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Archives for : April2018

Ali Zafar accused of sexual harassment by Pakistani singer Meesha Shafi #Vaw

Ali Zafar, famous for his music and films in Pakistan and India, has been accused of sexual harassment by singer and artist Meesha Shafi. Ali is yet to give a statement on the same.

Ali Zafar has been accused of sexual harassment by Pakistani artist Meesha Shafi via a Twitter post.

Pakistani singer Meesha Shafi on Thursday alleged that actor and musician Ali Zafar sexually harassed her on multiple occasions. In a Twitter post, Meesha said, “Sharing this because I believe that by speaking out about my own experience of sexual harassment, I will break the culture of silence that permeates through our society. It is not easy to speak out.. but it is harder to stay silent. My conscience will not allow it anymore #MeToo”

Along with this caption, Meesha posted a letter in which she told her story of being harassed by the famous singer. Meesha writes, “I have been subjected, on more than one occasion, to sexual harassment of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague from my industry: Ali Zafar. These incidences did not happen when I was young, or just entering the industry. These happened to me despite the fact that I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind! This happened to me as a mother of two children.”

Meesha Shafi

@itsmeeshashafi

Sharing this because I believe that by speaking out about my own experience of sexual harassment, I will break the culture of silence that permeates through our society. It is not easy to speak out.. but it is harder to stay silent. My conscience will not allow it anymore

Meesha’s post bravely says that she is coming out with her story so that she can encourage girls who look up to her and dream of carving their own path. Meesha also says that this experience has been extremely traumatic for her and her family. She writes for Ali that she felt “betrayed by his behaviour and his attitude and I know that I am not alone.” She ends her post by saying, “We only have our voices and the time has come to use them.”

Meesha Shafi is a popular actor and musician in Pakistan who has also appeared in films like Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Her accusation comes forth in the light of the #MeToo movement that created quite a revolution in Hollywood. She has also worked in the popular Pakistani film Waar.

Ali Zafar, a popular actor and musician, is well known in India for his films like Dear Zindagi, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Ter Bin Laden and Chashme Baddoor among others. Ali’s music has also seen quite a lot of success in India.

Ali Zafar is yet to react to Meesha Shafi’s accusations.

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India – Petition filed to Ban Corporate Donations to Political Parties

Should Corporate Donations to Political Parties be Banned?
The petition filed in the Kerala High Court has presented a case in the interests of citizen welfare for banning corporate donations.
Kerala High Court
Image Courtesy: Live Law

petition was filed on April 12, in the Kerala High Court at Ernakulam, that challenged the system of corporates funding political parties in India. This comes as a step further than merely seeking to outlaw foreign contributions to political parties. The petition bases its entire case on the idea of the welfare State being compromised by corporate interests

The petitioner, Victor T. Thomas prayed for the following reliefs as well for a moratorium on corporate donations to political parties during the pendency of the petition;

  1. To declare that the Section 182 (1) of the Companies Act, 2013 as unconstitutional and to set aside the same.
  2. To declare Section 154(i)(a) of the Finance Act, 2017, whereby the first proviso in subsection (1) of Section 182 of the Companies Act, 2013 was omitted, as unconstitutional.
  3. To declare that the proviso to Section 2(1)(j)(vi) in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 as unconstitutional and to set aside the same.
  4. To declare that Section 29B of Representation of People’s Act, 1951 in so far as permitting political parties to receive contributions from the Companies incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013, as unconstitutional and to set aside the same.

His prayer focuses on the main legal provisions that enable corporates to donate to political parties as well as for political parties to accept these donations. Section 182(1) of the Companies Act provides for all companies, other than government companies and those that have been in existence for less than three years, to contribute to political parties. Section 154(i)(a) of the Finance Act, 2017 deleted the first proviso to section 182(1) of the Companies Act. This proviso placed a cap on the amount corporates could contribute to political parties based on their net profits. The proviso to section 2(1)(j)(vi) of the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act declared companies incorporated in India that had more than 50 percent of their shares held by foreign citizens as not being foreign entities. Thus, it enabled them to donate to political parties. Section 29B of the Representation of the People Act enables political parties to accept corporate donations.

The petition had alleged that these laws adversely affect the right of citizens to conduct free and fair elections through a democratic process. This would arise as the outcome of an election would result in corporates having direct or indirect control over an elected government and elected representatives. Therefore, the corporates can influence the policies and regulations in their favour and that would be detrimental to the welfare of the citizens.

The way the idea of welfare State ties into this petition is that a welfare State is committed to the welfare of its citizens. The petitioner evoked Articles 38 and 39(b) and (c). Though both of these fall within Part IV of the Constitution – Directive Principles of State Policy – and are hence not justiciable (they cannot be enforced by a Court), they still remain guiding principles in framing legislation. Article 38 places a duty on the State to secure a social order to promote the welfare of the people. Article 39 lays down certain principles of policy that the State must follow. Clause (b) states that “the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good”. Clause (c) states that “the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment”.

