comes from a hospital, or from anything else. Let us assume an authentication request comes from Apollo Hospital. I will not know which Apollo it is in the country – Chennai or Mumbai or Delhi. I will only know that it was Apollo. The only way in which surveillance can happen is if the government breaks the law and colludes with the UIDAI and sends the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to find out if it was Apollo Delhi or Apollo Chennai. This is far fetched.”
Justice Chandrachud said, “The problem is not only at your end. We still do not have a data protection law. What about the requesting entity?”
Mr Dwivedi asked “What will the requesting entities surveil?”
Justice Chandrachud said, “Commercial surveillance is exactly what is happening. This will happen to your farmers as well.”

sflc.in

@SFLCin

RD: The authentication request will show from where the authentication request came (for example from Apollo hospital) but there’s no way to know the location from where it came. Also the identity of the person who requested authentication is not revealed.

sflc.in

@SFLCin

J. Chandrachud: the requesting entity can store the data, considering there is not even a robust data protection law. Commercial information about an individual is also a gold mine. Surveillance doesn’t have to be interpreted in the traditional sense.

The Counsel for Gujarat told that Bench that individual information about his is ‘trash’ and has no worth. “What use are my photographs to anyone. It is like molasses thrown out by factories. It later became a goldmine but at that time it was a nuisance. Mr Divan might be worried about privacy, but I am not. And I have spoken to hundreds of people and they are not either,” Mr Dwivedi said.
Justice Chandrachud, however, disagreed with this contention. He said, “It is not about whether 1.9 billion people care about privacy, but about information being unavailable.”
Mr Dwivedi contended, “Fingerprint information is only of interest to palmists and for the growth of palmistry.”
Justice Chandrachud said that, “The concern is not about fingerprints per se. The American cases are about the localised use of fingerprints such as entering some place. The issue is storage and then use for authentication.”

sflc.in

@SFLCin

RD: Millions like me do not care about privacy.
J. Chandrachud: Giving fingerprints for a limited particular purpose is okay. Under Aadhaar, fingerprints are means for storing data in a central database for the purpose of authentication. Thats a problem.

sflc.in

@SFLCin

RD says the biometrics are encrypted. Also the data is not shared with anyone. Even EU data protection law does not have the kind of protection that Aadhaar act has.
There is no reasonable expectation of privacy wrt demographic information

Ignoring this observation, Mr Dwivedi argued that the only pleading of petitioners is that the UIDAI can surveil and there is no pleading by them (petitioners) that the requesting entities can surveil and there is no challenge. “Petitioners are NGOs, they are better off suggesting improvements than picking at all the stitches,” he said.
Justice Chandrachud and Justice Sikri pointed out Section 29(3)(b) read with Section 57 allow for information to be shared with third parties even under contracts.
Mr Dwivedi, contended, “This is why you need a data protection law, to specify the terms of consent and an overseeing mechanism. In any case, you can never share core biometric information under Section 29(1).”

Gautam Bhatia@gautambhatia88

RD says that in any case you can never share core biometric information under Section 29(1).

Gautam Bhatia@gautambhatia88

Chandrachud J says that this Act is not just about Section 7 or the UIDAI, but goes much beyond, and must be interpreted very carefully.

RD says that the Court can interpret the Act to make it reasonable. The court should not be a crusader, but a medical man.

Justice Chandrachud pointed out that Section 29(3) makes it possible to share biometric information.
“It can be read down to exclude sharing of biometric information. The requesting entity cannot retain a copy of the PID block. So it must be read like that. The core biometric data is kept in the CIDR and cannot be shared,” Mr Dwivedi replied.
Justice Chandrachud pointed out that UIDAI can only control what it has control over.
https://www.moneylife.in/article/aadhaar-ldquofingerprint-information-is-only-of-interest-to-palmists-and-for-the-growth-of-palmistryrdquo-ndash-senior-counsel-rakesh-dwivedi/53724.html

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Scribes write to Governor of Tamil Nadu on Harassment of senior Journalist Lakshmi Subramanian #Vaw

The action of Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit patting the cheek of journalist Lakshmi Subramanian sparked outrage among other journalists who have demanded an apology from him.

The action of Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit patting the cheek of journalist Lakshmi Subramanian sparked outrage among other journalists who have demanded an apology from him.(Lakshmi Subramanain/Twitter)

Shri Banwarilal Purohit

The Governor of Tamil Nadu

Raj Bhavan, Chennai – 600 022

 

 

 

Respected Sir,

 

SUB: Harassment of senior journalist by your esteemed self

 

It is with great shock that we write this letter to you. As the Constitutional head of our State of Tamil Nadu, you have crossed lines of not just basic courtesy but also those of the law.

