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Justice Loya’s Death: 13 Questions That Remain Unanswered

The Caravan this week published a series of stories on the death of CBI special judge BH Loya in December 2014. Journalist Niranjan Takle has spoken extensively to the family of Justice Loya, who, before he died, was presiding over the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter killing case – in which a prime accused was BJP President Amit Shah. Shah was discharged by the judge who succeeded Justice Loya.

The revelations made by Justice Loya’s sisters, father and others form the basis of the stories. These, along with Takle’s own investigation, who spoke to officials in Nagpur who dealt with Loya’s body after he was found dead, raise several grave questions.

1. Why was Justice JT Utpat, Justice Loya’s predecessor in hearing the case, transferred from hearing the case despite a 2012 Supreme Court order specifying that the same judge should hear the matter from start to finish?

2. Was Bombay High Court Chief Justice Mohit Shah or the principal accused Amit Shah aware of any alleged inducements offered to Justice Loya to ensure a favourable judgment in the case?

3. Does Justice Mohit Shah deny the allegation by Justice Loya’s sister Anuradha Biyani, that he himself made an offer of Rs 100 crore in return for a favourable judgment?

[Takle had received no response from Justice Shah at the time of publication of the article mentioning this allegation]

4. Who made the arrangements for Justice Loya’s transportation to Dande Hospital on the night of his death, and why was this not in a vehicle from the government guest house or an ambulance?

5. Do Dande Hospital and/or Meditrina Hospital have records indicating what medication was provided to Justice Loya while in their care, and who was with him at the time?

6. What was the time of Justice Loya’s death according to the records of Meditrina Hospital and when do call records show this was intimated to Justice Loya’s family? Did the death occur at 6:15 am or before 5 am on 1 December 2014, or did it in fact occur before midnight?

[Justice Loya’s family says they received calls informing them of his death from 5 am in the morning onwards, but the post-mortem report specifies the time of death as 6:15 am, and other sources informed Takle that Justice Loya passed away before midnight]

The Quint has not conducted an independent corroboration of the claims made in the articles, and therefore does not affirm the truth of such claims. These include alleged discrepancies between the post-mortem report and the condition of Justice Loya’s body and clothes, as well as allegations that the then Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court offered monetary inducements to Justice Loya to give a favourable judgment.

Nonetheless, the gravity of these claims (several of which are made on video here), which strike at the very heart of the judicial system if true, necessitates that they be investigated properly at the very least.

7. In what circumstances can a person die of “coronary artery insufficiency”? Is it possible for a person in good physical health without any cardiac history or other markers of this condition, experience “coronary artery insufficiency” and lose their life?

[Justice Loya’s sister, a doctor, claims that Justice Loya had no medical history consistent with the condition, and that this raised doubts as to whether this could be the cause of death]

8. Why was a post-mortem report ordered into Justice Loya’s death when no panchnama or FIR was filed terming it a suspicious death, and why was Justice Loya’s family not informed about the performance of a post-mortem? Alternatively, were any reasons for performance of post-mortem report recorded, where were these recorded and who recorded them?

9. Who signed the post-mortem report pages as “maiyatacha chulatbhau” (ie paternal cousin brother of the deceased) when no relation of Justice Loya was present in Nagpur? Does the countersignatory, the senior police inspector of Sadar police station, recollect who this was?

10. What was Ishwar Baheti’s relationship with the deceased and on what basis was he coordinating the funeral arrangements for Justice Loya, including contacting the family? Why was Justice Loya’s phone returned to the family by Mr Baheti rather than the police? Alternatively, did the police ask Mr Baheti to return the phone to Justice Loya’s family?

11. Does Justice Loya’s family still have the allegedly bloodstained shirt worn by Justice Loya at the time of death which the post-mortem report claims was dry?

12. Is it true that the CBI was only given 15 minutes to argue against the discharge of Amit Shah in subsequent hearings of the case before Justice Loya’s successor in hearing the case, Justice Gosavi, as against three days for the defence lawyers?

13. Who made the decision to announce MS Dhoni’s retirement from test cricket on 30 December 2014? Was this decided by the player or the BCCI and did any external source suggest the specific date?

[Justice Loya’s sister alleges that Justice Loya was informed that if he would deliver the judgment in the case before 30 December 2014, it would not be under focus because another news story would dominate the headlines and distract focus from the judgment]

(Breathe In, Breathe Out: Are you finding it tough t

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Indramal Bai’s suicide – an Institutional Murder


We, the undersigned, express shock and dismay at the mindset and functioning of the police and the state government in the case of Indramal Bai’s suicide. Distraught and with no way out from the police pressures, she was forced to take this extreme step. We believe that it is a clear case of institutional murder of Indramal Bai by M. P. Government.

