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Archives for : June2018

India – Collapse of PDP-BJP alliance: The break-up is nothing but a staged drama

*Statement on collapse of PDP-BJP alliance: The break-up is nothing but a staged drama by the alliance partners to rid themselves of any accountability. They are fleeing, in order to erase their sins and escape questions from the public.*
By- Shehla Rashid Shora
For the last three years, PDP and BJP – two reactionary, populist parties – have been fooling people in the name of “agenda of alliance” and “people’s mandate”, etc., shamelessly holding on to power despite the failures on political, social and economic fronts. After having failed on every single front, now a drama is being staged in order to preempt any questions and to foreclose the possibility of having any mechanism of fixing accountability. If “failure of govt” is the reason for BJP to have broken the alliance, then they should do so at the Centre govt level too, because the Modi govt is a total failure on all counts.
The BJP and PDP are now engaging in blame game and accusing one another of being responsible for the failure of the alliance. However, the alliance itself was a massive failure that has polarised the state on religious lines.
Beginning with the political failures, the nature of the alliance itself betrayed the mandate of the people. The state has been pushed to a political crisis comparable to that during the 90s. Militant ranks have swollen and popular support for armed insurgency has increased. Countless civilians have been killed in the name of sham operations such as “Operation All Out”. We have seen an unfortunate politicization and communalisation of the Army. When civilians were being killed and blinded with pellets, PDP let the people down by holding on to this unholy alliance, silencing human rights activists and berating critics who asked questions. The ratification of GST by the State Assembly has not only undermined Article 370 and pushed the state toward lesser autonomy; it has also destroyed businesses in the entire state. While Modi govt’s disastrous policies such as demonetization and GST were being criticized throughout India, the PDP-BJP govt in the state unnecessarily extended GST to J&K. Human rights violations have peaked under the present regime. The govt has completely failed to reach out to civilians and establish peace and order. It is shameful that Ms. Mehbooba Mufti now talks about humane policy as opposed to muscular policy. It was under her watch that Farooq Dar, an innocent civilian, was tied to a jeep and paraded. She failed to stand up for her people then. Now, she has no right to talk about humane policy. The government has even failed to nab the murderers of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
On the economic front, the state govt has borrowed huge sums of money from the centre in order to be able to fund its development budget. The fund allocation to various schemes has been completely haphazard, and money was constantly diverted from one scheme to another in an unconstitutional manner. As a result, various govt employees who were recruited under various policies, such as SRO 202 and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are suffering without pay! This is criminal. Now, the question arises as to what will happen to all the schemes that were dependent on the survival of the alliance. Neither has flood compensation reached the victims properly, nor are salaries being disbursed. The alliance partners are now trying to flee after having pushed the state into a political and economic crisis.
On the social front, the state govt has failed to stand up for victims and survivors of sexual violence. The Kathua rape case and the Kulgam sex trafficking scandal involved the government’s own Ministers and MLAs respectively. But no proactive measures against them were taken by the CM who herself is a woman. PDP should have broken the alliance over human rights violations or over the Kathua case. Now, they are only fleeing to escape public accountability.
Corruption and nepotism has peaked under this government and that is responsible for pushing the youth further away from the mainstream. With what authority can a govt ask young people to come to mainstream.With what authority can a govt ask young people to come to mainstream when the mainstream is filled with family members and caste brethren? It’s a shame that the South Kashmir Parliamentary seat does not have an elected representative, because the government wanted someone from the first family to rule the constituency. The break up of the alliance is a means for PDP and BJP to wash their hands off all these sins.

Going by the BJP’s statements, it is clear that they intend to rule the state through the Governor. This is unhealthy for democracy and it will become a means to unleash atrocities on the people, as under Jagmohan’s rule who could not even ensure safety of Kashmiri Pandits in their own state. Elections to the State Assembly must be held at the earliest, and people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh should hold PDP and BJP accountable during the electoral process.

