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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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Veteran Socialist leader and former Maharashtra minister Bhai Vaidya passes away #RIP

 

Vaidya was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer at the Poona Hospital.

Veteran socialist leader Bhai Vaidya passed away on Monday evening.
Veteran socialist leader Bhai Vaidya passed away on Monday evening.(HT File Photo)

Veteran socialist leader Bhai Vaidya, also a former home minister of Maharashtra and president of the recently relaunched Socialist Party of India, passed away on Monday evening following a prolonged illness, said doctors treating him. He was 89 years old.

Vaidya was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer at the Poona Hospital. Abhijit Vaidya, Bhai Vaidya’s son had earlier said, “He complained of pain in the abdomen a month back and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was attending programmes and protests even five days ago when his health got worse and consequently we moved him to the hospital.”

Born on June 22, 1928, at Dapode village in Pune district, Vaidya began his journey in activism and politics as a 14-year-old taking part in the freedom struggle. He later became the mayor of Pune.

Kumar Saptarshi, chief of Yuva Kranti Dal (Yukrand), said, “Passing away of Bhai Vaidya is a major loss to the society. I have been fortunate to have known him and worked with him for very long. He was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts. He worked extensively towards improving the condition of backward people. He introduced the backward class to true secularism.”

Social activist Subhash Ware said, “Although we were expecting this news since the last four days, it still is very difficult for us to accept the fact that he is no more. Bhai Vaidya’s death has created a major vacuum in the state.”

His contribution to the field of education is unparalleled, added Ware.

Over a political career spanning 60 years, Bhai Vaidya was elected multiple times as a corporator for the Pune Municipal Corporation. He became the mayor of Pune and was the first president of the All India Mayors Association. He was also minister of state for home and is remembered for many reforms in the police department, especially for changing the police uniform to full pants. He was Pune’s mayor in 1974-75 and state home minister in 1978.

He also made a significant contribution to the freedom struggle. He led the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement for a unified Maharashtra in 1957 and was arrested during Emergency in 1977. He has authored books on socialism, the Mandal commission and educational reforms among others.

Vaidya also formed unions of unorganised workers in the state. He is the recipient of several awards such as Goa Krantidin, Moulana Sadbhavna, Samata Bhushan and Mahatma Phule. He always remained a staunch socialist and progressive ideologue. Even during the infamous Emergency, he remained defiant as the mayor and organised a 20,000-strong rally at Shaniwarwada and was arrested. He has been in jail 28 times.

 https://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/veteran-socialist-leader-bhai-vaidya-passes-away-in-pune/story-4yOVN0uUx4RqdZfv0Va79I.html

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Mumbai -Second sexual harassment case registered against Angel Investor Mahesh Murthy #Vaw

 

According to the second FIR, the alleged incident took place in 2004 when Murthy allegedly touched the complainant inappropriately inside a coffee shop in Bandra

 

Police have registered a second case of molestation against Mahesh Murthy, a prominent angel investor and co-founder of venture capital firm Seedfund, after a 41-year-old woman’s complaint that he kissed her without consent at a Bandra restaurant a decade ago.

The fresh charge follows his arrest in February over a Delhi-based woman’s accusation that he harassed her with obscene language during calls through WhatsApp. He was granted bail later.

According to an officer at Bandra police station, where the new case was registered, the complainant met Murthy at an advertising event in Mumbai in 2004.

“She was a young intern then and met the accused for the first time. After a few days, they met at a restaurant, where Murthy kissed her on her lips without her consent,” said the officer, who doesn’t want to be named.

He said the “woman didn’t know what to do … She was too young and didn’t meet him thereafter”, but the anger and pain bottled up inside her came out when she saw the first complaint of sexual harassment against Murthy.

“She approached Bandra police station and explained what she went through more than a decade ago at a restaurant.”

In November, the National Commission for Women had written to the Maharashtra director general of police regarding Murthy’s use of “objectionable, derogatory, sexual remarks and obscene signs on social media”.

It had also sent various media reports about other women who had made similar complaints. “Even though Murthy has allegedly already posted an apology for some of his posts, the NCW, in its letter to the Maharashtra DGP, requested for the DGP’s personal involvement,” the commission had said. “Such acts not only amount to outraging the modesty of women but also attract action for cyber crime.”

Police in Mumbai’s Khar had registered a case against Murthy on December 30 based on a complaint filed before the National Commission for Women. He was charged with stalking and “outraging the modesty” of women. He was also charged under the Information Technology Act. He was arrested on February 9, but granted bail soon after.