Indramal Bai was a waste-picker from the Pardhi community. She lived in Gandhi Nagar basti in Bhopal (M.P.) with her two young children. Her husband was living separately for the past 10 years. She was forced to take her life due to continuous harassment for over a week by three policemen named Gajraj, Jadhav and Sandeep from the local Gandhi Nagar Police Station. These policemen were trying to extort money by threatening to register a criminal case of theft against her. They did not relent even after repeated pleas by Indramal of her innocence and her inability to give any money. On the fateful day (Friday, 17th November 2017), the corrupt policemen visited her house thrice. By the end of it, she was so desperate that she poured kerosene on herself. As she caught fire, the two went away saying that these Pardhis can do all the dramas of the world. Indramal’s relatives ran to save her but she already had over 60% burns when admitted to the Hamidia Hospital. She breathed her last in the intervening night of Sunday and Monday (20th November 2017 at 12:40 a.m.)

It has been reported in the media that Indramal Bai, in her dying declaration to the Magistrate, has said that she had accidentally caught fire when she was burning the scrap. We believe that this kind of testimony has been deliberately written to protect the police. The accused policemen were roaming around the hospital and were in the ward itself where Indramal was admitted. We have doubts on how the questions were asked and how the replies were documented. Her family members’ testimonies as well as her own video testimonies available clearly show that she was pushed to take the extreme step of trying to end her life. Moreover, the Investigation Officer made no effort to take Indramal Bai’s testimony again while she was alive.

On 20th Nov, a group of residents of the basti along with members of several progressive groups in the city protested in front of the Madhya Pradesh Police Head QuartersParallelly, an independent fact-finding team met the ADG, Crime against Women, Aruna Mohan Rao and DIG, Sudhir Lad to raise the issue of police apathy and non-registration of FIR, as well as the larger issue of police atrocities on vulnerable groups in the city. While they were assured that justice shall be served, no orders have yet been issued to register an FIR against the accused policemen. The three accused have also not been served suspension orders, and only two of them have been merely line-attached.

Subsequently, residents of the basti and several concerned people staged a non-violent dharna outside Gandhi Nagar police station. They demanded that an FIR must be registered against the three policemen whose illegal, inhuman and cruel act prima facie forced Indramal Bai to take the extreme step. The police officers said that they will decide the course of action once the police enquiry into the incident is completed. Thus, even the basic right to file an FIR was not heeded despite the fact that it was the third day of filing the complaint.

Registering an FIR is a constitutional right of every citizen. In the recent gruesome gang-rape case of the 19 year old girl, the Bhopal District Court has clearly ordered that the police station cannot refuse registering of FIR under any circumstances and no excuse can be tolerated in reference to non-registration of FIR. The Gandhi Nagar police’s excuse that they will register the FIR only after the investigation is completed is a violation of the Constitution.

Though people were sitting in a peaceful way and negotiating with the police functionaries present on the spot, when ASP Sameer Yadav reached the site, he started manhandling the activists and provoked the people. He pushed Alok Agrawal, State Convener for Aam Aadmi Party and pushing him on the ground, told the police to arrest him. As this unfolded, stone pelting started from both sides. Even while present sangathan activists and family members of the victim tried to calm the people, the police recklessly carried out a violent lathi-charge seriously injuring many people.  

The arrest of Alok Agarwal, while demanding for an FIR registration within the thana premises, is a completely illegal act. Refusal to give bail because of political pressure is an illegal interference of the government in legal matters of the court.

Madhya Pradesh government has adopted a silent stand on the institutional murder of Indramal Bai. The inaction of police functionaries on a constitutional demand of registering of an FIR shows the deplorable condition of the state we are living in today.

We are forced to say that the police response in the matter has been not only unlawful but gravely insensitive and cruel towards a community which has already been violated for decades.  We are also shocked and pained to see the callous attitude of the police towards crimes against women. Moreover to protect the illegal and deplorable actions of its own men, the police is resorting to defaming Indramal by spreading news in media of past cases against her. This situation will have to change.

We demand that the state government should –

1.      Register n FIR against the three accused police personnel and take strong, immediate and exemplary action in this incident,

2.      Take action against police officers involved in suppressing and delaying justice by not taking timely testimonies from Indramal Bai and her relatives.

3.      Initiate a high-level enquiry in the matter of the institutional murder of Indramal Bai

4.      Release Alok Agarwal immediately, without any conditions

5.      Ensure human rights and democratic rights of Pardhis and other denotified tribes in the state. The repeated violations of rights of these communities in the hands of the police need to be handled firmly and the government has to take steps beyond tokenism and ensure lawful conduct of its functionaries.