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On Gauri Lankesh and religion: It is ridiculous to brand her anti-Hindu as her killers are trying to do

The last few days have been strangely painful and numbing. Men, some of them young, have been justifying a cold blooded murder. Reading the headlines quoting the killers (of my sister), “Gauri was killed for her anti-Hindu ideology,” i have been very disturbed. If media cannot differentiate between Hinduism and Hindutva, how will the common man?

Many people across the country were devastated by Gauri Lankesh’s murder. Many openly gloated at her brutal killing. Others, faceless and anonymous on social media, even celebrated her death. All in the name of ‘Hinduism’. A woman member of BJP Yuva Morcha even posted that a Parashuram, the (name of the) alleged killer of Gauri, should be born in every Indian house. The Sri Ram Sene, which is today claiming that it has nothing to do with the alleged killer, has reportedly sought funds to help his family.

If this article can in any small way change perceptions and garner support for the values that my sister Gauri stood for, i would be satisfied and the memory of Gauri, redeemed. Let me make one thing absolutely clear. Gauri never opposed the religious beliefs of the people. As a family, we celebrated the Ganesha festival as we did Bakr Eid and Christmas, with great joy and fervour.

What Gauri did oppose was the manipulation of people’s faith by vested interests. She was also against fundamentalism in all religions. In that sense she followed Ambedkar who said his respect is reserved for such religion which upholds equality and fraternity. As a corollary she opposed the casteism and patriarchy that is the basis of Hindutva. I recollect reading a dozen of Gauri’s articles condemning patriarchal and fundamental dictums and practices within Islam and Christianity too.

Gauri always believed that people’s faith in God and religion is completely different from organised politics based on manipulating people’s religious sentiments. Then the question arises, was Gauri not religious? Yes and no. If religion is defined as looking for God in every human being, she was religious. If being empathetic about the toiling and oppressed is spiritual, she was most spiritual.

If harming human sensibilities and killing in the name of God is religious, no she was not religious. At a philosophical level she did not dwell deep into the questions of existence of God or any supernatural power. There she followed Buddha. She never considered mediation of God or religion necessary to consider fellow humans as brothers and sisters.

For example, in an article written a few months before her murder, she had made it amply clear that she supports the Lingayat religion as perceived by the working class sharanas of 12th century who propounded an egalitarian social order, against the Vedic Brahminical Hindu social order based on caste and gender discrimination. It is ridiculous, therefore, to describe Gauri as anti-Hindu. It is as ridiculous as belittling Buddha, Basavanna, Narayana guru and Ambedkar on the same charges. Gauri also strongly believed that RSS does not represent the true spirit of Indian civilisation or our religious traditions.

I should also take this opportunity to mention that i am most satisfied with the investigation into Gauri’s murder and the team which led it. Any successful investigation in such ideologically motivated and organised assassinations needs three important components. One, political non-interference and operational freedom. This was ensured by the previous Karnataka government from day one.

Second, most important is an unbiased and ideologically neutral investigative team. Given the growing bias in the state machinery everywhere, the SIT constituted for this case has shown utmost neutrality and made us proud. The last but utmost important aspect is professionalism. The SIT has proved its professionalism in completely cracking the case. It has also reportedly gathered vital leads about the other ideological assassinations of Kalburgi, Dabholkar and Pansare. Hence the team deserves top accolades.

Gauri did not have a child of her own, but she was a mother to many, including my own daughter Esha, who called her Avva (mother), and many others like Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. Isn’t it thus a cruel irony that the operation to kill Gauri was named “Amma” even by her killers? How does one contemplate an ideology, or set of beliefs, which demonise human sensibilities, and set in force a chain of events, a plan, to kill one’s amma?

The writer is a filmmaker

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UN experts urge Iran to halt “unlawful execution” of young offender #deathpenalty

 

GENEVA (19 June 2018) – UN human rights experts* are making an urgent appeal to the authorities in Iran to halt the execution of Mohammad Kalhori, a young man who was sentenced to death at 15 years old for killing his teacher.

Reports received by the experts suggest that Kalhori will be executed shortly after the end of Ramadan, even though international standards unequivocally forbid the imposition of the death sentence on anyone under 18 years old at the time of the offence.