These provisions when read together raise many questions about laws and amendments that have been passed. In the words of the petition, “[u]nder the influence of corporate, the Government policies and regulations are being laid down which are detriment to the common interest of citizens such as price hikes on commodities, elimination of level playing for small entrepreneurs, giving of natural and other resources of the State to corporates at undervalued prices, relaxation of norms and condition etc.”

Though unlikely, if the Judiciary were to declare corporate functioning unconstitutional – which the petition is actually all about – the outcome would be very interesting. It is also possible that the electoral bond scheme, which the petition has not mentioned, will become the way out for the corporates. The electoral bond scheme provides only for ‘individuals’ to purchase bonds. However, the scheme has already been criticised for its lack of transparency, which then can be easily taken advantage of by corporate interests. The books can be cooked, and the bond purchased by the CEO, MD or any other functionary in the company. Thus, this petition has rightly pointed out one part of the problem, but, missed the latest loophole.

 

https://newsclick.in/should-corporate-donations-political-parties-be-banned

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Sexual Harassment – ‘Charged’ Tarun Tejpal withdraws 2 applications, hearing 3rd on 4 May #Vaw

‘Charged’ Tejpal withdraws 2 applications, hearing 3rd on 4 May


Tehelka’s former editor Tarun Tejpal has gone on a backfoot by withdrawing two applications filed before the Mapusa court.

 

The third one will be heard on 4th of May.

 

Meanwhile, his petition challenging the court verdict of holding him guilty of rape will be heard by the Supreme Court on 24th of April.

 

The trial court of Mapusa has already framed charges of rape against Tarun Tejpal in September last year.

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India – BJP Tops List of Lawmakers Charged with Crime Against Women

Maharashtra the Worst

The BJP has 12 MPs and MLAs who have declared cases of crime against women, while Shiv Sena has 7 and the Trinamool Congress six.

 

48 MP, MLAs have declared cases of crime against women: ADR

BJP Tops List of Lawmakers Charged with Crime Against Women; Maharashtra the Worst
BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar has been booked in the Unnao rape case. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: The BJP has the highest number of MPs and MLAs facing cases of crime against women, a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch said.

Both election watchdogs analyzed 4,845 of 4,896 election affidavits of current MPs and MLAs. This includes 768 out of 776 affidavits of MPs and 4,077 out of 4,120 MLA affidavits.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch have analysed 4845 out of 4896 election affidavits of current MPs and MLAs. It includes 768 out of 776 affidavits of MPs and 4077 out of 4120 MLAs from all the states of India. (Click Here For Complete ADR Report)

Among these 48 MPs/MLAs with declared cases related to crimes against women, 45 are MLAs and 3 are MPs. Out of these, 26 are those who have self-declared rape charges against them. They have been given tickets by recognised political parties in the last 5 years, ADR report claimed.

Following are 3 MLAs who have declared cases related to rape :

  • Gonuguntla Suryanarayana from TDP who has won from Dharmavaram constituency in Andhra Pradesh (2014)
  • Jethabhai G.Ahir from BJP who has won from Shehra constituency in Gujarat (2017)
  • Gulab Yadav from RJD who has won from Jhanjharpur constituency in Bihar (2015)

State-wise, Maharashtra had the highest number of MPs/MLAs (12) charged with crimes against women, followed by West Bengal (11), and Odisha and Andhra Pradesh (five).

In its report, the ADR has recommended that candidates with a criminal background should be debarred from contesting elections. It also urged the political parties to disclose the selection criteria of election candidates and also suggested that cases against MPs and MLAs be fast tracked and decided upon in a time-bound manner.

Out of 1,580 (33%) MPs and MLAs who have declared criminal cases, 48 have declared cases related to crimes against women. While BJP tops this notorious list among recognised political parties, the others in the fray are Shiv Sena and All India Trinamool Congress.

The BJP has 12 MPs and MLAs who have declared cases of crime against women, while Shiv Sena has 7 and the Trinamool Congress six.

The report adds that among the major parties in the last five years, 47 candidates with cases of crimes against women were given tickets by the BJP. The BSP had given tickets to around 35 such candidates, followed by the Congress (24).

Maharashtra has 12 such MPs and MLAs, followed by West Bengal (11), Odisha and Andhra Pradesh (five each).

Most of the charges that the report speaks of are assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty (IPC Section-354); kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc. (IPC Section-366); rape (IPC Section-376); husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty (IPC Section-498A); buying minor for purposes of prostitution, etc. (IPC Section-373); and word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman (IPC Section-509).

The ADR has now recommended that candidates with serious criminal background be debarred from contesting elections and that political parties disclose the criteria on which candidates are given tickets.