 

Your action today in touching the cheek of a senior lady reporter who asked you a question at the press meet was patronising at best and a violation of her rights as a woman at worst. She was there since you had called for a press meet and she was simply discharging her duty as a journalist.

 

We do not wish to question your motives on this gesture, considering that it is appalling that you should choose to do such a thing at a press meet that you addressed on the case of a professor allegedly luring students to sexual encounters with her seniors and who claimed to know you.

 

It, however, does not behove the Constitutional head of a State to throw basic courtesy and respect to the winds and attempt to touch a lady without her consent, even if the gesture may have been ‘paternal’ in nature.

 

We would like to draw your attention to Section 2 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998, which defines ‘harassment’.

 

“Harassment” means any indecent conduct or act by a man which causes or is likely to cause intimidation, fear, shame or embarrassment, including abusing or causing hurt or nuisance or assault or use of force.

 

We would also urge you to read this along with Section 4 of the same Act which is reproduced below for your kind perusal.

 

“Whoever commits or participates or abets harassment of women in or within the precincts of any educational institution, temple or place of worship, bus stop, road, railway station, cinema theatre, park, beach, place of festival, public service vehicle or vessel or any other place shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with a fine, which shall not be less than Rs.10,000.”

 

The offence is cognisable and non-bailable as your esteemed staff will point out.

 

Mr Governor, we the journalists of Tamil Nadu demand that you offer an unconditional apology to the journalist in question and also assure all journalists of Tamil Nadu that you will not violate their rights in the future.

 

Thanking you.

 

 

The Journalists of Tamil Nadu

NWMI condemns Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s misconduct towards

Lakshmi Subramanian

 

The Network of Women in Media in India (NWMI), a collective of women media professionals across India, strongly condemns the patronising behaviour of Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, towards a woman journalist, Lakshmi Subramanian, at a press conference held in Chennai on Tuesday, April 17. The Governor decided to pat Lakshmi on the cheek when asked a question by the journalist – an act that amounts to sexual harassment at the workplace under the laws of the country.

 

 

The Governor on Tuesday was addressing an unprecedented press conference in Chennai, which according to him was for his completing six months in office. During the press conference, the Governor was fielding tough questions from reporters regarding a sex-for-cash scandal at a college under the Madurai Kamaraj University, where he is the Chancellor. A controversial audio tape that has emerged has the voice of a woman professor trying to lure women students into sex work for ‘high officials’ in the University. In the course of the conversation, the professor also names the TN Governor, and says she knows him quite well.

 

 

In the course of the press conference, the Governor dismissed questions of his involvement, and did not have any answers to why, as a person named in the tape, he wasn’t distancing himself from the investigation.

 

 

And right as the press conference was ending, Lakshmi, a senior journalist with The Week, asked him a question. Instead of answering it, he decided to touch her without her consent. NWMI strongly condemns the unprofessional behaviour of the Governor, and demand an unconditional apology from him to Lakshmi, and to women journalists across the country. Such misconduct from a top government official cannot be excused under any pretext.

 

 

We would like to reiterate what is understood world over about sexual harassment: The intention of the harasser does not count. What matters is how the person on the receiving end feels. So for the Governor, or any of his supporters, to dismiss any allegations of inappropriate conduct with statements like, “I am old enough to be your grandfather,” cannot be excused. Does that mean that in every case where the accused is above a certain age, they should be automatically acquitted or forgiven?

 

 

This is not the first instance of a woman journalist being patronised on the field. Recently, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Vijayabaskar repeatedly told a woman journalist that she was beautiful to evade her questions.

 

NWMI stands with Lakshmi, and we hope that the Governor will apologise at the earliest. Further, we demand that all men in high offices follow decorum when meeting with women journalists, and condemn any attempts to trivialise such harassment.

 

 

NWMI Members

Chennai Chapter

18/04/2018

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Delhi 12-Year-Old Raped By Neighbour, Family Gets WhatsApp Video: #WTFnews

 

The girl’s family alleges that they are facing pressure from the family of the accused to withdraw the case.