“The Iranian authorities must halt the execution of this juvenile offender and annul the death sentence against him in compliance with their international obligations,” the experts said in a joint statement.

“Iran has committed itself to prohibiting the use of the death penalty for all those under 18 by its ratification of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As such, this execution is unlawful and arbitrary,” they concluded.

The experts stress that in 2013, Iran amended its Islamic Penal Code to allow judges to pronounce alternative sentences for juvenile offenders if there is any uncertainty about their “mental development” at the time of the crime, or if they had not realised the nature of the crime committed.

Assurances were given in 2016 by Iran to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that the amendment (Article 91) would apply systematically for all juveniles on death row.

Based on a report by the State forensic institution which said Kalhori was not mentally mature at the time of the crime, the Criminal Court sentenced him to imprisonment and ordered him to pay a fine. However, following an appeal and apparent letters sent by a Government official and a Member of Parliament, the verdict was overturned by the Supreme Court and Kalhori was sentenced to death during a retrial.

“Notwithstanding the clear prohibition of the application of the death penalty for those under the age of 18, this case demonstrates flagrant disregard for the amendment to the Penal Code itself and raises concerns about possible interference in the independence of the judiciary,” the experts said.

ENDS

(*)The experts: Ms Agnes CallamardSpecial Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Ms Renate Winter, Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is the body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State parties. It also monitors the Optional Protocols to the Convention, on involvement of children in armed conflict and on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; as well as a third Optional Protocol which will allow individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights.

 

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Knee-jerk Justice- For POCSO Act to effectively protect children, it should go beyond #DeathPenalty

Written by Mustafa Haji | U

A major provision in the POCSO is that of setting up a Special Juvenile Police unit in-charge of investigating cases of child abuseThe child abuse law as it stands has multiple problems, mostly stemming from its focus on the abuser (Representational Image)In April, India made world news with the introduction of the death penalty for child rapists.

It is unfortunate how it takes tragic incidents such as the rape of minors to remind us that the laws of the country need serious reconsideration. The last time a major overhaul in the rape law was thought of was as a consequence of the Delhi 2012 rape and murder case. Before that, the Vishaka incident was a catalyst for the law on sexual harassment.

The ineffectiveness of reactionary lawmaking can be seen in the recently proposed amendments in the Criminal Law and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, that were a result of the Unnao and the Kathua cases which shook the country’s conscience.

The new reforms that have been proposed to the Indian Penal Code, which shall further apply to the POCSO are: One, if a person rapes a minor girl below the age of 12 years then the punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment of at least 20 years which, shall be extendable to life imprisonment or death. Previously the punishment for the same was rigorous imprisonment for at 10 years or life imprisonment, along with fine. Two, if a person rapes a girl who is below 16 years, then the punishment is rigorous imprisonment of at least 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment. The punishment for this as per the 2013 criminal amendment is rigorous imprisonment, not less than 10 years and which may extend to life imprisonment.

The ordinance has suggested a few more changes, such as time-bound investigations, appeals and prior sanction from the courts for prosecution of government servants. However, the main change it suggests is in introducing the death penalty for the rape of a minor below the age of 12.

A major provision in the POCSO is that of setting up a Special Juvenile Police unit in-charge of investigating cases of child abuse. This was conceived of as a protection against the police intimidating children, either intentionally or unintentionally. Yet, no mention of a special juvenile police unit can be found in many cases. Similarly, with various provisions for the security and the care of the victim under the POCSO — such as the statement of a child should be taken at the residence of a child or a place where he or she is comfortable, by a lady police officer — there’s massive oversight when it comes to enforcement. In the Kathua case, for instance, the name of the victim was highlighted and essentially advertised on all the media channels even though this is strictly prohibited both under the POCSO Act as well as the IPC under section 228 A.

The prospect of harsh punishments, such as the death penalty, can, in fact, be a threat to the victim. NCRB data reveals that in more than 96 per cent of child sex abuse cases, the perpetrator is a close relative or a member of the family. This is why children often find it difficult to confess. Parents often try to resolve matters of abuse themselves due to the stigma that is associated with such crimes. Harsher punishments for the perpetrator can quickly become harsher threats for the victim, as the accused may go to any extent to protect themselves. Worried for their own safety, children may choose not to provide testimony.

