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Archives for : Mumbra

Mumbra’s Muslim Girls Kick Out Stereotypes #Womenrights

IMG_1780

Kamayani Bali Mahabal 

 

They started off as a secret sports club. What brought them together was their shared love for football, a game they couldn’t dream of playing owing to their conservative family backgrounds. After all, how could young girls, who weren’t even allowed to step out of their homes without the ‘hijab’ (veil), run around kicking ball in an open field? But they showed exceptional courage when they defied parental dictate to pursue their passion for the sport.

Three years back, Sabah Khan, Salma Ansari, Sabah Parveen, Aquila, Saadia and 40 other girls got out of their homes in Mumbra, a small town 40 kilometres from Mumbai, Maharashtra, to play football. Today, this group that calls itself Parcham, inspired by Asrar ul Haq Majaz, an Urdu poet who saw women as crusaders with an inherent quality to revolt against exploitation and injustice, has truly lived up to its name. They have not only broken gender stereotypes by regularly playing football but have been responsible for bridging the gap between the Muslims and the Hindus in their communally volatile city.

Sabah Khan, the captain of this unique all–girls team, recalls how their journey of change began, “Around 2011, a bunch of us were approached by the NGO Magic Bus that uses sports as a means to help poor children lead a better life. They wanted to teach football to both girls and boys but we told them that in Mumbra Muslim girls cannot take up a sport let alone play alongside boys. That’s when they decided to exclusively train girls who were keen to try out something they had only dreamt of.”

The target was to put together a group of 40 girls but that was easier said than done. “Most of us hail from families that struggle to make ends meet. We can never really spare time for fun and games. We study, chip in at home or work. That’s why we were unable to personally go to motivate girls to join in.

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At the outset, the girls decided to call their team ‘Parcham’. Aquila, one of the founding members, narrates the story behind it, “We decided to call ourselves ‘Parcham’ as we are inspired by Asrar ul Haq Majaz, better known as Majaz Lakhnawi. Through his romantic, revolutionary verses, Majaz urged women to look at the hijab not as a barrier but as a flag or banner. He has written: ‘Tere maathe pe ye aanchal bauhat hi khoob hai, lekin tu is aanchal se ik parcham bana leti to achcha tha… (The veil covering your head and face is beautiful, but if you make a flag out of it, it would be better)’. We, too, have transformed something that many see as a sign of repression into a symbol of revolution.”

Through sports Parcham strives to build a just and equal society that is respectful of diversity and celebrates difference and interdependence. Their mission is to empower marginalised communities to access their fundamental rights, creating spaces for dialogue among diverse sections of society. “And our one great achievement has been getting official recognition for our struggle to get a playground for the girls,” says Aquila.

When they met with MLA Jeetendra Awhad he was amazed to see this strength of association. He told them that it was perhaps for the first time that 900 girls had got together to ask for a playground to be reserved for them. He also assured them of their very own space to play.

Saadia’s brothers still have no inkling. “After I won a trophy at a tournament I told them that it was a friend’s. There are many like me who cannot yet be completely honest with all their family members. We don’t want to make them unhappy nor do we want our freedom curtailed. This way we all get what we want,” she says.

Adds Salma Ansari, 22, who has supportive parents and is pursuing an MBA degree, “What we need is for the society to accept that girls have an equal right to public spaces; that they too deserve to experience the joy of being able to run free, kick a ball, hold a bat, sprint, jump or swim. Nowadays, we are trying to break gender stereotypes by training a group of 50 young boys and girls together.” The religious divide, too, has been overcome with the inclusion of girls from other faiths.

Simran, 15, the youngest member of the team, is a Sikh. “We have so many misconceptions about other religions. But perceptions and attitudes change when we meet and interact. Being in Parcham, I am learning about gender, equality, justice… Watch out, I am a feminist in the making!” she says emphatically.

What’s next on Parcham’s agenda? “We want to set up a resource centre for our girls, complete with books, newspapers, computers and a wi–fi network. Every Saturday, we plan to hold meetings where we can discuss the latest news and concepts like secularism and citizenship to enable everyone to think and form opinions on subjects they are passionate about. The centre will be a safe haven for Muslims and non–Muslims to build friendships,” says Sabah.