The report comes days after the BJP’s Unnao MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar was booked on charges of raping a minor girl, whose father died in police custody later.

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India under threat from Glycophosate , the most widely used herbicide #Mustshare

 Indo-Canadian Food Safety Campaigner Tony Mitra

New Delhi, April 19th 2018: An Indo-Canadian food safety campaigner, currently visiting India, cautioned that Indians are under great danger from the ill effects of Glyphosate, which is the world’s most widely used herbicide. Tony Mitra, author of “Poison Foods of North America” (2017) pointed out that in India too, Glyphosate is fast becoming one of the most widely used herbicides[1], with the regulators ignoring the perils of this chemical on health and environment.

Tests conducted by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in 2017 on food samples sourced from India showed high levels of Glyphosate (a broad spectrum weedicide & crop desiccant) residues especially in pulses. Yellow peas sourced from India showed residues at 683 ppb while Red Lentils had 295 ppb of Glyphosate residues. Samples of Bengal gram (Chickpea) flour also showed high Glyphosate presence of 467 to 475 ppb. Meanwhile, there is scientific evidence to show that glyphosate formulations, including due to the so-called ‘inert ingredients’ could be potentially harmful at much lower levels of exposure.

“As per a draft notification of FSSAI in December 2017, MRLs of glyphosate allowed in India are however, the following: 1 mg/kg in Tea, 0.01 mg/kg in Rice and 0.05 mg/kg in Meat/meat products. In fact, the 2011 regulations have MRL of Glyphosate fixed for only Tea (the only approved crop on which glyphosate can be used as per CIBRC), which is at 1 mg/kg. This clearly shows that Glyphosate is not only being put to unapproved uses in India, but also ending up as extremely high residues in important food crops. Meanwhile, a Manual of Methods of Analysis of Foods for Pesticide Residues by Food Safety Authority (FSSAI)[2] does not even have Glyphosate listed”, said Tony Mitra.

He pointed out that a further danger to Indians of glyphosate toxin comes from contaminated food being imported from other countries. After the advent of glyphosate-tolerant GM crops, MRLs have been revised manifold higher to provide for the higher usage of the toxin on the crop, he said. “93% of Yellow Peas (Matar) & 75% of Red Lentils (Masur) from Canada had Glyphosate residues of 199 and 485 ppb. Green gram (Mung) from Australia had a sky high Glyphosate residue of 1500 ppb. India is one of the largest importers of pulses principally from Canada, Australia and Myanmar. About half of all yellow peas and red lentils consumed in India originate from Canada”, he shared, based on information he obtained of all the results of broad based testing of thousands of food samples for glyphosate that the was able to get Canadian Government to take up. These results have been published in his 2017 book, Poison Foods of North America. “This made Canada perhaps the only country in the world to have conducted tests of food items produced in 68 countries for Glyphosate”, he shared.

Glyphosate is the most-used agrochemical globally with 9.4 million MT already sprayed. After the introduction of Genetically Modified (GM) Roundup Ready crops in 1996, which were engineered to tolerate Roundup herbicide, the use of Glyphosate increased manifold. In India, it appears that it is being used as a pre-harvest desiccant in several crops resulting in high residues in food. This is of course illegal and the pesticide regulators as well as food safety regulators have to address this urgently. The spread of illegal HT cotton has also increased the use of glyphosate in the country.

After decades of denial of any safety concerns with glyphosate by numerous agencies all over the world, it was only in 2015 that the World Health Organisation’s IARC classified Glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

Meanwhile, there is scientific evidence that points to the dangers of Glyphosate, both to human health and to the environment[3]. Argentine scientists found that Glyphosate causes birth defects in frogs and chickens. Doctors at Paraguay & Argentina report on the serious ill-effects like infertility, stillbirths, miscarriage and cancer in GM Soy producing areas. A 2010 study involving Indian scientists has findings that suggest glyphosate induced carcinogenicity[4].

“The most significant problem with Glyphosate is its ability to mimic (analogue) Glycine (an essential amino acid) present in most proteins. Replacement of Glycine in protein chains results in rogue proteins which is the main reason behind the increase in diseases”, explained Tony Mitra.

Glyphosate is banned in Sri Lanka while El Salvador and Bermuda have restricted imports. Colombia has announced stopping usage of Glyphosate. The Chinese Army has reportedly banned all GM foods due to Glyphosate residues. The high level of Glyphosate residues in both Indian and Canadian pulses is a matter of serious health risk to a billion plus nation, as dal is ubiquitous in our diet.

In India, only the state of Andhra Pradesh has issued orders that restrict the use of Glyphosate. The Central Government has been ignoring civil society pressure to ban glyphosate.