For the POCSO Act to be effective in protecting children who are sexually abused, it should go beyond relying on the death penalty as a deterrent. It should focus on stricter enforcement of protections for the abused children, punish half-hearted investigations, do away with intimidating procedures and improve the overall sluggishness in the legal system.

Justice is more than a punitive, knee-jerk reaction to the perpetrator of injustice. The child abuse law as it stands has multiple problems, mostly stemming from its focus on the abuser. It’s important to look at the systemic failures that allow child abuse to happen, prevent children who are abused from speaking up. Punishment alone is not a complete solution by any means.

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Polimer TV’s coverage of Akshay Dev’s suicide shows how lives of trans-men are reduced to mere television fodder

By Charupriyan for TwoCircles.net

Translation by Uma Murugan

This piece is being written in condemnation of the deeply transphobic and unethical journalistic coverage by Polimer Television, a private Tamil News channel, of the tragic death of a transman in Tamil Nadu. Without an ounce of compassion or humanity, Polimer news has produced a sensationalized, insensitive and totally false story of a dead trans man’s life. In response, Charu, from the Ivan collective of transmen has written a piece detailing the incidents that led to the death as well as condemnation for the subsequent Polimer Television coverage.

I, Charupriyan, am a trans man who wishes to present to you the truths that I have gathered from my brother Akshay Dev. My brother and friend Dev and I have known each other for three years. We met through my family. He frequently shared all life events with me. He who always addressed me as “Anna” (“Anna” is a title for an elder brother held in a position of reverence) to express his love and respect for me is no longer with us. As his Anna, I feel compelled to speak out to oppose those who have disparaged his gender identity, and especially against those from the print and TV media who have all but mired his true story from being known to the world, both by disseminating falsehoods and by failing to critically analyze and understand my friend’s life story.

 

Yes. My friend Akshay Dev was indeed assigned female gender at birth. He felt trapped in a body that felt undesirable and distasteful. Because of this, with the support of his family, he successfully underwent gender affirmative surgery in order to transition. His parents too understood and accepted his feelings with all their heart.

When Dev fell in love with a woman named Ilavarasi, he not only expressed his feelings for her but also told her the truth about how he transitioned. When Ilavarasi reciprocated with her feelings, together, they approached their respective families and secured their approval. Dev made it a point to impress upon Ilavarasi’s parents the truth of his love, his self-confidence and gender identity so that they too were able to welcome him wholeheartedly into their family. As Dev and Ilavarasi embarked on a married life together, it was not without the full knowledge and blessings of their families! Thus you can see that Dev and Ilavarasi each spoke openly of their love and desires to their respective families before they were married.

Married life was initially very much filled with joy. When Ilavarasi expressed a desire for them to have children, they agreed to pursue this goal via in-vitro-fertilization. They also discussed these plans with their parents. And in due time, Ilavarasi succeeded in becoming pregnant. During this time, Dev worked at the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Pondicherry, earning an income to support his family. Unfortunately, Ilavarasi’s pregnancy was lost in the first trimester, and the loss was attributed to her frequent travels to her parents’ home.

Ilavarasi and Dev experienced much pain and suffering after the miscarriage occurred. Ilavarasi needed rest and recuperation, and so she left to stay with her parents for a while. Her parents brainwashed her saying “You are leading a life with a trans man. Because of this, society will marginalize you. They will invalidate your womanhood and feminine identity, blame you and say that you are “barren” and “infertile”. Think about it. This is not a good way to live.” Saying so, they pushed her to a state of confusion.

Ilavarasi came to conclude that her parents were right. She rekindled a relationship with an ex-boyfriend. However, she continued to visit Dev at his house. She acted as normally as she could, hiding the other relationship from Dev, allowing Dev to believe that her feelings for him had not changed. Her parents knew of all of this but they stayed silent.

Over time, Akshay Dev noticed changes in Ilavarasi’s behaviour and came to suspect that all was not well. However, he showed her the love and affection as always.