Delhi 12-Year-Old Raped By Neighbour, Family Gets WhatsApp Video: Police

The spot where the man allegedly raped the girl was identified from the video

NEW DELHI:  The family of a 12-year-old girl in west Delhi was horrified by a video they received on WhatsApp last Saturday. The video reportedly showed their child, who is mentally challenged, being raped allegedly by their neighbour the day before. Amid nationwide anger over the recent cases of rapes of children, including the Kathua and the Surat cases, Delhi police arrested three men on Monday.

A young man, identified as Bunty, and two of his friends were arrested on Monday night from Mangolpur Kalan area in Delhi’s Rohini suburb. Police said Bunty lured the girl to a community center in their neighbourhood, took her to a secluded spot and raped her. The two friends who accompanied him took a video as he committed the horrific act, police said.

The spot where the man allegedly raped the girl was identified from the video made by his friends.

“Bunty has been booked for rape and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), and his friends under the relevant sections of IPC and the IT Act for their involvement in the crime,” the police officer said.

The girl’s family alleges that they are facing pressure from the family of the accused to withdraw the case

Bunty is a powerful person and his other family members have strong hold in the area. They are mounting pressure on us to withdraw rape case against Bunty after his arrest. They are also pressurising us to leave the locality,” the child’s mother was quoted by news agency IANS.

What triggered the countrywide protests and anger – both on the streets as well as online – over the weekend was when the gruesome details of the kidnapping, gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in January, emerged last week. In Surat, the body of a young girl who was raped, tortured and murdered, was found on April 6. Days later, another child, an eight-year-old girl attending a wedding with her parents was raped and strangled in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.

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BJP Minister Lal Singh Repeats Kathua March in Jammu For Release of Rape Accused #WTFnews

March Jammu-Kootah village to embrace rape accused families


 SRINAGAR: Amid simmering tensions in Jammu region, the BJP Minister, Lal Singh, who was forced to resign last week for rallying in support of the accused in rape-and-murder of Kathua girl, today took out a march in the Hindu majority region to demand CBI probe into the case.

Witnesses and reports said hundreds of Singh’s supporters assembled at Satwari Chowk in Jammu city today afternoon to start a march towards Kootah village in Kathua where the tragedy unfolded. Some of the supporters wore saffron colored robes while chanting slogans to demand release of the accused.

“She was our daughter also. We are fighting to punish her culprits but it is a tragedy that people living far away are interpreting this case without knowing the facts. Our fight is for justice only which will be done only by identifying the real culprits,” Singh said, in an oblique reference to the Kashmir-based media that played a crucial role in exposing the culprits.

Addressing his supporters in Jammu before starting the Kathua march, Lal Singh, who is MLA from Basholi in Kathua, said people of his constituency are not happy with the investigations carried out by the J&K Police’s Crime Branch, which has arrested all the eight accused, including a juvenile, in the case.

“By all means give justice to the victim by arresting the real culprits, not people who have no links with the crime. These arrests have created tensions in Jammu and in the interest of the state, the government must transfer the case to the CBI,” Singh, who was previously a Congress leader, told the rally before starting the march.

According to a BJP leader, the march to Kootah has been organised to express solidarity with the families of the eight accused booked in the case. Reports said relatives and family members of the accused are holding a protest in Kootah to demand release of their wards and for transferring the case to the CBI for a fresh investigation.

Following the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention, Singh, who was the forest minister in Mehbooba Mufti government, along with the J&K’s industries minister Chander Prakash Ganga, were forced to step down after it turned out that they had lend support to a rally demanding the release of alleged culprits organized by a friend group, Hindu Ekta Manch.

Singh’s march, which is likely to inflame the prevailing communal tensions in the state, comes a day after Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra accepted his and Ganga’s resignations. The BJP has started shortlisting fresh faces to replace the shamed duo, both of whom have expressed no regret in supporting the alleged culprits, including a former revenue officer and a special police officer.

With the issue attaining communal overtones and Deepika Singh Rajawat, the lawyer of the victim’s family, facing threats, the father of Asifa, yesterday filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking orders to transfer the case outside of Jammu and Kashmir, preferably Chandigarh, for “safety and security” reasons. The court ordered J&K government to file its response by April 25.

The crime branch charge-sheet in the case states that the minor girl was abducted, starved, drugged and gangraped during her captivity at a temple in Rasana whose custodian, Sanji Ram, is believed to be mastermind of the case.

According to the crime branch, the rape and murder was planned in a systematic manner with communal hatred harboured by Sanji Ram against the Muslim nomadic community of Bakarwals. The motive was to create fear among the Bakarwal community and force them to abandon their homes.

http://www.thecitizen.in/i

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