In April 2017, several complaints of sexual harassment surfaced against the investor, with some dating back to the early 2000s. Murthy had also written a post in an attempt to justify himself.

Indian express and HT

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India – ‘March for Secularism’ from Chennai to Kanayakumari 21st to 30th March #mustshare

The march will involve a caravan physically designed to invoke secular anti-caste, resistive and rationalist traditions of the modern Tamil era and of earlier literary and archaeological sources. A number of progressive student leaders, students’ groups and secular organisations are eager to be a part of this caravan. We are also talking to a large number of well known activists, personalities, from the fields of art and cinema, as well as individual politicians committed to a secular democratic cause from outside of Tamilnadu, who will be able to extend their solidarity.

Starting from Chennai the Caravan would travel around 2400km, across 49 districts and 21 major cities, participating in public gatherings and more than 40 Rallies.The Caravan would stop at around 52 points on its route from Chennai to Kanyakumari.

It will depart from Chennai on March 21st and arrive in Coimbatore on the 24th .There will be a grand public meeting in Coimbatore the same day which will be in solidarity with Bhagat Singh‘s memorial anniversary. This public meeting will take Bhagat Singh’s message (based on his letters prior to his martyrdom) to a wide audience of students and youngsters.
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The caravan will then proceed to Madurai, Rajapalayam, Tirunelveli, Rameshwaram and finally to Kanyakumari on the 10th day. All along its route, the caravan will speak to 20,000 students, more than 50,000 struggling workers, farmers in the Cauvery delta region and fishworkers of the south eastern coast, inviting them to rally together against the fascist forces threatening to permanently poison the democratic basis for struggle.

Through continuous pamphleteering, institutional campaigning and targeted public events, the caravan will expressly stand for the protection of and justice for minority communities, for putting an end to their humiliation, and for an alternative progressive agenda of dignified jobs/livelihoods, education and healthcare for all.
A people’s pledge shall be administered on all these points by community leaders and organisers. Tamil Nadu has always been close on the heels of Gujarat and Maharashtra in terms of an alarmingly disproportionate number of Muslim undertrials in prison and detainees in lockups.
Hence, wherever possible, the caravan will make its way to riot hit areas, to areas where the Sangh Parivar or its casteist allies have been trying to leave a mark, reaching out to communities living under pervasive intimidation, State terror or Islamophobic repression.
**************************************
In solidarity and hope
March for Secularism
Ph. no.: 09384632023, 9444689572

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India- A totally disappointing Union Budget 2018 from the Disability perspective

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has issued the following statement:

The Union Budget 2018-19 comes as a big disappointment to the disabled community in the country. It seems as though the disabled do not figure in the Finance Minister’s “fast growth economy” trajectory.

The passage of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (RPD Act) had ushered in great hopes and expectations among the disabled community who continue to be on the margins. However, the miserly outlays for the various positive provisions contained in the Act point to the utter lack of sincerity on the part of the government to implement its provisions.

The total outlay for the department for the empowerment of persons with disabilities shows a marginal increase of 215 crores as compared to last year. The allocation towards Schemes for the Implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA) is a mere Rs. 300 crores. This includes provision for the much touted “Accessible India” campaign under which the target set is for making 600 public buildings accessible, 600 official websites accessible and making transport systems accessible among others. It is another matter that the campaign excludes from its ambit the vast majority of the rural areas.

As for railways, the last few budgets have seen grand announcements being made of rail transport and stations being made accessible for all including the disabled. Given the number of unfortunate incidents reported in the media it was expected that the government would respond adequately. While there is no mention about the progress in the implementation of the announcement made last year of providing lifts and escalators in 500 railway stations, this year the Finance Minister has announced that escalators would be provided at 600 stations having a footfall of 25000 and above. Lifts which can be used by the disabled do not find mention in his speech. Also missing mention is about fulfilling the commitment made in the 2016-17 budget to provide accessible toilets at all railway stations.

Further, no new scheme has been announced or any substantial increase in allocation for existing schemes been made despite the mandate of the RPD Act. There has been no upward revision in the amount of disability pension and it remains stagnant at Rs. 300/- for the past many years.

While the Finance Minister lauded the outcomes of various insurance schemes, and also announced the launching of the National Health Protection Scheme, ironically the central government has not been releasing money for the Swavlamban Health Insurance Scheme launched in 2015 for persons with disabilities through the New India Assurance Company Limited. The insurance company has now stopped collecting premium from beneficiaries. It is also disturbing that even while talking of health care the Finance Minister maintained complete silence on Mental Health. This despite the enactment of the Mental Health Care Act in 2017.
Unfortunately, in the absence of disaggregated data on allocations across various ministries for disability a clearer picture does not emerge. This has been one of the key demands of the disability sector.