One day, Ilavarasi’s mobile phone showed Dev that she spent many hours speaking to someone whose phone number was not recognizable to him. When he confronted Ilavarasi, he was convinced that she was lying to him… As he berated her with questions, Ilavarasi finally admitted to the truth. The resulting bitterness caused the couple to separate.

As time went past, Dev’s parents counselled Ilavarasi. They seem to have pleaded with Ilavarasi to get back together with Dev. However, Ilavarasi did not relent. The issue had blown up when one of Ilavarasi’s relatives asked Dev if he was indeed a man. It appears that they shamed him, harassed him, and perhaps abused him, asking him to disrobe himself so that they might see his male sexual organs as proof. A sad and deeply upset Dev left Pondicherry and lived with a friend in Chennai for the next three months. Afraid that he would be haunted by memories of Ilavarasi if he lived in Pondicherry, he extended his stay in Chennai. June 8, 2018, was their wedding anniversary and so Dev went to Pondicherry to see Ilavarasi. He went to the beauty parlour where she worked, begging and pleading with her to come back to live with him. Ilavarasi stood unmoved by Dev’s pleas. She simply told him that she no longer wished to live with him and that he should leave her alone.

In the end, it was my friend who decided to douse himself with the petrol that he had brought with him and end his life. Ilavarasi fled the scene, while her frightened colleagues at the beauty parlour called in the police.

Whatever happened since Dev died is widely known.
Now let me ask you:

In this world, does it appear that members of our community of trans men who only wish to live their lives as men are somehow wrong? No need to stand in judgment of us. How we wish to lead our lives is up to us, NOT to you!!

You do not have the authority or the right to undermine our rights or to shame us for our experiences.

Who decides the identity of any person – is it not the person, or is it society? We are not prepared to discard our identity, at any time, for any reason.

Any and all acts or experiences that do not torment or hurt others deserve to be respected. When will your society understand this?

In this society, are people not worthy of living, other than if they identify as either male or as female? Who determined this?

Are you saying that people like us who are from the trans community have no place in your society, just because our experiences don’t conform to conventional norms? Does this nation not accept us as citizens with equal rights?

What we would like to convey to Polimer Television and to the press is that they should fully understand the events and circumstances of the lives of trans people before they set out to publish news about us. Please refrain from depicting our lives in your light, making up our stories and spreading falsehoods. But alas, on second thoughts, when we think of your world where even infants and children are not spared, how should we expect that we would be spared?

The experience of being trans men is our truth. We did not engineer our bodies or our lives so that we might entice or ensnare women. Please respect our feelings as well as our pursuit of happiness based on our truth.

The death of Akshay Dev is painful for all of us. However, to interpret his life story in ways that support the depiction of the experiences and lifestyles of trans people as somehow unnatural is extremely unethical. We strongly condemn this interpretation.

As to how our community is portrayed in the tormenting vision of the media, it is their intention to insult and denigrate our community so that their TRP ratings can rise. My friend’s life story was fodder for your clickbait media tactics. Let not the arrogance and access to the power of media lull you into thinking that you can continue to oppress trans people forever. Remember this! If all oppressed peoples come together, we will rise up in strength. Hear this loud and clear; let it sink in and solidify in your awareness. If you write the truth, you can transform the destiny of all people. Alas that, when it comes to Akshay Dev, you instead choose to warm yourselves by the fire that you lit to the truth of his life, years of suffering, his feelings and experiences, even his rights! Do not imagine that we stay quiet in peace. When we rise you will neither be able to write (your lies) nor stand up to us.