In the home town of Ishrat Jahan, the young woman who was tragically shot in an encounter in Ahmedabad in 2004, these girls are gearing up to drive out prejudice and hatred. (WFS)

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Mumbai – Demolition of a dream house

Alok Deshpande , The Hindu, may 1,2013

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Campa Cola residents on protest against demolition notice (Source:- Facebook Community ‘Save Campa Cola Compound’)
Mumbai is rapidly becoming a place for chosen few. Chosen, on the basis of money.
The rich, famous and self-proclaimed law abiding citizens of Mumbai were first shocked and then laughed at the misery of families of 75 innocent lives that were lost in a tragic building collapse in Mumbra, near Mumbai, last month.

“How ignorant can one be? Buggers should’ve checked whether the building is authorized or not. Illiterate people, I tell you,” said one of my friends on Facebook chat. He sent laughing smiley (:D) at the end of the chat.

He perhaps didn’t know that, these slum dwellers were purposely told to move inside building, to avoid demolition from civic body. It’s a win-win situation for both builder and a slum dweller. The former gets his construction legalized on humanitarian ground and the latter gets a ‘pukka’ house.

A few weeks after the Mumbra incident, came one of the ‘never heard before’ and ‘never seen before’ housing tragedies (?) of Mumbai. (The media which is usually not bothered about the demolition drives in slums, found its ‘news peg’ among the rich and upper middle class victims of Campa Cola Compound. But that we will save for later discussion.)

Following the Supreme Court verdict, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) slapped the notice of demolition on 35 floors of seven buildings of upper middle class, upmarket locality. The demolition means that 140 families will have no roof from May 2. As you must have predicted, none of them is illiterate or ignorant or poor.

They were not given water connection for past 25 years by BMC, mainly because the structures were unauthorized and that was enough for them to know that builder has cheated on them. Yet, they continued to live in those unauthorized buildings for 25 years. Ignorant, aren’t they? My friend on Facebook, please answer.

When I went for one of the press conferences arranged by these 140 families at the Campa Cola Compound, I was (and still I am) sympathetic to them. (Yeah, despite being a reporter. I do have my opinions). Then I heard one lady shouting. “Do you think we are slum dwellers? How can they throw us out like them?”

Them, I thought. Them?

Why do you think you are different? Don’t you understand that you too were as cheated and fooled by builder as those homeless families by some other builder, when he convinced them to construct slums on open plot? Just to claim that land under Slum Rehabilitation Scheme, few years later. You both wanted a house. The only difference was your class. You managed a house on 17th floor, while the homeless managed a slum besides a dumping ground. Neither his slum’s nor your flat’s plans were approved by authorities. You are no different than him. Remember that! You are all the victims of land sharks, corrupt system and the nexus between builder-authorities and politicians.

Buying a house has become almost impossible in Mumbai, for someone from middle and lower middle class background. A 2 BHK (they don’t construct 1 BHK anymore, it seems) flat will cost you, more than a crore. You need either the money or high ranked contacts. Majority of us have neither of this. (Just some extra information from unverified sources -A woman who purchased flat in a scam tainted Adarsh CHS in Mumbai, was given a loan worth Rs 80 lakh by a respected bank. Well, her salary was less than Rs 20,000. How did she manage that? Interesting, isn’t it?)

After all everyone dreams about a house. Builders, politicians and authorities have used the situation wonderfully in their favour and have kept the housing prices away from the common man’s range. It is the desperation of people that is forcing them to live in worst of the conditions, many a time in unauthorized buildings.

Mumbai is rapidly becoming a place for chosen few. Chosen, on the basis of money.

After the incident in Mumbra, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) took a decision to demolish ‘dangerous’ and ‘unauthorised’ buildings. All the political parties in the state, except for Mahrashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), called for a bandh. “It will make people homeless and they are not guilty,” they said.

You are right! But don’t you think you should have also asked for action against builders and officials who constructed these unauthorized structures? Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena, who had supported the bandh, did not bother to utter a single word against the builders. So obliged they are to the builders, it seems, for reasons best known to them.

Mumbai’s Golibar slum redevelopment is also one of the examples of utter disrespect to law by builders. Forged documents, threats, hooliganism and even an alleged kidnapping, tells the sad story of legitimate slum dwellers here. Alleged involvement of big politicians in the redevelopment has forced ‘independent’ media houses ignore the misery of these people. Then there are examples of Sion-Koliwada redevelopment, Ganpat Patil nagar redevelopment and the list goes on. The builder lobby has gained upper hand everywhere with the help of police, politicians and officials.