It becomes abundantly clear that the disabled continued to be abjectly neglected and excluded from the “ease of living” which the Finance Minister so pompously talked about.

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Octogenarian Dr Jonathan Fine who dared to go where even Indians did not dare #RIP

  
by- Kamayani Bali Mahabal
As I opened my inbox today….. Tributes to Dr Jonathan  Fine in PHR newsletter, made me just Jump and Scream. And there was a flashback of almost  7 years .
Let them call me rebel and welcome.
I feel no concern from it;
but I should suffer the misery of devils,
were I to make a whore of my soul…
                    – Thomas Paine
This was his signature on the his mails …….

Dr. Jonathan Fine died at age 88 on January 17  in his house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jonathan Fine had been one of the founders of Physicians for Human Rights in Boston in 1986, and was a very outspoken Director.He was convinced that medical testimonies of human rights violations were important and pivotal in establishing human rights violations, in bringing the perpretators to court and in rehabilitating the victims.Fact-finding missions, facilitating forensic investigations of mass murders, and torture cases made Physicians for Human Rights a key player in the international community of human rights organizations.

 

I met Jonathan in 2009, as a part of my series of lectures  in USA on the issues of  women rights with support of AID India .Jonathan  was   Secretary, AID Boston he was 80years young  and active . At his age he was good on mails  and always with his camera too . All his event mails would have line

Out of respect for others, please arrive on time.  Thanks!

Jonathan clearly had a burning conviction for the rights of the poorest especially their right to health and someone who would inspire many of us with his energy, passion and ability to bring structure and purpose to our endeavors to help the most marginalized.

He told me that  he was inspitred to viist India after listening to Yogesh Jain  of Jan  Swasthya Sahyog of Chhattisgarh speak in Boston , he then decided to visit  remote Chhattisgarh at the young age of 80+! He knew he had to do something and do something he would!He also  took it upon himself to spread the word and seek health professionals looking for short or medium term internships at JSS.

He was in Bilaspur for a month from Jan -Feb 2010  80 + Jonathan managed with no western toilet, had no qualms sitting with tribals on floor and eating. No airs at all from a man, who was also one of the founders of IFHHRO in the late 1980s. Together with the then Chair of the Dutch Johannes Wier Foundation for health and human rights, Dr. Adriaan van Es, Jonathan Fine decided that health-related human rights advocacy should have an international forum.

Therafter , he started his blog

The Story of Dasrath, Part II: http://povertyandhealth.blogspot.com/2010/02/dasraths-story-part-ii-harshness-of.html

After a month he writes

03 February 2010 -Jan Swasthya Sahyog, Ganiyari, Bilaspur District, Chhattisgarh, India

Dear Friends,

I am this week concluding a one month’s visit to Jan Swasthya Sahyog / JSS (The People’s Health Support Group) in Chhattisgarh, a state in Central India.

I write to you now because JSS, which serves the most destitute of India, is critically short-staffed and volunteer opportunities abound. (I personally will return in July 2010 to assist with a documentation project, based on personal histories, on how poverty and ill-health interact, each re-enforcing the other.)

Founded ten years ago, Jan Swasthya Sahyog/JSS (People’s Health Support Group) is one of India’s and the world’s most spectacularly successful experiments in the delivery of health care to impoverished rural communities. JSS provides comprehensive primary care services to 53 remote, extremely deprived, forest communities but also receives poor patients from a total of 1,500 villages in central Chhattisgarh at its hospital and outpatient facilities in the village of Ganiyari, Bilaspur District.

JSS is a leader in low-cost technologies it has designed for rural diagnostic, preventive and curative health services. The group is equally renowned for its publications and advocacy for fundamental reforms needed to bring access and equity in health care to all of rural India. Many of the founder members were trained at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi or at the Christian Medical College, Vellore.

With an ever-increasing patient load, and the provision of all levels of clinical services, public health, and even sponsorship of agricultural development, its medical staff is severely overtaxed and short-staffed in clinical, research, public health initiatives and supporting specialty roles.

The hope is that volunteers may be found to come to Ganiyari for periods ranging from three months to two years. Each will make an enormous difference in the lives of severely impoverished villagers and have the experience of a lifetime working with world-class physician and non-physician professionals and allied staff.