Aranya, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Bindas Bol Group, Centre for Social Justice, Eka, Forum for Justice, Gharelu Kaamgar Mahila Adhikar Sangh, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, Jan Pahal, Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, Muskaan, National Federation for Indian Women, Samta, Shahri Mazdoor Sangathan, Shiksha Adhikar Manch, Bhopal, Vikalp Sanskritik Manch, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression, M.P. and many more

Contact – 9425917757 and 9407549240

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Dissenting judgments ensure that the Constitution is a living, breathing document

We must celebrate the tradition of dissent that continues to flourish at the Supreme Court. A dissent is not only an “appeal to a future intelligence”, but a sign of what is possible: if one judge can be convinced today, then tomorrow, perhaps two, or three, or even four might be.

A dissent is a crucial reaffirmation of fundamental rights and constitutional values at the moment when the Supreme Court, the guardian of the Constitution, appears to have abandoned them
A dissent is a crucial reaffirmation of fundamental rights and constitutional values at the moment when the Supreme Court, the guardian of the Constitution, appears to have abandoned them (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“A dissent in the court of last resort,” wrote Justice HR Khanna, quoting the great American Judge, Charles Evan Hughes, “is an appeal to the brooding spirit of the law, to the intelligence of a future day when a later decision may possibly correct the error into which the dissenting judge believes the court to have been betrayed.” But this was no ordinary time, and Justice Khanna’s dissent no ordinary dissent. In 1976, at the peak of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, four Judges of the Supreme Court had just held that even the right to life was stood suspended during a state of Emergency. The lone dissenting voice in the notorious Habeas Corpus Case was Justice Khanna’s. It cost him the Chief Justice-ship of India, and the rest of his judicial career.

Three months ago, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that privacy is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution, and in doing so, also held that Habeas Corpus had been wrongly decided, and that Justice Khanna had been correct. Forty-one years later, the intelligence of a future day had finally prevailed.

In his concurring opinion in the Privacy Judgment, Justice Rohinton Nariman spoke of the “three great dissents” in Indian constitutional history. Apart from Justice Khanna’s dissent in Habeas Corpus, there was Chief Justice Subba Rao’s dissent in Kharak Singh vs State of UP (1962), holding against five of his brother judges that the Constitution guaranteed a fundamental right to privacy, and that police surveillance regulations were entirely unconstitutional. The third was Justice Fazl Ali’s dissent in AK Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950), one of the earliest judgments of the Supreme Court. The Gopalan majority had held Article 21 of the Constitution, which stipulated that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”, provided only a narrow protection against lawless infractions of bodily integrity and personal freedom by the State. Not so, said Justice Fazl Ali, arguing instead that the phrase “procedure established by law” required that deprivations of life or personal liberty must conform to standards that were themselves just, fair, and reasonable.

Justice Fazl Ali’s dissent in AK Gopalan became law two decades later in the bank nationalisation case, while Justice Subba Rao’s dissent in Kharak Singh had to wait 55 years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, each of the “three great dissents” were on vital questions of civil rights. The majority judges ruled to preserve, entrench, and even expand State power against the individual, while the dissenting opinions sought to constrain what the State could do to the individual and to her freedom. To the judges who wrote those dissents, it must have been a lonely enterprise, disagreeing with their colleagues on the bench; and it must have carried more than a hint of futility, to write for an imagined future audience which might never exist. None of the three judges lived to see their dissents resurrected, accepted, and even celebrated.

But that is exactly why we must celebrate the tradition of dissent that matured and continues to flourish in the Supreme Court. While the majority opinion lays down the law, a dissent allows us to imagine an alternative future. A dissent is not only an “appeal to a future intelligence”, but a sign of what is possible: if one judge can be convinced today, then tomorrow, perhaps two, or three, or even four might be. And, in cases such as Habeas Corpus, AK Gopalan, and Kharak Singh, a dissent is a crucial reaffirmation of fundamental rights and constitutional values at the moment when the Supreme Court, the guardian of the Constitution, appears to have abandoned them.

And that is why, perhaps, even those dissents that are not resurrected nonetheless remain etched in memory, often more strikingly than the majority opinions. Chief Justice Sinha’s dissent in the Dawoodi Bohra Case (1962), a passionate defence of the individual’s right not to be arbitrarily excommunicated from his community, is still a tour de force, drawing together the Constitutional prohibition of untouchability and ideas of cultural pluralism. Justice Lakshmanan’s dissent in Acharya Avadhuta (2004), allowing the Ananda Margi sect to perform the tandav dance, is perhaps the best defence in our constitutional history of the right of individuals and communities to determine for themselves what their religion means to them, and demands of them. And so it goes.

In Jewish cultural history, there is a tradition of prophets who appear in times of desperate need, and warn their people that they are walking on a wrong path, one that will only end in ruin and devastation. Our constitutional history has had its own share of prophets, who have expressed themselves eloquently and powerfully through their dissenting opinions. The dissenting tradition, is perhaps, the most important tradition that we have, indispensable to keeping the Constitution alive, and a thing of flesh, blood, and dreams.