So, my dear lady from ‘n’th unauthorized floor, my humble request to you is, don’t say you are different, just because you are rich. You both are the victims. Criticise the system, which has put you in this condition, not the slum dweller.

 

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Demolition of illegal Mumbai flats: Why hit the innocent?

by  Apr 26, 2013, Firstpost

 

There is this often narrated anecdote, surely apocryphal, where a mischievous student’s parent tells the teacher that the boy is sensitive. If he errs it would do if the next student is slapped and his son would get the message. That was, of course, before corporal punishment was outlawed.

To expect such hints to be taken by people who occupy illegal structures in Mumbai or in any city is absurd. It applies well to the move of the Mumbai’s civic body to demolish 140 apartments on 35 floors across seven apartment buildings in Worli. It was not a spontaneous action from the civic body, it was ordained by the Supreme Court.

Building collapse in Mumbra. PTI

Building collapse in Mumbra. PTI

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has now made the headlines by the simple fact of speaking about how it has drawn a logistic and supervisory strategy to do so in three months, as The Times of India reported on Thursday. It mentioned, how, rightly, the residents were unnerved. One would be surprised if they were not.

The demolition plan is terrible news mostly since it is an entirely wrong way to go about the business of illegal constructions, which of course, are rife in the city. Simply because the Supreme Court ordered it for violations of civic laws also does not necessarily make it right. There are many more which have deviated from the rules.

The civic body, in the cloud of the dust raised by the collapse the Mumbra building which took 74 lives, has but to act on the apex court’s order which bars the residents from seeking regularisation of the illegalities. It naturally leaves them with no option but to take recourse to a review petition.

By making a virtue out of the order, talking about new techniques without disclosing the details as to how the flats would be brought down, and saying that about Rs 1.5 crore would be spent towards complying, MCGM simply cannot escape its responsibility in having allowed such nonchalant law-breaking.

What about the shamble in which the residents of other apartments would have to live in, during the demolition? It is assumed that they or the worth of their property does not matter at all. The collateral damage to them is hard to imagine.

Not bringing the unauthorised apartments down would be contempt of court, but allowing them to have come up in the first place itself requires a judicial enquiry which can and should hold the process and the participants in it guilty as well. We have hardly heard anything much about those who perpetrate such frauds, of being held accountable.

Had the Supreme Court only asked the MCGM to bring before it all the cases of violations and then their regularisation, say during the past one decade, it would have helped bare the unbelievable extent of the mischief played by the real estate interests and civic officials in cahoots. Those interests include politicians.

There are likely to be more illegal buildings or parts of buildings than there are those among them which should have attracted the demolition crews of the civic body. The very fact that they did not is itself a testimonial admission of the civic body’s culpability. Except, of course, we don’t know which are illegal and which not; even the buyers did not.

This does not at all mean that enforcement of law has to be only selective in the sense the builders who come up with the grand designs to cheat and then, with ever-eager willingness of the civic officials, often at the behest of politicians who urge everyone to wink at the deviations, can go scot free.

Mumbai’s civic body and its counterparts in other cities have avoided universally applying the building code—from floor space index to eligibility of a site to host the structure, including the structural quality, explaining the violations if—only if—exposed and act seemingly responsibly thereafter, up to a point before resuming their mischief. It is a lot cheaper to do a job honestly and efficiently than cope with consequences.

This common sense approach abundantly useful to ensure reliability of a civic body is missing in their administrative culture across cities. Because adhering to the proper ways would lead to huge losses by way of illegal incomes. It is as if the citizen is not at all a stakeholder. Those who stick to their statutory duties are often dismissed as cranks, as GR Khairnar was.

Had Khairnar only done his job without running at the mouth, and grabbing headlines, he perhaps would have been better off. But had he not, looking at the flip side, he would have been smothered by the corrupt in the system. The system that protects wrongdoing is much more competent than the other citizen-centric work as per law.

It cannot be anyone’s case that Mumbai or for that matter any city’s illegal structures, from lean-tos on sidewalks to slum colonies to elegant multi-storeyed apartments, should be allowed. Well-performing cities ought not to allow them to even emerge, leave alone mushroom. If they do, there are undermining their own stated purpose.

They are allowed to mushroom and then, amid outcries—often maybe because the right bribe was not paid—make the innocent buyer almost invariably the casualty. Even the slums that crop up hither and yon with near impunity from the civic demolition squads have been blessed by politicians and as the recent case of an entire corrupt police station lining up for bribes showed, everyone is on the make.