Recently, I interviewed Yogesh Jain, one of the founding physicians of JSS, on the volunteer professional staff that SS urgently needs to recruit. That interview is immediately below.

If you or any friends may be interested, you may write to me personally if you wish or to Dr. Jain and his colleagues at JSS directly at the e-mail address that follows.

Please also consider forwarding this message to others. Thanks!

–  Jonathan E. Fine, M.D., M.P.H.

 

Jonathan again came to India in 2011,  to  volunteer for JSS and to show solidarity for Dr Binayak sen who was still incarcerated in Jail, We as part of the campaign organised a talk at KEM hospital on “Why physicians should engage with Human Rights”

 

the pics of event on the link

https://www.facebook.com/kamayani/media_set?set=a.10150407776175368.619428.861570367&type=3

Here is his speech

 

During his visit to give impetus to  free binayak sen campaign, Jonathan fine suggested we start a chapter of physicians for human rights in India.

Following statement was issued on Jan 4,2011, Binayak Sen;s 61st Birthday

‘Physicians for Human Rights’ is a worldwide organisation established in 1981 with a solid
foundation of over two decades of investigation, advocacy and accomplishment. It has
campaigned vigorously for the human rights of health care workers in various countries and
has been in the forefront of the International campaign for justice for Binayak Sen. In fact its
founder Jonathan Fine has been in India closely following the case and was present at
Binayak’s trial.

We choose to offer the position of Honorary Chairman of Physicians for Human Rights /
India to Dr Binayak Sen who has given his life to these principles and to serve the poorest
among us. Without neglecting others equally worthy, we will work tirelessly for his release
from prison and complete exoneration of unjust accusations. His prompt return to the fight
for human rights, civil liberties and service of India’s masses is essential for the sake of our
nation. We strongly communicate our dismay and call for the dropping of charges,
recognition of his exceptional contribution to Health & Human rights, his sacrifices & his
deep commitment, & rare integrity, his proclaimed consistent support of Non-Violence. It was
for the above human values reflected in his life & work he was awarded for being a role
model for Medical students, by CMC Vellore his Alma Mater, R R Keithan award for
demonstrating the values of the “father of the Nation” and Johnathan Mann award for his
work with the Tribals.

‘Physicians for Human Rights’–India will mobilize health professionals to advance health,
dignity and justice, and to promote the right to health for all.
‘Physicians for Human Rights’–India will join with physicians and health professionals
similarly organized in other countries to add our voices in support of persecuted fellow health
professionals in all countries. We will speak out against torture, physical and psychological
abuse, and all forms of repression harmful to the public health. We will work tirelessly to
bring our medical skills to the struggle for the attainment of human rights for all people. We
pledge to uphold the finest traditions of the medical and allied health professions to
investigate and report objectively on all findings of abuses in contravention to the constitution
of India, the United Nations Covenants on Social, Political and Economic Rights and the
Geneva Conventions and Protocols.

ENDORSEMENTS

1.     Dr Amte   Bharati  , Maharogi Seva Samiti, Anandwan, Warora, Maharashtra

2.     Dr. Amte Sheetal , Maharogi Seva Samiti, Anandwan, Warora, Maharashtra

3.     Dr. Amte Vikas , Maharogi Seva Samiti, Anandwan, Warora, Maharashtra

4.     Dr Anand R K, Paediatrician, Mumbai

5.     Dr  Bal Arun, Surgeon, Mumbai

6.     Bali- Mahabal Kamayani, ,  Health and Human Rights Activist,Mumbai

7.     Dr Bhojraj Shekhar , Orthodepic Surgeon, Mumbai

8.     Dr  Chatterjee Garga , Researcher and Physician Kolkata

9.     Datta, Saurav ,  Law Teacher and Human Rights Activist, Mumbai

10.   Duggal Ravi, Health Activist, Mumbai

11.  Dr.Gangolli Leena V  Public Health Physician, Mumbai

12.  Dr  Gupte Manisha , Feminist and Health rights activist, Pune

13.  E Pinto, Premdas Health Activist, Bangalore

14.  Dr Gaitonde, Rakhal Community Health Researcher, Bangalore15.  Jesani Amar ,  Health Activist, Mumbai

16.  Dr  Kalantri, S P  Physician, Wardha

17.  Dr  Karmarkar  Santosh ,Paediatric surgeon Mumbai

18.  Dr  Korde Vivek  Family Physician, Mumbai

19.  Dr  Lokhandwala, Yash Cardiologist, Mumbai

20.  Dr Morparia Hemant Radiologist, Mumbai

21.  Dr  Nagral  Sanjay GI surgeon ,Mumbai

22.  Dr  Naik Deven, Family Physician, Mumbai

23.  Nohira Sathyashree , Health Activist, Bangalore

24.  Dr   Pai Sanjay , Pathologist, Bangalore

25.  Dr Pandya Sunil, Neurosurgeon, Mumbai

26.  Dr  Roy Nobojit , Surgeon, Mumbai

27.  Dr  Shiva Mira , Public Health Physician ,Delhi

28.  Dr  Singh S P , Gastroenterologist, Cuttack

29.  Dr   Thomas  George , Orthopaedic surgeon, Chennai

 