 

[1] http://ppqs.gov.in/statistical-database/pesticidewise-consumption-indigenous-pesticides-during-2010-11-2015-16 and http://ppqs.gov.in/statistical-database/pesticidewise-consumption-imported-pesticides-during-2010-11-2015-16

[2] http://ppqs.gov.in/statistical-database/pesticidewise-consumption-imported-pesticides-during-2010-11-2015-16

[3] http://www.pan-germany.org/download/Glyphosate-monograph_PAN_2016.pdf

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20045496

FOR MORE INFORMATIONTONY MITRA PHONE: 09831713068

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‘Modi go home’ posters greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in London

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with his British counterpart Theresa May yesterday, apart from holding other official engagements including meeting Queen Elizabeth II.

Modi in London Demonstrators stage a protest against the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament Square, London, Britain. (Photo: Reuters)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a mixed greeting as he landed in the United Kingdom Wednesday on a four-day visit. Anti-Modi protesters raised banners which read “Modi, you have blood on your hands” and “Modi Not Welcome”, reported news agency PTI.

Caste Watch UK and South Asia Solidarity group led this protest. They were protesting the Kathua and Unnao rape cases, the murder of Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh and other issues. “Hindu nationalism must be curtailed to avert India sliding towards wholesale dictatorship threatening democratic fabric, rule of law and the unity of India,” a Caste Watch UK spokesperson was quoted as saying by PTI.

His supporters welcomed him with slogans in favour of India’s development. “We want to welcome the Indian Prime Minister to the UK and show him the diaspora support he enjoys,” one of his supporters outside 10 Downing Street said. The Friends of India Society International (FISI) group led the welcome with chants of ‘Chak De India’ and ‘Jai Hind’.

 

Speaking to the Indian diaspora, Modi said the incidents of rape in the country is extremely sad and brought shame to the country. He added they should not be politicised. “I have never indulged in counting the number of rape incidents in this government and that government. Rape is rape, be it now or earlier. It is extremely sad. Don’t politicise rape incidents,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.

Demonstrators stage a protest against the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposite Downing Street in London, Britain. Reuters/Toby Melville 

On Wednesday, the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK alleged its delegates were not sent their tickets to attend the Bharat Ki Baat Sabke Saathevent despite their attendance being confirmed. They had, ahead of the event, written a letter to Modi asking for “swift justice and extraordinary measures” to ensure justice in the rape cases. They claimed they were “pressured” to retract their statement as well.

The Prime Minister held bilateral talks with his British counterpart Theresa May yesterday, apart from holding other official engagements including meeting Queen Elizabeth II.

Prime Minister Modi confronted by angry protests in London

Holding placards reading “Modi go home” and “we stand against Modi’s agenda of hate and greed,” they gathered outside Downing Street and parliament as Modi arrived for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Indian Prime Minister Modi confronted by angry protests in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Hundreds of noisy protesters greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrived in London on Wednesday, demonstrating over a rising tide of sexual violence at home, including two particularly brutal rapes.

Demonstrators stage a protest against the visit by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament Square, London, Britain, April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Holding placards reading “Modi go home” and “we stand against Modi’s agenda of hate and greed,” they gathered outside Downing Street and parliament as Modi arrived for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Modi later responded at an event in front of thousands of Indian, saying the rape cases were “a matter of great concern”, had brought “a shame” on the country and called for the perpetrators to be outed.

Sexual violence against women is a highly charged political issue in India, where protests regularly erupt about entrenched violence against women and the failure to protect them.

Demonstrator holding placards and protesting against India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk past supporters of India’s Prime Minister in Parliament Square, London, Britain, April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

“The Indian government are doing nothing, and you feel sorry for the families because of the total injustice of it all,” said Navindra Singh, an Indian-born lawyer who lives in Britain.

“He has been in power for four years now and there has been no policy change to help protect women and children.”

Protests have erupted across India after the latest rape cases were reported. Police officers and a politician are under investigation in two of the unrelated cases.

In a crime that shocked India, an eight-year-old Muslim girl in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir was kidnapped, drugged and held for several days while she was raped repeatedly and then murdered.

In the other case, a state lawmaker from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party stands accused of raping a teenager. No action was taken against the politician until the girl threatened to set herself on fire earlier this month. Her father died soon afterwards from injuries he suffered in police custody.

Modi’s comments on Wednesday followed remarks last week, which came after a week of silence on the issue and promised justice regardless of whoever the guilty were.

Nearly 40 percent of India’s rape victims are children, and the 40,000 reported rapes in 2016 marked a 60 percent increase over the level in 2012. But women’s rights groups say the figures are still gross underestimates.

In London, a spokeswoman for a group of UK-based Indian students and alumni – who did not want her name to be used – said the group had come under fire after it sent a letter to Modi last week demanding action over the rape cases. The letter was signed by Indian and Asian student groups from more than 20 British universities.

She told Reuters many of the university groups had received calls from “UK-based individuals” pressuring them to remove their signatures from the letter, and that members of the group had not received tickets for Wednesday’s event with Modi, although the organizers had told they would.