Then why leave the victim thrashing about after being targeted by the real estate industry which not only makes housing unaffordable but also runs a racket hand in glove with those who ought not to have allowed it in the first place. If this Worli pattern becomes the chosen way, large chunks of Mumbai residents would be on the streets sans a shelter even as the jails remain empty.

 

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#Mumbai -Why is Medha Patkar on Indefinite #HungerStrike since April 4th, 2013 at Golibar #mustshare

The Golibar SRA, Demolitions, Indefinite Hunger Strike by Medha Patkar
from April 4, 2013 at Golibar, Mumbai.

medha

What’s the big issue?

The corruption and nexus between the Government and Builders under the
cover of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) in Mumbai, that has
led to lakhs of slum-dwellers struggling for the basic right to a
house. The most recent example is collapse of a 8 storey building in
Mumbra, constructed within a span of 2-3 months leading to death of
more than 70 people.

What’s wrong with SRA?

SRA authorises private builders to redevelop slum land. The
slum-dwellers are moved into vertical establishments, and the land
that is thus freed up, becomes available as a free-sale component in
the property market. Privatisation also means that the government is
not responsible for maintaining transparency and quality. Since the
money to be made from new land sales in Mumbai is extremely high,
there is a vicious competition amongst the builders to woo the slum
residents.

Moreover, SRA only authorises a house to those people who can show
their citizenship until 1995. It also gives the power of go-ahead to
the Builder if they can attain approval of 70% of the people in a
society. These 2 facts are exploited by the Builders to practise
extortion, fraud and forgery at the ground level, and have become the
common practise to lure societies into signing a deal with them.

A date based cut-off to the Right to a House, and limited
participation of a government agency, have made the SRA into a
pro-Builder scheme. This needs to be rectified.

But why redevelop slums? Aren’t they illegal in the first place?

Today 60% of the population of Mumbai lives in slums. Those recognised
under SRA have paid Assessment Tax to the government. The people
living here comprise the major part of the people working in the
service industry and small-scale industries. Slums are not a result of
squatting, but instead because of a lack of low-cost housing options.
This big gap in housing development has left only very high-cost
options that the poorer people cannot afford.

So is SRA the only scheme for redevelopment?

It is the most prominent one in place to resettle slums. Others look
into Project Affected People (PAP) – people forced to move because of
development of Highways, high-tech parks etc. For settlements that
came into being after the cut-off date of 1995, there are currently no
schemes at all.

Why now? What’s the urgency?

This is not a recent struggle. People of the slums have been fighting
for their rights since 2004, when vast areas of slums in Mumbai were
razed to the ground by the Vilasrao Deshmukh government to convert
Mumbai to Shanghai. The Adarsh Housing Scam, Hiranandani Developers
Land grab are examples of the extent to which a handful of powerful
people are robbing the common man of a basic right to shelter.

Another such instance is the history of ‘redevelopment’ in Khar
Golibar, wherein 140 acres of land- home to 46 societies and over
26,000 families – has been literally gifted to a single private
company – Shivalik Ventures, by invoking a special clause – 3K- of the
SRA. This clause gives a single builder complete rights to redevelop a
large slum without inviting tenders.

A small society of 323 houses in Golibar – Ganesh Krupa – has become
the flash point for the struggle between the SRA/Builder nexus and the
Slum dwellers, ever since it slapped a case of fraud and forgery on
Shivalik Ventures, the builder that forcefully undertook the rights to
their development. 6 forced demolition drives over the past 1 year led
to the society appealing to Medhatai Patkar and ‘Ghar Bachao Ghar
Banao’ for help.

She undertook a 9 day hunger strike in May 2011, which resulted in
formation of two committees to look in to the irregularities and
corruption in SRA schemes and another to look in to regularisation on
slums. However, none of these committees were made functional under
pressure from builder lobby.

Once again, when the whole world was celebrating the beginning of a
new year, working class of Mumbai dwelling in bastis marched for two
days to continue their camp in Azad Maidan for ten days which resulted
in another investigation committee under Principal Secretary, Housing,
Government of Maharashtra to look in corruption and irregularities. It
was also said that no evictions and demolitions would be undertaken
while the investigations are on, but on April 2 – 3rd, in presence of
hundreds of policemen and bouncers of Shivalik builders, demolitions
were carried on in Ganesh Krupa Housing Society.