Jonathan Fine also played a  crucial role ,  in  Free soni sori campaign after medical reports were recieved from Kolkata, he personally campaigned with Physician for human rights and amensty intrenational to declare soni sori as  prisoner  of conscience.

Dr. Fine was one of the seminal figures who launched an entire movement of doctors and other health professionals bringing their expertise, all the tools they have, to the human rights struggle, Jonathan was not only fearless himself, but he instilled this passion in others  to defy convention, to do what’s necessary. He was an inspiration, to health professionals and human rights activists,

Physician for Human Rights- India , has been defunct, I hope we all can revive it as a real tribute to Dr Jonathan Fine . For me he was human rights activist first and health professional later, his passion for human rights violations always vociferous and still his loud voice reverberates .

 

 

 

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Violence in Kasganj Sponsored by BJP: Former DIG, UP Police

Press Statement by S. R. Darapuri, Former DIG U.P. & convener of Jan Manch.

Communal riot in Kasganj was pre-planned, which is evident by the events of that day. On the said day, on the occassion of 26th January, Muslims of Kasganj PS area had organised a meeting at Abdul Majeed Chowk. At the same time, approximately 100 youths belonging to Hindu Yuva Vahini, ABVP and RSS arrived there on Motor Cycles holding Tricolor and Saffron Flags, shouting slogans. They asked the organisers to hoist the saffron flag instead of the Tricolour. At this point, Muslims requested them to take the other route, but they insisted on using that way only and ruined the rangoli made there by the motor cycle.

On this, quarrel started between both the groups, at that point the people from that ‘Tiranga March’ started shoutingw objectionable slogans like “If you want to live in India, You will have to say Vande Matram” and “Mullas deserve only one place : Pakistan or Graveyard”. As things escalated, stone pelting and firing from both the sides srarted in which a boy from one side died and two people from the other group also got shot. One person who has sustained the bullet injury has said that he recieved it when a Sub-Inspector of the Police fired at him. After this all, rioters from one side burned one bus, one tractor, and one stall. This is mentionable that the so called Tricolour March was being carried without any permission. After this incident, heavy police enforcements were posted in the town.

The next day, after the last rites of the deceased youth, the BJP MP gave this incinting speech that “We cannot forego the death of our this youth on any condition.” After this speech of his, even after the presence of heavy Police force, the riot again started and a house and six shops belonging to muslims were burned. It has come to the notice that even after the presence of heavy police force, shops and vehicles belonging to the muslims have been again burned. It is a matter of concern that how this arsoning could take place in even in presence of the Police Force. Role of the Police is also under doubt.
It is clear from these events that the communal riot in Kasganj was a part of the riot politics of BJ

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Calling Mumbai- Stop #Aadhaar before it Destroys you #BreakAadhaarChains

Join us on January 12, from 4-6pm at the Mumbai Press Club as we respond to the government in one voice that we do not support this Aadhaar-enabled coercion!

#BreakAadhaarChains

 

  • Rachna Khaira of the Tribune, Chandigarh, broke the story of admin logins to the UIDAI official site being sold for Rs. 500, giving access to billions of Aadhaar details! The UIDAI responded by filing an FIR against her and the Tribune!
  • The UIDAI announces the creation of temporary “Virtual IDs” which, in the view of tech experts, will not work unless all existing Aadhaars – already publicly available – are revoked and reissued!
  • The Justice B.N, Srikrishna Committee has put out a white paper calling for a public consultation on a data protection framework, and is currently holding public meetings.
  • “If people do not have Aadhaar cards, do they not exist for the government?” the Supreme Court asked on January 10, in a hearing on night shelters requiring the homeless to show Aadhaar as proof of identity.

 

Aadhaar, the supposedly unique identity, involves the largest collection of personal information anywhere in the world. No other democracy subjects its citizens to such a lifelong risk. Today, Aadhaar is required for a host of services from birth certificates to death certificates, school admissions, scholarships, PDS rations, NREGA job cards, bank accounts, mobile services – the list is endless. This expansion has happened despite the growing number of exclusions and denial of welfare benefits, subsidies, and other services for want of an Aadhaar number, and data security breaches.