Gautam Bhatia is an advocate in the Supreme Court

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NHRC directions in case of newborn’s death after falling into dustbin in Maharani Hospital Jagdalpur

JSA had submitted a complaint to NHRC, along with the fact finding report of Human Right Law Network and all the media articles related to the case.of Soni Baghel

The Demands were

i) Monetary compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to the family and a written apology by the State Government;
ii) Registration of FIR under section 304 IPC against the doctor and nurse on duty for their criminal medical negligence;
iii)Outcome of the enquiry/action undertaken by the State Government be made public;
iv) State Govt. to set up a Grievance Redressal Scheme where such victims can complain;
v) State Govt. to take adequate steps to ensure quality health care at all Government hospitals/Centres.

The state government in its August 2017 response to the NHRC quoted the enquiry report of the Additional Collector, Jagdalpur that stated, among other things, that the hospital management is responsible for the child falling into the dustbin.

The NHRC direction states: “Commission has perused the above report. The case presents a very sorry state of affairs. The State Government has not intimated what action, if any, has been taken on the report of the SDM which makes a pathetic reading. This is a clear case of gross violation of the human rights of the lady who had to undergo such pain and neglect whilst being in immense labour pains. On what counts the suspension of Doctor Jadhav has been revoked and what action has been or is being taken against the two staff nurses and one Ayah for their utter dereliction of duties is not intimated. Nothing has been stated as to what preventive measures have been or are being taken to improve the conditions of the Maternity Centre of the Maharani Hospital and per se all such centres across the State. When the SDM made certain recommendations, appropriate follow up ought to have been taken and intimated to the Commission. Let a notice under section 18 of the PHR Act be issued to Principal Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Chhattisgarh to show cause as to why an amount of Rs.1,00,000/- as monetary compensation be not paid to the lady victim for serious violation of her human rights at the hands of doctor the and two staff nurses on duty in the Maharani Hospital. Action taken on the report of the SDM against the criminal negligence of medical personnel be also intimated. It should also be informed as to what action has been taken by the State Government to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future. Response within four weeks”.

 The case details below


Soni Baghel (yellow sari) and Champa Kashyap (green sari), her mitanin at home in Billori village, Jagdalpur district, six months after Soni’s baby died.

Billori, Chhattisgarh: As she went into labour, Soni Baghel, who lives in one of Chhattisgarh’s poorest districts, wasn’t especially worried. She had delivered two babies earlier without any problem.  By her side, in the state-run health hospital was Champa, her mitanin (local women entrusted by the government to ensure the welfare of women and children in the village; they are paid  Rs 600 per healthy pregnancy).

When Soni was in the delivery room, Champa began to panic.  Nurses and doctors, she says, ignored pleas to stop talking on their phones or to each other and attend to her patient.

Champa says she began massaging Soni’s head to ease the excruciating pain. And before she could intervene, a baby girl emerged from Soni’s womb.  Without a pair of hands to receive her,  the baby’s umbilical cord snapped;  she slipped straight into a dustbin at the foot of the delivery table with a heart-stopping thud.

Champa says that the screams that followed brought a stream of doctors. They quickly lifted the baby out, and promised that nothing would happen to the child. She also says that after they cleaned and swathed the infant and brought her back for her first feed, the baby was bleeding profusely from her nose. She was taken away by the doctors and placed in the nursery, and helped to breathe through a tube. And 10 days later, the infant died.

Entrance to the Maharani Medical College General Ward.
Entrance to the Maharani Medical College General Ward where Soni’s baby died.

The lack of doctors and nurses, the ensuing medical negligence, the unavailability of beds or sanitation facilities at government hospitals and medical colleges is a grimly familiar story.

But in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, the crisis is even more acute with doctors unwilling to work in a conflict zone.

Jagdalpur is not in the heart of  where police and paramilitary forces are engaged in a bloody and violent war with Maoist insurgents.

Sulakshana Nandi who runs the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, a non-profit healthcare organization in Raipur, says Soni’s tragedy has two equally reprehensible aspects- while the charge is of medical negligence, the dismissiveness of the hospital when she was in the final phase of labour indicates a basic lack of respect towards poor tribal women in the region.

Maternity Wing, Mahrani Medical College, Jagdalpur
Maternity Wing at Mahrani Medical College in Jagdalpur.

In Jagdalpur, Champa, furious with doctors who are trying to pass off their callousness as the mitanin’s carelessness, is trying to make the hospital accept its role.  Based on her statement and the testimony to the police of Soni’s husband, a fact-finding team that met the parties involved including doctors has said the  hospital is guilty of gross negligence.