“The question you have to ask is are our voices being silenced,” she said.

Modi, a Hindu nationalist, is a divisive figure in India and his second trip to Britain as prime minister represents a remarkable turnaround for a man who was once banned from the UK over his alleged role, as chief minister of Gujarat, in riots that killed about 1,000 people in 2002.

Britain ended a boycott of Modi in 2012 after he emerged from being a provincial politician to the likely leader of the world’s largest democracy. He has denied wrongdoing and was exonerated by an inquiry ordered by I

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Marathwada reports 278 cases of farmer suicides since January 1

AURANGABAD: Incidents of distressed farmers committing suicides are on an increase in the eight districts of Marathwada region which recorded a total of 278 cases since January 1 to April 16, registering a rise by 27 in the corresponding period last year.

The rise is registered despite the Maharashtra government waiving crop loans of 9 lakh farmers across the region and also implementing various measures like Jalyukat Shivar to tackle the situation.

Primary causes of suicides seems mounting debt, no adequate return to their farm products, infertility, cotton crop affected by pink bolwrom pest, hailstorm rains and among other reasons, it said.

The highest numbers of 51 suicides were reported in drought-prone Beed district followed by Aurangabad-45, Osmanabad-40, Parbhani-36, Jalna-31, Nanded and Latur-27 and lowest Hingoli district– 21.

Of the 278 suicides, 115 cases have been found applicable for compensation, while 56 were rejected in inquiry by the authority.

Inquiry in 107 suicides cases still pending, the report added.

Indian express

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Women and Child Rights Movement Condemns Unequivocally the Recent Spate of Sexual Violence on Young Girls