 

Multiple #AadhaarLeaks and #AadhaarScams have repeatedly exposed how every facet of Aadhaar security, including biometrics, are prone to being hacked. Foreign companies with dubious origins have been contracted to ‘store, transfer and process’ our personal information, posing a threat to national security. With the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench set to decide the validity of Aadhaar in hearings starting January 17, we may have just one last chance to stop Aadhaar – before it alters our lives completely.

 

#BreakAadhaarChains is a campaign to stop the government from treating us like criminals out to loot the state.

Join us on January 12, from 4-6pm at the Mumbai Press Club as we respond to the government in one voice that we do not support this Aadhaar-enabled coercion!

Participants include JT D’Souza (Biometrics Expert), Sakina Dhorajiwala (Welfare Researcher), Vickram Crishna, Dr. G Nagarjuna, Kamayani Bali Mahabal (petitioners), Krishnakant Mane (Free Software Activist), Mithun (Activist), The Banned (Protest Musicians)

 

SVP (WhatsApp preferred): Raghu/ godavar (Member, Rethink Aadhaar), +91-97177-49998

Facebook-  https://www.facebook.com/events/390591071397124/

 

 

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Media bodies slam ‘attack on freedom of press’ #AadhaarFail

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The FIR is unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press, said the Editors Guild
  • It is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest, the statement said

File photo used for representational purpose

UIDAI case: Media bodies slam ‘attack on freedom of press'

NEW DELHI: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)’s lodging of an FIR naming the Tribune+ in which news about the breach in the system was printed, and also the reporter who had filed the story, drew strong reactions from journalists’ bodies, which condemned it as an “attack on the freedom of the press”.

A statement issued by the Editors Guild said, “The Guild condemns UIDAI’s action to have the Tribune reporter booked by the police as it is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest. It is unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.”

The statement, which gives details of the charges under which the reporter, Rachna Khaira, was booked – IPC sections 419 (punishment for cheating under impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery), 471 (using a forged document) and under sections of the IT Act and the Aadhar Act – asks the union ministry to withdraw the cases against her, and “conduct an impartial investigation into the matter.”

The Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps and Press Association too strongly objected and condemned the FIR registration. “Rather than addressing the loopholes which would actually ensure safety and security of the data and allay the general concerns about this, the UIDAI has chosen to persecute those whose actions appear to have been only in public interest,” read a statement issued by the journalists bodies collectively.

Criticising the FIR as “intimidatory, obstructionist and inimical to the pursuit of free, fair and independent journalism”, the statement asked for a withdrawal of the complaint against the reporter. A statement by the Foundation for Media Professionals, while referring to the FIR as an “assault on free speech”, said, “By allowing such FIRs to be registered, the government is clearly signalling that the functioning of UIDAI, however controversial, is out of bounds for journalists and other whistle-blowers.”

 By The Network of Women in Media in India

The Network of Women in Media, India, is appalled that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has reportedly lodged a police complaint against Rachna Khaira, a journalist at The Tribune, over her report on the vulnerability of Aadhaar data.

The story, ‘Rs 500, 10 minutes and you have access to billion aadhaar details‘ and the follow-up, ‘Aadhaar whistleblower who first called uidai’, published on January 3, 2017, had described how it was possible to buy access to personal information about citizens stored in the Aadhaar database for as little as Rs. 500. On January 4, based on a complaint by UIDAI, a first information report (FIR) was filed against Khaira for alleged offences, including cheating and forgery.

The UIDAI appears to lack basic understanding of how journalism works.

Khaira’s report conclusively demonstrates fundamental flaws in the way the Aadhaar programme has been structured. This is public interest journalism. The UIDAI should be welcoming and acting on reports like Khaira’s, not stifling them.

The UIDAI action raises concerns about whether it is meant to intimidate journalists and deter them from reporting freely on the Aadhaar programme. This is a blatant attack on the freedom of the press, as well as the public’s right to information. Other journalists and civil society groups who have revealed failings in the Aadhaar programme have been targeted as well. This must stop.

We also condemn the charges that have been brought against whistleblowers Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, and Raj, all of whom were mentioned in Rachna’s report. Such punitive action against sources and whistleblowers is completely unacceptable.