According to the report, submitted to the Human Rights Law Network, when the baby was brought to be nursed minutes after being born, she had trouble breathing  and was bleeding from her nose, after the delivery, the doctors allegedly told Soni and Champa to clean the table and wash the blood off the floor.

The report also says complaints of rampant corruption and inhumane treatment of expecting women in the gynecological ward have been regularly flagged by both patients and the mitanin who accompany the women. For example, tribal communities have a tradition of burying the umbilical cord in a place of their choosing, and knowing this, the report says, families are made to pay a bribe of  Rs 500 for it.

On the basis of their report, the the Law Network, which is a collective of social activists and lawyers, wrote to the government urging action against the hospital and charging the concerned staff with culpable homicide.

That was in June. No action has been taken.  Senior hospital officials we spoke to said  the 10-day-old died from routine complications and infections including pneumonia, and denied any negligence on the hospital’s part. Champa says she has been harassed and threatened for pursuing the complaint.

Soni Baghel and her second born daughter at her home in Billori village.
Soni Baghel and her second born daughter at her home in Billori village.

Just days ago at Soni’s home in Billori, a cool breeze meant her entire family was sitting outside. Her two children were clamouring around her as she cleaned rice for the afternoon meal. Her mother-in-law, who speaks no Hindi, smiled at us widely and curiously.  Champa, who had taken us to meet Soni, was chatting with her former patient’s husband.

It is these sort of voiceless and largely powerless tribals who travel for basic medical attention to hospitals like the one where Soni lost her baby.  And without intervention, supervision and an investigation of their complaints,  their health -sometimes, their lives -remains at risk.

After Delivering, She Says She Had To Wipe Her Blood Off Hospital Floor

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Rule that Martyrs widow must wed bro-in-law for award cash scrapped #Vaw



Martyrs’ widows don’t need to marry bro-in-law for benefits

In a major relief to widows of martyrs, the Defence Ministry on Tuesday decided to do away with a condition that they have to marry the deceased’s brother for being eligible to receive gallantry awards monetary allowance. The Ministry has now decided that the widow can now marry any one and will still get all the ues, including allowance, till her death.

Terming it as a major step to remove a “regressive” rule, officials said as per the existing norms, a widow is not entitled to the allowance and other benefits if she remarried or died. However, if she marries the brother of her deceased husband and “lives a communal life with the living eligible heir,” the woman are entitled for family pension.

The Defence Ministry in a statement said it decided to scrap the present criteria after several representations to remove the condition of the widow’s remarriage with the late husband’s brother for continuation of the monetary allowance.

The revised condition states that the allowance shall be admissible to the recipient of the award and on his death to his widow lawfully married by a valid ceremony. The widow will continue to receive the allowance until her death.

Elaborating upon the earlier rule, officials said in order to provide enough financial support to parents of the martyr, the widow remarried the brother of her late husband. However, with fast changing society and joint family making way for unitary family, the present norm was giving rise to several complications. They included tension within the family, and, in many cases, ill treatment of the widows.

Also, due to this rule, many war widows, whose husbands were awarded gallantry medals and others who died fighting terrorists, were denied their dues. One such case was that of Janak Anand, whose first husband Captain SK Sehgal, was killed during the 1971 war with Pakistan and awarded Vir Chakara. She later married another Army officer and was denied all the allowances.

After several petitions to the authorities, the woman then approached Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) which in September this year questioned the validity of the rule. The Tribunal also said on the one hand, the President of India confers the gallantry award to the woman as a mark of respect to her late husband and on the other such rules denying her monetary allowances amount to humiliation.

Recipients of the gallantry awards are entitled to the monetary allowance as per the letter of 1972 of the Defence Ministry superseded by letter in 1995, which have been revised from time to time. As per the existing condition for grant of monetary allowance, the allowance shall be admissible to the recipient of the award and on his death to his widow lawfully married by a valid ceremony.

Moreover, the old order stipulated that the widow will continue to receive the allowance until her re-marriage or death. The payment of the allowance will, however, be continued to a widow who re-marries the late husband’s brother and lives a communal life with the living heir eligible for family pension. A gallantry medal recipient gets monetary allowance from the Army besides the State from which he hails. This allowance, however, varies from State to State.

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Mumbai- Parents of autistic student detained in Std 9 move HC

Teenager Out Of School Since March

Mumbai: After knocking at the doors of the education department and then the state child rights commission, the parents of a 16-year-old boy who is suffering from autism and has been detained in Std IX have filed a petition in the Bombay high court as the child continues to be out of school since the start of the academic year.

Astudent of an ICSE school in Juhu, the parents had written to the education department and the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights after he was allegedly detained in Std IX and was being forced to either repeat the year or leave. The parents had alleged that they were not allowed to see the boy’s final exam report card on the basis of which the school took a re-examination that the child failed.