This world is meant to be for each and every one of us. It evolves to be inclusive of all of us, regardless of our gender identities. No one can stop this world from emerging.
That we live as trans men, gives me pride, joy and dignity.
Yours truly,

Charupriyan

Ivan, Community of Trans Men

http://twocircles.net/2018jun18/423809.html

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India – Anti-caste poet Lokshahir Shantanu Kamble passes away in Nashik at the age of 39 #RIP

By Daisy Katta, TwoCircles.net

In a terrible jolt to the Ambedkarite movement in Maharashtra, Shahir Shantanu Kamble, a 39-year-old poet on whose life the movie ‘Court’ was based, died in Nashik. Shahir Shantanu Kamble belonged to the fierce tradition or Vidrohi Shahiri (Resistance poetry performance) in Maharashtra’s anti-caste movement. Kamble, who originally belonged to Atpadi Taluka in Sangli, was a son of a labourer Napha Kamble and came to Mumbai in early 2000 to work in an NGO. He spent many years staying at the Barkat Ali Chawl in Wadala area of Mumbai.

Kamble is survived by his wife Deepali. According to people close to the family, Kamble had been ill for some time and died of a stomach ailment.

Growing up in Atpadi, Shantanu Kamble witnessed oppression of castes first hand. He grew up in a culture which was enriched by various forms of art and performances like lok geet and jalsas related to the anti-caste movement.

Speaking about Shantanu Kamble, actor and activist Vira Sathidar recalls, “It was when he came to Mumbai that his poetry was sharpened ideologically. I remember that whenever he would preside over any meeting in Mumbai, he would first start by telling the people about the history of poetry and music, why and how it was created and how it came into being, and what is the connection between poetry and the shramik (Labourers)”.

“where firsts raise against injustice
where small birds fight against eagles
from this battleground, you come muffled in blood-sandal
you come, you come, you come
breaking shackles, you come….”

( Shantanu Kamble performing Samtechya Vatene)

Kamble’s poetry and songs not only encompassed the realities of caste oppression, exploitation and inequality but also that of humanity and human relations. He penned one of his most popular songs Dalitare halla bol na…Shramika re halla bol na (Dalits raise your voice..labourers raise your voice!) after the gruesome Khairlanji Caste Atrocity which took place in 2006 in Maharashtra. He was one of the founding members of the Kabir Kala Manch but left it soon after its inception to work with Republic Panthers.

( Shantanu Kamble performing Dalita re halla bol na)

In 2005, he was accused by the Nagpur police of having Naxalite connections, however, he was later acquitted after spending around 100 days in jail. The 2014 National award-winning Marathi movie “Court” was based on his life where is friend Vira Sathidar played the lead character of Narayan Kamble.

Sahiri has been a long tradition of rebellious songs in Maharashtra’s anti-caste movement. The tradition of Shahiri was popularised by Mahatma Jyotiba Phule in 1873 in his Satyashodhaks Jalsas to bring people together and to protests against the upper castes oppression the medium of songs and theatre. These traditions were taken forward during the beginning of anti-caste movement in the 1920s with the rise of Babasaheb Ambedkar. This era saw a resurgence of Shahiri in form of Ambedkari Jalsas which took the message of anti-caste oppression and liberation to the masses. Unlike the upper caste poetry and performances practised by Brahmins, Shahiri was a form of a mass folk art of songs and performance which was in the language of the masses.

The tradition of Shahiri was taken forward by a host of people like Shahir Bhimrao Kardak, Wamandada Kardak, Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe, Lokshahir Vithhal Umap, Shahir Vilas Ghogare and Shahir Sambhaji Bhagat to name a few. Songs like Jaltoy Marathwada (Marathwada is burning) by Sahir Vilas Ghogare become the song of the Namantar Movement in Maharashtra.

Throughout his short life but fruitful life, Shantanu Kamble was part of many organisations like BHARIP of which he was the head of Nashik Division. But he spent a majority of his time dedicated to Republican Panthers, a cultural revolutionary organisation which came into existence after the 1997 Ramabai Nagar Atrocity in Mumbai.

Vira Sathidar met his old friend Shantanu Kamble in May. Recalling the incident, Sathidar told TwoCircles.net “When I asked him ‘What has happened to you’ Shantanu Kamble replied, ‘This is all a part of a journey to become Ghalib’.”

http://twocircles.net/2018jun17/423803.html

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Student activist Valarmathi arrested for opposing Salem-Chennai green corridor project #WTFnews #DefendDissent

ValarmathiValarmathi   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

: The Salem police on Tuesday arrested Valarmathi, a student activist, on the charge of attempting to disrupt a meeting of revenue and police officials with stake holders of Achankuttapatti on the proposed Salem–Chennai ‘green corridor’ project.