As a public authority, the UIDAI is answerable to the public. If there are weaknesses in the system, they need to be fixed. Shooting the messenger is not the responsible or accountable way forward. The media will not be cowed down by these legal browbeating tactics.

The NWMI calls upon the UIDAI to immediately withdraw the complaint against Rachna Khaira and her sources.  Instead, it must direct its action against those who have compromised the security of the Aadhaar database.

 

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#Aadhaar Fraud – Airtel let off lightly by the Modi Sarkar #WTFnews

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Airtel is let off lightly by the government despite being in clear violation of the law in a case that exposes the flaws and dangers in the ecosystem surrounding Aadhaar

 

DESPITE its clear violation of the law, telecom major Airtel appears to have been let off lightly by the government. And that story, though reported, has neither led to adequate punishment nor has it received the extent of media attention it deserves. The story is that Airtel used its position as a dominant mobile services provider to strengthen its new role as a “payments bank” by exploiting a loophole in a system created through the decisions of multiple agencies. The company not only opened a large number of payments bank accounts in the names of its mobile subscribers without their knowledge, it also transferred direct benefit payments due to them under the LPG subsidy scheme to these new accounts as against those previously specified by them. The scale of the scam is large given the relatively short period for which it could have been operative. The cooking gas subsidy due to 4.7 million customers totalling around Rs.167 crore was reportedly diverted to Airtel Payments Bank accounts over a period of two months.

Once the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) detected the malpractice, it sought to conceal its own culpability by (i) declaring it a violation of the Aadhaar Act, 2016; (ii) requiring Airtel to deposit an interim penalty of Rs.2.5 crore with the UIDAI; (iii) obtaining an assurance that the bank will immediately return Rs.190 crore that had been transferred to unsolicited accounts out of the LPG subsidy due to its mobile clients; and by (iv) announcing that Airtel and its payments bank will not be able to use the UIDAI’s Aadhaar-linking system to either verify mobile subscriptions or open new bank accounts.

However, the last of these penalties has proved temporary and extremely short-term. Under the current dispensation, the abrogation of the right to verify mobile subscriptions was perhaps the only penalty of significance imposed on Airtel because all unverified subscribers would have to be disconnected from the Airtel network by February 6. That would have been a significant setback for Airtel in the current competitive mobile telephony market. But it would also have put the government’s push to make Aadhaar-linking mandatory for all mobile subscriptions in jeopardy. So, within a few days the UIDAI decided to allow Bharti Airtel Ltd to resume Aadhaar-based electronic know-your-client (e-KYC) verification of telecom subscribers until January 10.

 

There was wrongdoing implicit in Airtel’s act of creating unsolicited bank accounts and transferring to them subsidies due to the clients. While opening an Airtel account is free, there is an implicit charge as the account cannot be closed without paying a “set off balance” of Rs.50. Moreover, once funds are deposited with Airtel Payments Bank, withdrawals are subject to a charge. Airtel’s clients did not know that they would have to pay to access their own money, just as many had no knowledge of the accounts opened in their name.

After it was discovered to be in violation of the law, Airtel returned the money it had “virtually stolen”, paid a small penalty and expressed its contrition by finding a fall guy. Airtel Payments Bank’s chief executive, Shashi Arora, resigned, although the company attributed that to a personal decision, unrelated to the scam. What is surprising is that the mainstream media, which would have sensationalised any scam of this magnitude, chose to give it limited coverage, as if it were news that was marginal. No strident opinion here, expressing the voice of the nation.

There are at least four possible reasons for the government being so lenient and for the mainstream media almost ignoring the issue (despite some exceptional coverage by online news portals). First, the scam reveals weaknesses and dangers in the government’s Aadhaar or unique identity number programme, which the government has pursued with missionary zeal, although the scheme has been challenged in court.

Second, the incident makes it clear that the scam was facilitated by an initiative of the government to force-link mobile phone connections and Aadhaar card numbers.

Third, the scam involved the manner of implementation of two other of the government’s pet programmes—the direct benefit transfers scheme for reaching subsidies to beneficiaries and the push towards greater digital financial transactions through a number of routes, in this case, the use of payments banks.

Finally, news of the discovery was perhaps partly suppressed since it involved a major corporate such as Airtel.

Disturbing details

The details of the “scam” are disturbing. Airtel is licensed to launch a payments bank, which it did on January 13, 2017. “Payments banks” are allowed to accept deposits of up to Rs.100,000 but cannot provide loans. Further, 75 per cent of the deposits accruing to these banks have to be invested in low-yielding but safe government securities. This means that while these banks compete with commercial banks to mobilise deposits and have to pay high interest rates to attract deposits, a large share of their funds would be locked in low-yielding government securities. Airtel chose to go aggressive and offered depositors an interest rate of 7.25 per cent, much higher than the 4 per cent offered by Paytm Payments Bank and the 3.5 to 6 per cent offered by commercial banks.