The commission closed the case for final recommendation on September 27. “Members of the commission observed that they would instruct the school to admit him to Std X during the final hearing. We have been waiting for orders from the commission. Until then, the school will not take back our son and allow him to appear for Std X exams,” said the boy’s mother. The boy last attended school in March.

In their petition, the parents have prayed that the HC pass orders to allow the child to attend Std X and direct the commission to pronounce a final order. The petition is scheduled to be heard in the high court on Thursday. “He is preparing for Std X exams at home but whether or not he will be able to appear for the exam is still uncertain. The exam is only a couple of months away,” said the mother. A N Tripathi, secretary of the commission, said the order is under process.

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BJP to Call 50 Magicians From Maharashtra to Campaign For Gujarat Elections #HaHanews

BJP Banking on Magic For Victory in Gujarat Polls

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: BJP to Call 50 Magicians From Maharashtra to Campaign For it in Poll-Bound State

New Delhi, October 30:In a bid to woo voters ahead of Gujarat Assembly elections, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to call around 50 magicians from Maharashtra to campaign for it in the poll-bound state.

Talking to Dainik Bhaskar, magician S Lal from Nagpur, said that they organise magic shows during the election campaign in Assembly, Lok Sabha and Municipal polls. “For Gujarat polls, development will be the main theme. We will aware voters about the development and ask them to vote for the BJP through our shows,” Lal informed Bhaskar. (Also Read: Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: Congress, Patidar Leaders To Meet to Discuss Reservation Today)

He added that special magic shows will be organised where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders will address public gatherings. “After South Gujarat and Saurashtra, we will organise shows in Central Gujarat from December 8,” Lal said.

Meanwhile, war of words escalated between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress over allegations levelled by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, linking Congress leader Ahmed Patel to an alleged Islamic State terrorist. Earlier on October 25, the Gujarat anti-terrorism squad (ATS) arrested two suspected ISIS operatives Kasim Timberwala and Aabed Mirza. One of the nabbed terrorists Kasim was employed with a hospital, associated with Patel, as a technician.

Assembly elections in Gujarat will be held on two phases December 9 for 89 assembly seats and December 14 for 93 seats. Results will be announced for all the 182 seats on December 18 along with Himachal Pradesh polls

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Jagtar Singh Johal: Mastermind of killings or Punjab government’s NRI scapegoat? #FreeJaggiNow

His supporters in the UK fear that he has been targeted for the magazine he runs highlighting the Sikh genocide of 1984.

 By Jaspreet OberoiMon, 20 Nov 2017

Every time I sat down to pen this piece, I was stopped by a voice within. It shouted to me:

“You will be labelled a Khalistani. You will be abused, slandered and trolled by thousands. Your loyalties will be questioned, upbringing will be targeted and you might even be threatened with murder.”

I finally stood up and shouted back. The story started two weeks ago when Jagtar Singh Johal, a UK citizen, was arrested by the Punjab Police. He was travelling with his newly-wedded wife and a female cousin when their car was apprehended by plain-clothed policemen and Jagtar was forcibly put into a van with a sack on his head.

The incident happened around Jalandhar and his wife was told nothing except that he is being taken to Faridkot. Jagtar is a UK-born Sikh man with no immediate family in Punjab, except his grandaunt who lives in the ancestral village. He was on a visit to the state in order to tie the marital knot which he did with much fanfare on October 18.

With the dramatic arrest, the ordeal had just begun. Jagtar wasn’t taken to Faridkot but instead to Bagha Purana and it took days for his kin to locate him. To add to it, there was no FIR filed against his name and nobody, including his lawyers, was allowed to meet him.

When he was finally presented in court, it was told that he was being held on the grounds of financing the purchase of weapons used in the killing of prominent Hindu leaders in Punjab.

The same day, Jagtar alleged that he was being brutally tortured by the police through electrocution of his ear lobes, nipples and genitals, and was being coerced into a confession. On the other side, the police raided his in-laws’ house and harassed his wife’s family for multiple days.

They took the male members of his in-laws’ family into detention and allegedly asked questions such as “when did you last go to Pakistan” and “what do you think about the idea of Khalistan”. The police also paid a visit to his grandaunt and, after questioning her, disconnected her landline phone – her only means of staying connected with the family.

The Sikh population in the UK has taken the episode seriously and there have been widespread protests to put pressure on the nation to intervene.

Earlier, the police weren’t allowing British consulate officers to meet Jagtar, but after 175 UK MPs came forward in his support, the officers were finally given permission.

The behaviour of the investigators has been strikingly notorious all the way. As an example, they did not allow Jagtar to retain the warm clothing that his lawyers and family had brought for him. His supporters in the UK fear that he has been targeted for the magazine he runs highlighting the Sikh genocide of 1984 and amid claims that he was “influencing the youth through social media”.