STATEMENT OF THE WOMEN’S AND CHILD RIGHTS MOVEMENT CONDEMNING UNEQUIVOCALLY THE RECENT SPATE OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE ON YOUNG GIRLS IN KATHUA AND UNNAO-15 APRIL, 2018
We, the Representatives of the Women’s Movement and all organizations working for women and child rights from across the length and breadth of the country, are both deeply concerned and horrified at the growing and repeated incidences of sexual violence and extreme brutality being inflicted on girls, not to speak of it happening thrice in succession in different parts of the country within a span of few days.
While each of us is filled with distress and shame, we feel the time has also come for us to ask all the Powers that Be whether they believe enough is being done to prevent such dastardly acts on the most vulnerable and hapless categories of the population. The mother of the young victim in Kathua laments that a child who loved meadows and horses has now been abandoned to a lonely grave. Her father says she did not even know the difference between her left and right hand. Nor that of belonging to any particular community or religion.This poignant and heart-wrenching comment stands testimony to the total betrayal by society as a whole, undoubtedly, but in particular by those obligated to protect and nurture young lives. This is best demonstrated by the fact that, despite the detailed FIR filed in the case of the Kathua victim and the statement of the victim and her family naming the perpetrators at Unnao, every step taken thereafter by the concerned authorities has been at best casual, or a wilful obfuscation and sidetracking of the heinous crimes in order to allow the alleged perpetrators to roam free. In the first case, there was even a concerted effort on
the part of the local community to mobilize partisan support from political and legal forces to scuttle the rule of law.
We condemn the widespread impunity that surrounds us and the cynicism combined with contempt and arrogance shown by those in power to the rule of law. In the process, justice delivery has beendeliberately stymied and there is a complete lack of accountability towards the people whom they are supposed to serve. Justice has already been compromised in both case. In the Unnao instance, the victim's father was assaulted so badly that he succumbed to internal injuries, even as his family members continue to live in state of fear of attack.
After the outrage following the Delhi gang rape of December 16, 2012, the Justice J.S.Verma Committee set up by the then government left no stone unturned to define, recast and augment the power of the law to not only prevent violence against women and girls but also address it in the most decisive and efficacious manner, making all duty-bearers punishable under the law for failure to enforce it or ensure timely justice.   This mammoth exercise led by the late Justice Verma and ably assisted by the eminent jurists, the late Justice Leila Seth and Gopal Subramanium, was done in a highly consultative manner bringing together the best legal minds and those who that had been in the forefront of the struggles waged by women in different parts of the country since the early 70’s. Although the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee was legislated, like many other laws passed by the highest lawmakers aimed at affirming the rights of women and girls and preventing the all-pervasive discriminations they face, we find that the executive zeal necessary to take this process forward and translate the law into rights and entitlements of women and girls is missing. Today, the entire law stands compromised in both letter and spirit.
With neither administrative will nor accountability enforced by statutory bodies mandated to do so, we find that the duty bearers, including the police, are guilty of acts of both omission and commission. It is in this context of weak accountability, and clear unwillingness on the part of authorities to provide adequate resource to agencies, empower institutions and build strong partnerships through mutual collaboration, the argument– often made at the highest levels of society and government — for rapists to be given capital punishment sounds hollow. We do not support the call for the death penalty. Instead, we need an urgent evaluation of where the gaps lie in
the implementation of the Criminal (Amendment) Law, 2013 and POCSO, 2012. We condemn the attempts by the leaders of the Bar Association to obstruct the
administration of justice in the Jammu case by preventing the filing of the charge sheet and by obstructing the efforts of the woman lawyer in representing the family. A profession bound by a duty to uphold the rule of law in accordance with the Constitution cannot betray its own calling and aid and abet the breakdown of the rule of law.
The deliberate silences in the media and the careful construction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a person committed to gender justice is particularly disturbing and politically opportunistic. The Prime Minister’s condemnation of the rapists in both cases came far too late, and did not address the endemic failures of state governments ruled by his own party that allowed these crimes to take place. Let us not forget that such rapes, murders and other atrocities are a direct result of the hate mongering and “othering” of minorities, dalits and tribals that is widespread in India today.
We therefore demand that the perpetrators of both these unconscionable brutalities be
brought to justice without any further delay.
1. Aatreyee Sen, Forum for Human Rights and Justice
2. Abhishek Chaudhary, Gurgaon
3. Abhishek Mankotia, Ahmedabad
4. Abhishek Naulakha, Ahmedabad
5. Aditi Khandelwal, Ahmedabad
6. Ajitha K, Anweshi
7. Akhila Sivadas, Delhi
8. Akshaya Ganesh, Ahmedabad
9. Amrita Barua Ahmedabad
10. Amrita Chakraborty, Kolkata
11. Anant Asthana, Child Rights Defender
12. Anoop Kumar Yadav, Mumbai
13. Anuja Gupta, RAHI Foundation
14. Anukriti Dixit, Ahmedabad
15. Anuradha Kapoor, Swayam, Kolkata
16. Aparna Dwivedi, Alliance of Women for Change
17. Archana Dwivedi
18. Arjun Lal,Ahmedabad
19. Arlene Manohar
20. Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM
21. Asha Kaushik, RUWA
22. Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, JNU
23. Chayanika, LABIA – A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Mumbai
24. Chitra Mathur, Ahmedabad
25. D Geetha, Advocate
26. Deepti Sharma, Saheli
27. Divyanshu Daksh, Ahmedabad
28. Dr Mohini Giri, GOS
29. Ferzand Cahn, Delhi
30. Forum Against the Oppression of Women
31. Geetha Nambisan
32. HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, New Delhi
33. Himanshu Singh, Mumbai
34. Himen Doley, Bengaluru
35. Jagori
36. Jhuma Sen Delhi
37. Juhi Jain, Delhi
38. Kalpana Purushottaman
39. Kameshwari Jandhyala, ERU
40. Kamyani Bali Mahabal, feminist and human rights activist Mumbai
41. Kavita Krishnan
42. Kavita Srivastava
43. Kedar Champhekar, Ahmedabad
44. Kishore Kumar
45. Komal Habitat
46. Kruti Shastri, Vadodara
47. Kusha Singh, Ahmedabad
48. Kushagra Singh,Ahmedabad
49. Lalfakzuala Hnamte, Ahmedabad
50. Lara Jesani
51. Leher, New Delhi
52. Madhu Bhushan, Bangalore
53. Madhu Mehra
54. Manisha Gupte, Masum, Pune
55. Manjula Pradeep, Ahmedabad
56. Masooma Ranalvi, WeSpeakOut
57. Meera Khanna, GoS
58. Miguel Das Queah, Child Rights Defender
59. Mihira Sood
60. Milad Thaha,Ahmedabad
61. Mini Mathew
62. Muneeb Ul Lateef Banday, Ahmedabad
63. Nastasia Paul-Gera
64. Nandini Rao
65. Navtej Singh, Delhi
66. Neeta Hardikar
67. Nimish Shah, Vadodara
68. Nimisha Shrivastav, Child Rights Defender
69. Nirantar
70. Nishchal Kutarekar, Kharagpur
71. Nithin Prakash, Ahmedabad
72. Niti Saxena, Lucknow
73. Om Satatkar,Ahmedabad
74. Padma D, Mumbai
75. Pamela Philipose
76. Pawan Anand, Ahmedabad
77. Pawan Rajurkar,Ahmedabad
78. Pravekha Ravichandran,Ahmedabad
79. Preeti Berhguzar, Ahmedabad
80. Preeti Das, Ahmedabad
81. Prerna Subramanian, Gandhinagar
82. Priti Darooka PWESCR International
83. Purnima
84. Purnima Gupta
85. Queerabad, Ahmedabad
86. R Sivakumar, Bengaluru
87. Radhika Kajuria, Delhi
88. Rahul Upadhyay, Gandhinagar
89. Renu Khanna, Sahaj
90. Richa Yadav, Ahmedabad
91. Rimjhim Jain, Forum to Engage Men
92. Ritu Dewan, Vice President, Indian Institute of Labour Economics
93. Rohini Hensman
94. Rosamma Thomas
95. Roselle, YWCA, Goa
96. Roshmi Goswami, Urgent Action Fund-Asia Pacific
97. Ruchi Bhargava
98. S Sreenidhi, Ahmedabad
99. Sabina Martins, Bailanco Saad, Goa
100. Sadhana, Saheli
101. Sakhi, Kerala
102. Saheli
103. Sama
104. Sandeep Nongkynrih, Ahmedabad
105. Sandhya Raju, Centre for Constitutional Rights Research and Advocacy
106. Sanjukta Chakraborty, Ahmedabad
107. Sejal Dand, Ahmedabad
108. Sewang Dorji, Ahmedabad
109. Shahrukh Faquih, Ahmedabad
110. Shakti Shalini, New Delhi
111. Shaman Gupta, Delhi
112. Shruthi Ramachandran
113. Shruti Pandey, Advocate
114. Siddharth Adesara, Ahmedabad
115. Siddharth Mate,Ahmedabad
116. Sindura Ravindra,Ahmedabad
117. Smriti Minocha, Maitri Network
118. Suhas Kolhekar,NAPM
119. Sujata Patel
120. Sunita Sheel, Gen Secretary, Forum for Medical Ethics Society, Mumbai, MH, India; Founding Trustee, Vidhayak Trust, Pune, MH, India.
121. Supriya Jan, Right to Pee Movement
122. Sutapa Majumdar
123. Swagata Raha, Child Rights Defender
124. Swarna Rajagopalan, independent scholar
125. Swayam
126. Syeda Hameed
127. Tanvi Mankodi, Ahmedabad
128. Tejas Patil,Ahmedabad
129. The Prajnya Trust
130. Uma Chakravarti
131. Utsah, Assam
132. Vandana Mahajan
133. Veena Shatrugna
134. Vibhuti Patel
135. Vimala Ramachandran, ERU, Delhi
136. Vrinda Grover