 

Since payments banks cannot lend, their revenues to cover costs and generate profits have to be based substantially on incomes from fees derived from deposit holders. This makes payments banks uncompetitive, so much so that only a few of the original 11 licensees have chosen to pursue the business. Airtel set high fees to partly cover its high interest rate offer to depositors. Withdrawals from an Airtel account exceeding Rs.100 are charged a fee that rises with the size of the withdrawal, and touches 0.65 per cent for transactions above Rs.4,000. Transfers of more than Rs.1,000 from Airtel Payments Bank to any other bank are charged 0.5 per cent of the amount involved. The strategy possibly was to attract depositors, impose high fees and then move interest rates downwards, to extract a profit.

The interest would have been initially paid out from new deposits in a Ponzi-like scheme. But once depositors became aware that they would be charged for all payments excepting those that were extremely small or were transacted within Airtel Payments Bank, they were unlikely to bank with the mobile operator. Clearly, Airtel’s high interest offer to depositors was not sustainable in the long run. To address this problem, Airtel worked out a scheme to generate deposits without the knowledge of the depositors themselves. This it did by exploiting the government’s decision based on a Supreme Court order in Lokniti Foundation vs Union of India, that for “security” reasons the government must put in place a scheme to verify holders of all mobile subscriptions within a year of February 6, 2017. Since the government’s plea was that this was being done by using biometric information attached to Aadhaar numbers for new and renewing prepaid subscribers, it interpreted the Supreme Court’s order as amounting to making e-KYC verification based on the Aadhaar database mandatory for holding a mobile phone subscription after February 6, 2018. Since subscribers were being constantly warned of the prospect of disconnection, despite a case in the Supreme Court questioning the government’s claim that Aadhaar linking of mobile numbers was mandatory, a rush to do this followed. Linking requires subscribers to validate their biometric information at the mobile service provider’s premises by connecting to the UIDAI database.

One possibility is that Airtel chose to collect biometric information more than once from its subscribers (by claiming failure to validate). Only one of those instances of collection was used to link mobile and Aadhaar numbers. The other was used to create the Airtel Payments Bank account, link it to the Aadhaar number of the client and in the process override earlier preferences of the bank account to which direct benefit transfers were mandated. The result was a large inflow of deposits to those accounts without the consent of the deposit-holders, who, in most cases, did not even know that the accounts existed.

 

This occurred not only because Airtel chose to misuse the system but also because the ecosystem surrounding Aadhaar and its use as a surveillance device in multiple circumstances is deeply flawed. An analysis by Anand Venkatanarayanan and Srikanth Lakshmanan in the news portal, The Wire, argues that Airtel was aided by the acts of commission or omission of three other players: the Central government, “which pushed ahead with its direct benefit transfer scheme and mandated the Aadhaar-based re-verification of mobile phone subscribers”; the National Payments Corporation of India, which handles digital payments and settlement systems; and the UIDAI, which created the e-KYC framework.

It is because of this joint responsibility, which shows up Aadhaar to be a deeply flawed project, that Airtel has been able to get off lightly. But that is in keeping with the special rules that the behemoths created by neoliberal, market-friendly policies enjoy the world over. In fact, the Airtel scam is similar to what Wells Fargo was charged with in the United States a little more than a year ago.

The Financial Sector Protection Bureau (FSPB) of the U.S. discovered that more than 5,000 employees of the bank had, over five years, opened more than a million new banking accounts and half a million or so credit card accounts in the names of its customers without their knowledge, in order to meet sales targets. The customers were charged a fee before the accounts were closed. Thus, through fraudulent “cross-selling”—the selling of new products to existing customers—and fake outcomes, employees met their targets and enhanced their incomes.

The fraud was either missed or ignored by senior management for a very long time. But even there the settlement for ending the investigation into these violations required Wells Fargo to pay a fine of only $185 million, and set aside $5 million to compensate clients who were charged fees on accounts they had no knowledge of. Relative to the net profits of more than $20 billion that Wells Fargo was expected to record in 2016, the fine was not really much damage. On the other hand, more than 5,000 employees lost their jobs on charges of fraud, while senior management went scot-free.

http://www.frontline.in/columns/C_P_Chandrasekhar/the-airtelaadhaar-fix/article10008384.ece

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