What is worth noting is that the police are yet to ascertain what they want to charge Jagtar with. Over the days, they have come up with different stories.

An officer who did not want to be named told newspapers that the police had been keeping an eye on his Facebook profile for long and “we visited every person who had made a comment on fiery posts of Johal endorsing Khalistan and other issues of radicals. Some key radicals were zeroed in on, and by using our sources in the UK we kept on tracking Johal’s links with other groups. It was found that he was actively associated with the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) and knew some pro-Khalistani forces in Pakistan as well”.

In another account, the police mentioned that they are finding clues to ascertain whether Johal was aware that the money, which he was sending through hawala, was to be used for buying weapons for the killings or he was just made a scapegoat for using hawala money to park his business profits.

As Indians we are not startled much by such sagas and this seems just another story of police excess. What is worrying though is the stereotypical trend that has started to emerge in Punjab since the last year.

As many would know, before the 2017 state elections, the AAP had a strong wave and was poised to sweep Punjab as predicted by pollsters left and right. To counter some of the NRI support for AAP, Congress’s CM contender Capt Amarinder Singh was supposed to visit Canada but was legally blocked by a Sikh organisation of North America.

He was so miffed that he vowed not to ask for NRI support and threatened them with not letting them ever visit Punjab if he came to power.

The strategists in the Congress came up with the idea of using the blockage to their advantage. They started pitching AAP as a party funded by Khalistani NRIs, and as a result won handsomely on the urban and Hindu vote.

Had it stopped at just being an election strategy, it wouldn’t have been troublesome but since then, the Captain has not been willing to meet Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan, has spoken openly against newly-elected Canadian NDP chief Jagmeet Singh and openly labelled the Canadian government and its several ministers as pro-Khalistan.

In Jagtar’s case, through the Punjab Police DGP, the state government has attacked the British government for being complicit in Khalistani terrorist activities. The exact statement was: “We have enough leads with us that the British government was aware of such plots being run on their land and the mingling of ISI sleuths with the Sikh extremists in that country.”

The fear I want to express here is about the subsequent alienation of not only the Punjabi NRIs but of responsible and developed countries worldwide. In his quest to appease the specific radical Hindu base, the Captain might end up pushing Punjab back to the black days, intentionally or otherwise.

As a layman, it is hard for me to believe that a mastermind of numerous killings will come all the way from UK to India, endangering his freedom, when he was anyway getting his plan executed comfortably from UK.

On the other hand, it is relatively easier for me to see this as an attempt of the current dispensation to serve their narrative, but maybe it is just me.

If for a moment we do believe the story being projected by the police, even then the treatment being meted out to Jagtar is uncalled for. Would the police and administration have behaved in the same manner had it been a white guy from the UK?

Ponder over this thought and you would understand why all of this is happening to Jaggi, the name Jagtar’s friends know him by back home, in Scotland.

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732 Million Indians Have No Access To Toilet, At Risk Of Diseases


“When I got pregnant, it was hard to walk to the field to defecate as the path was not safe. My mother-in-law used to accompany me because I needed help sitting down and getting up.”–Maheshwari (25), Raichur, India. India has the highest number of people, 732 million, with no access to toilets and women and girls are among the worst affected.


India, the world’s second-largest country by population, has the highest number of people (732 million) without access to toilets, according to a new report.


The report by WaterAid, titled Out Of Order:The State of the World’s Toilets 2017, further stated that 355 million women and girls lack access to a toilet. If they were to stand in a line, the queue could circle the Earth more than four times.


Source: WaterAid
Note: Data as of 2015


India’s low ranking on the sanitation index is despite the changes brought by the government’s Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission. Launched in October 2014, it increased the country’s sanitation coverage from 39% to 65% by November 2017, according to government data. In this period, 52 million household toilets were built in rural India.


The cleanliness campaign has reduced the proportion of people defecating in the open by 40%, meaning more than 100 million people now use toilets, according to the WaterAid report.


India also ranks sixth among the top ten nations working to reduce open defecation and improving access to basic sanitation. The percentage of population without access to at least basic sanitation fell from 78.3% in 2000 to 56% in 2015, according to the report.


Diarrhoeal diseases kill 60,700 Indian children each year


Each year, 60,700 children under five years die from diarrhoeal diseases, the WaterAid report said.


Diarrhoea remains the second leading cause of death in Indian children under five years, killing an estimated 321 children every day in 2015, as IndiaSpend reported on July 29, 2017, based on a World Health Organization factsheet.


Hookworms, which can spread through open defecation, cause diarrhoea, anaemia and weight loss in women, according to the report. These problems are linked to low birth weight and slow child growth–38% of children in India under five are stunted, according to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-16, (NFHS-4) data.