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Kathua Rape case- She Is a Woman, How Intelligent Can She Be?’ Defence Lawyer on Woman Investigator #WTFnews

This comes after several reports talked of the hurdles faced by Shwetambri Sharma, the lone woman officer in the Special Investigative Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch.

'She Is a Woman, How Intelligent Can She Be?' Kathua Defence Lawyer on Woman Investigator
Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma is appearing for five out of the eight accused in the Kathua rape case.

New Delhi: The defence counsel in Kathua rape case has raised further questions on the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s probe into the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl, saying the investigation was led by a woman officer and that it was beyond her “intelligence” to work on this case.

Jammu-based advocate, Ankur Sharma who is appearing for five out of the eight accused in the case, told News18 that since she is a “woman and a new officer, she was misguided by someone”.

This comes after several reports talked of the hurdles faced by Shwetambri Sharma, the lone woman officer in the Special Investigative Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch.

Sharma who investigated the rape and murder of the Bakerwal girl recently spoke on the hurdles she faced while uncovering the gory details of the minor’s abduction, rape and subsequent death.

The January incident shook the collective consciousness of the nation three months later when the police finally filed its chargesheet detailing the conspiracy and unfolding of the crime.

On Tuesday, Sharma took to a new low and said, “Shwetambri kya hai, ladki hai. Uska kitna hi dimaag hoga (What is Shwetambri, she is a girl, how intelligent can she be?) She is a new officer and by showing her a few circumstantial evidences, some people made her believe that the crime has been committed in this fashion.”

The lawyer further added that the police officers and bureaucrats are just “mere puppets”. “If she faced so many hurdles, why didn’t she inform her superiors about it?” asked the lawyer.

Sharma has also claimed that the entire investigation by the Crime Branch was botched up as witnesses were tortured to extract favourable statements.

“All witnesses examined by the Crime Branch have stated that they were tortured by the police and were always told what to say and what not to say. Around 40 to 50 people have said that they have been tortured by the crime branch to give favourable statements,” said the lawyer.

Explaining his stand that witnesses were being tortured, Sharma said that the initial version of the Crime Branch was that accused Vishal Jangotra, who was in Meerut along with his friends, had given his phone to three of his friends so that the tower location could not be detected. The Crime Branch had said that these friends would mark Vishal’s attendance in college while he was in Kathua, taking part in the rape and murder.

“These three friends of Jangotra were continuously tortured by the police for close to 10-15 days and a confession was forced. But when they gave their statement under Section 164A of the Criminal Procedure Code in front of the judicial magistrate, they narrated a detailed scenario of how they were tortured. They also said that Vishal was in Meerut appearing for his examinations. The students said that they were together even during Lohri. They also gave details of an ATM they visited so that the CCTV footage from there can establish that Vishal was not in Kathua. This all was stated in front of the magistrate,” said Sharma.