Police sources said that Valarmathi was present at the meeting along with local villagers and questioned the move of acquiring fertile lands for the project.

Officials informed her that it was a meeting exclusively for the residents of the Acchankuttapatti area and she should not participate.

Officials claimed that she continued to argue with them contending that the eight-lane project will only pave for destruction of natural wealth of the western belt and will prove to be a severe blow to the livelihoods of a large number of farmers.

As the efforts of the officials to send her out of the meeting hall proved futile, the Veeranam police arrested her and removed her from the scene.

Ms Valarmathi was a few months ago detained by the Salem City Police under the Goondas Act for allegedly distributing pamphlets containing slogans “harming national interests”. The Madras High Court had quashed her detention.

Valarmathi is the second activist to be arrested by the Salem City Police for opposing the government project. Piyush Manush, an environmental activist attached to the ‘Saleme Kural Kodu’ movement, was arrested by the Theevattipatti police late Monday evening

the Hindu

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Protesting Haryana ASHA Workers Detained and Released

The massive uprisings of workers and immense response to the Jail Bharo protest forced the government to call a meeting with the workers on Friday.
Jail Bharo protest
Image Coutesy: Facebook

Iterating their long-pending demands, more than 20,000 Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers from Haryana demonstrated on Friday after the Jail Bharo call of the ASHA Workers’ Union. The ASHAs who were on indefinite strike at various centres across the state since June 7 have been detained by the state police on Friday.

In Ambala city, the workers protested outside the office of Deputy Commissioner and nearly 300 workers were arrested and taken to the police lines ground, from where they were released later. A massive support was witnessed in the Jail Bharo protest, which has taken place in various parts of the state including Sonepat, Panipat, Kaithal, Karnal and Gurugram. Trade unions including Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) have extended their support to the workers.

The ASHA workers were pushed to strike on June 7 as the BJP-led state government has failed to implement the agreement which had already been signed on February 1, 2018. Earlier, since January 27, the ASHA workers in the state had observed a one-day strike demanding a hike in monthly wages and job regularisation. Following the strike, the government was forced to accept the demands of the ASHAs across the state and they had arrived at an agreement with ASHA Workers’ Union. However, the government was not ready to meet the demands of workers as per the agreement.  This adamant stand of government in settling the issues of workers had forced them to strike again.

The massive uprisings of workers and immense response to the ‘Jail Bharo’ protest forced the government to call a meeting with the workers on Friday.

“In a meeting with the officials, in the presence of state health minister, it was agreed that the government would notify the order. Though during the indefinite strike, the government came with a notification declaring an honorarium of Rs 4,000 a month for ASHAs, there were certain conditions. In Friday’s meeting, it was decided that there would not be any hidden conditions,” said Sindhu AR of CITU.

The draft minutes of Friday’s meeting read: “All ASHA will be given monthly fixed honorarium Rs 4000 without any condition but their performance will be appraised on annual basis to ensure functionality of each ASHA. The enhanced incentives will be given from January 2018. The performance-based incentive for 5 activities such as institutional delivery, routine immunization, ant natal care (ANC), HBPNC and family planning/ spacing will also be increased. Existing additional 50% incentive on monthly NHM earning would be continued and services of all ASHA facilitators would be continued.”

Apart from this, the minutes add: “Android phone for ASHA have been proposed in the PIP 2018-19 for the approval of Govt. of India. Common Almirah would be provided to ASHA at all SCs which are being converted into health and wellness centres in the state. Ex gratia grant would be provided to the family of deceased ASHA in line of ANMs and finally, weightage will be given to eligible ASHA in the appointments/engagement of regular/contractual MPHW(F) and staff nurses.”

While on Saturday, in a state-level convention of ASHAs, they have given a time period of one month to the government to implement the order. If the government fails to do so, they will go for a mass rally on July 16.

https://newsclick.in/protesting-haryana-asha-workers-detained-and-released

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