Indian states with poor access to sanitation report high incidence of diarrhoeal diseases. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Chhattisgarh had the highest rate of mortality among children under five years of age, higher stunting (low height-for-age) rates and higher prevalence of diarrhoea due to poor sanitation, as IndiaSpend reported on April 26, 2017, based on NFHS-4.


States With Higher Access To Improved Sanitation
Had Lower Prevalence Of Anaemia, Diarrhoea

Access To Improved Sanitation: Top 5 States
State Households with improved sanitation Prevalence of diarrhoea* Non-pregnant women who are anaemic** Pregnant women who are anaemic**
Kerala 98.10% 3.40% 34.60% 22.60%
Sikkim 88.20% 1.50% 35.20% 23.60%
Mizoram 83.50% 7.60% 24.60% 26.60%
Punjab 81.50% 6.60% 54% 42%
Haryana 79.20% 7.70% 63.15 55%
India 48.40% 9.20% 53.10% 50.30%


Access To Improved Sanitation: Bottom 5 States
State Households with improved sanitation Prevalence of diarrhoea* Non-pregnant women who are anaemic** Pregnant women who are anaemic**
Jharkhand 24.40% 6.90% 65.30% 62.60%
Bihar 25.20% 10.40% 60.40% 58.30%
Odisha 29.40% 9.80% 51.20% 47.60%
Chhattisgarh 32.70% 9.10% 47.30% 41.50%
Madhya Pradesh 33.70% 9.50% 52.40% 54.60%
India 48.40% 9.20% 53.10% 50.30%

Source: National Family Health Survey 2015-16
*reported in two weeks preceding the survey **Among women aged 15-49 years


The tables above show the top five and bottom five states based on the percentage of households with improved sanitation, according to NFHS-4. States with higher percentage of improved sanitation have lower levels of anaemia among women (both pregnant and non-pregnant). These states also reported fewer cases of diarrhoea than the national average.


For example, Kerala, which had the highest percentage of households with improved sanitation (98.1%)–the national average was 48.4%–also had the lowest prevalence of diarrhoea (3.4%) and the lowest percentage of women with anaemia (22.6%).


Bihar, with only 25% households using improved sanitation, had the highest prevalence of diarrhoea (10.2%) and the highest percentage of anaemic pregnant women (58.3%).


For women, high risk of illiteracy, harassment


Apart from poor health, lack of toilets means that more than 1.1 billion women and girls globally get limited education and face harassment. In rural India, high dropout rates and non-enrolment among girls can be attributed to absence of toilet facilities, as IndiaSpendreported on July 19, 2017.


In rural India, 23% of girls have listed menstruation as the chief reason for dropping out of school. As many as 28% of them said they do not go to school during their period because they lack clean and affordable protection, as IndiaSpend reported on June 19, 2017.


Sanitation policies should cover the needs of those who are vulnerable, said Raman VR, head of policy at WaterAid India.


“Adolescent girls and women want facilities in which they can manage their periods safely and hygienically,” he said, “Pregnant women need easily accessible and usable toilets, and the elderly or people with disability require toilets with design features that help overcome the physical constraints they typically face.”


(Salve is an analyst at IndiaSpend.)

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Maharashtra doesn’t spend a single paisa from allocated Rs10 crore for alleviating malnutrition in children #WTFnews

The Maharashtra government has allocated Rs10 crore per year for alleviation of malnutrition in children, however the state has not spent a single paisa from this over the past two years, reveals a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. In fact, during FY2015-16, there was not even a budgetary allocation for alleviation of malnutrition.
Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner had filed the RTI application seeking details of budgetary allocation and expenditure for malnourished children in Maharashtra. He had asked how many malnourished children are there in the state as per last count and one before that.
As per the reply, Mr Gandhi received, almost 10% or 6,29,057 children out of the total 61.11 lakh are under nourished or malnourished. The govt allocated Rs159 per children in 2017 to alleviate malnutrition, compared with Rs162 a year before.
Mr Gandhi also asked about the amount budgeted for the current and past financial year for alleviation of malnutrition including the amount for energy dense nutritious food (EDNF), and the amount spent in the past and current financial year. The response he received was shocking.
During FY2015-16, there was no budget for alleviation of malnutrition. During 2016-17, the state government allocated Rs10.50 crore, but spent nothing. During the current FY2017-18, there is a provision of Rs10 crore, but during the past eight months, there is no expenditure and the fund is lying unutilised.
“Perhaps they (the Govt) realise that at a paltry Rs160 per year per child, nothing meaningful can be done (to alleviate malnutrition). Hence the expenditure on alleviation of malnutrition in children is ZERO!” Mr Gandhi said.
In October 2017, the Bombay High Court had pulled up the state government for the continued deaths of children owing to malnutrition questioning if the schemes implemented by the state to improve the situation was achieving its purpose and reaching the tribal areas.

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