The eight-year-old went missing on January 10 from near her residence in Rasana village of Hiranagar in Jammu’s Kathua district. After the police failed to recover her amid allegations of kidnapping, which rattled a session of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, she was found dead on January 17.

The abduction, rape and killing of the Bakerwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, revealed the 15-page chargesheet filed by the J&K Police’s Crime Branch in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court.

It lists the caretaker of the Devisthan, a small temple, in Rasana village in Kathua, as the main conspirator behind the abduction, rape and killing.

Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma” in committing the crime.

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Tripura CM Internet remarks open floodgates of humour, ridicule on social media

agencies  

Biplab Kumar Deb’s claim that Internet existed in the days of Mahabharata has set off a flurry of reaction from users, who were largely unforgiving for his bizarre statement.

While a section of the Twitterati used humour to ridicule Deb’s claim, other took a swipe at him with tweets loaded with sarcasm.

of said that internet exist during times So was he there at time? ….. Thank god he didnt said that he gave training to in his Gym,” a user, with handle @naina4ucozy, wrote on the 

Users mentioned characters like Krishna, Arjuna and from epic to mock the newly-elected of the northeastern state.

“If according to Biplab internet existed during the times of Mahabharat, the main question is, what was Draupadi’s favorite filter?,” tweeted another user @ThePolanator.

“Biggest joke of the millennium. Tomorrow some other will claim there was Mobile phone in ,otherwise how could Dharmaraja answered questions from Yaksha, of course only by seeking lifeline!,” @anumakondaj tweeted.

The reaction was triggered by Deb’s remarks yesterday at a workshop on public distribution system (PDS) computerisation and reforms in Agaratala.

In the Mahabharata, it has been mentioned that Sanjay gave a live relay of the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas to the blind Dhritarashtra, he said.

“Communication was possible because our technology was sophisticated and developed during those times. We had the Internet and  It is not like the Internet or media wasn’t available in the age of Mahabharata,” the had said.

The 48-year-old had taken charge as the of on March 9, following a spectacular electoral victory of the BJP that ended unchallenged 25-year rule of the Left in the state.

“Internet In The Time Of Mahabharat: Biplab Kumar Deb’s interpretation of .. When Krishna used Maps and Arjun ran out of data. #InternetMahabharata,” @ArreTweets posted.

“Internet was there in Mahabharat-CM Biplab dev.. Thanks a lot for not saying Bhishm pitamah existing today,” said another user @Abidebyconstitn.

User @KumarShreshtha had a question for Deb: “…Can you please answer which happened first Ramayana or ? Any citation against what the broad minded like you claim”.

“Of course, there was #internet for Sanjay to see and recount the #to Dhritirashtra. In fact, the warriors used on their weapons to locate their targets during the war. The gems just keep coming in!,” wrote @aartiishere.

But, a few also tweeted in Deb’s support apparently.

CM Biplab said about Vedic Science,you may call it internet or WiFi or anytime else. Atomic weapons were used during & Harappa, Mohenjo-daro ruined due to atomic war. @BjpBiplab,” wrote @ippatel.

Another user @t_d_h_nair said: “Internet and is not new to India; it was prevalent at the time of  Sanjay regularly updating about the war sitting at a distant place wdnt hv been possible without satellite. – Biplab Dev, BJP’s CM.” But, the tweet sounded more of a sarcasm than support.

  • Gandhari joined #DeleteFacebook… lost touch with everyone’

    Assistant professor of South Asian history, Rutgers University, had some fun imagining a Mahabharata with internet

    “This raises a few questions. Why didn’t Abhimanyu ask Quora how to escape the Chakravyuha? Why did Sanjay narrate the Kurukshetra War when Siri could have done it? Also, Krishna really should have streamed the Bhagavad-Gita on Facebook Live.”

    “And why couldn’t the Kauravas find the Pandavas during their incognito year of exile? Seriously people, just check their instagram feeds — tons of pictures of Arjuna as a eunuch there.”

    “ It does put Pandu’s demise in a new light… I mean, really, the guy meant to swipe left and just accidentally swiped right. We’ve all been there on Tinder.”

    “ It does sort of explaining all the going back and forth between the Kauravas and the Pandavas before the Great War, however. It was really all just chatter on the family WhatsApp group.”

    “ And you know, they say Gandhari chose to blindfold herself. She really just joined the #DeleteFacebook movement and so lost touch with everyone.”

    “ Ekalavya tried to sign up online for Drona’s workout class, but it was full. He asked Drona to give him special permission to join, but Drona said no. Ekalavya said, no problem, he decided to workout using pirated You-Tube videos of Drona instead.”

    “ But, you know, the internet wasn’t always so robust. In the early days of Mahabharata, it was pretty rudimentary. That’s how Karna got talked into giving his armor to Indra — like the days of AOL chatrooms when you didn’t know who anyone was.”

     

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