On April 2nd even Union Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation
Ministry, Mr. Ajay Maken wrote a detailed letter, asking Maharashtra
government to not go ahead with demolitions but even then 43 houses
were demolished. Why, when the Ministry of Environment and Forest
ordered demolition of Adarsh Housing Society, over illegalities even
then it stands tall on Mumbai’s coast, working class of Mumbai asks ?

CM Shri Prithviraj Chauhan on several occasions assured Medhatai
Patkar and Andolan of an inquiry into the matter of Golibar
demolitions, and the larger issue of redevelopment of slums in Mumbai,
no action has been taken over. This has forced Medhatai to go on an
indefinite fast to get justice once again, within a span of two years.

What’s the history of Ganesh Krupa Society?

The slum housing the Ganesh Krupa Society consists of 324 tenements.
The slum was declared in 1997 and the rehabilitation scheme was
approved in favour of M/s Madhu Construction Company, to which the
slum dwellers were amenable. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority had
issued a Letter of Intent bearing No. SRAIENG/819/HE/PULOI dated 3rd
October 2004 in favour of Madhu Constructions, however due to
financial constraints and pressure from big companies, Madhu
Constructions could not undertake the project and hence entered into a
Joint Venture Agreement with Shivalik Ventures Pvt. Ltd. on 3rd March
2008, without the knowledge of the slum dwellers. Thereafter Shivalik
Ventures indulged in forging documents to procure the Letter of Intent
bearing No. SRA/ENG/1188/HE/ML/LOI dated 20th August 2009. The crucial
resolution dated 7th February 2009 of the Society approving of and
giving consent to the company to carry out the development itself has
been fabricated by Shivalik Ventures, in respect of which criminal
proceedings initiated by the slum dwellers are pending. However,
relying on the fraudulent document and consequential actions Shivalik
has succeeded in obtaining favourable orders from the Courts and began
forcible and illegal demolition of houses in the slum. While 167
families have voluntarily shifted, but 48 houses were demolished in
January 2011, and on 19th and 20th May 2011, 24 houses in total were
demolished, and 43 houses on April 2-3, 2013..

The slum dwellers have already initiated criminal action in regard to
the fraudulent document purported to be the General Body Resolution
dated 7th February 2009 and can always avail of the necessary civil
remedies available to them, there is one another important aspect that
is of mammoth proportions and consequences, and this being the link of
this, and other projects of Shivalik Ventures, to the 2G scam.

Who is Shivalik Ventures?

Unitech owns 50% of shares of Shivalik Ventures Pvt. Ltd. even as per
its own website and Annual Report 2009-10 (page 52). The Annual Report
2009-10 of Unitech further provides under the heading “Capital
Commitment” that:

“Investment in 10,00,000 equity shares of Rs. 10 each at a premium of
Rs. 9990/-per share aggregating of Rs. 1000 crore has been made in
joint venture company, Shivalik Ventures Pvt. Ltd. An Amount of Rs.
442.77 crore has been paid against the allotment of fully paid-up
shares. The balance securities premium of Rs.557.23 crores will be
accounted for on payment.”

As pointed above, Shivalik Ventures, in turn, has entered into an
agreement of Joint Venture on 2nd March 2008 with M/s Madhu
Construction Company to jointly develop Ganesh Krupa slum at Golibar.

It is important to highlight the period during which Unitech has
entered into re-development of slums in Mumbai since it corresponds to
the period during which it illegally secured thousands of crores in
the 2G scam. The Director of Unitech has been included in the charge
sheet filed by CBI and has been under arrest since then. And as per
the CAG report, Unitech after availing the Spectrum licence in
September – October 2008 for Rs 1658 crores subsequently sold it off
to Telenor company at the rate of Rs 6120 crores. According to CBI,
Unitech was alloted Unified Access Service licenses in 22 circles for
Rs.1,658 crores, 60% of which it offloaded to Norway’s Telenor even
before roll-out.

We are apprehensive that this illegal gratification enjoyed by the
Company has been diverted and invested in its 50% equity at the
Shivalik Ventures Pvt. Ltd. and the same is being channeled into the
developmental projects of Shivalik Ventures including the slum
projects in Golibar.

Why is Medha Tai Patkar on an indefinite fast again ?

Previous attempts to initiate corrective action from the government’s
side have met with no success. Along with Medhatai, a large delegation
of 10,000 strong from different slums in Mumbai had even marched to
Azad Maidan in January to raise the issue of redevelopment. Despite
this, the police and builders men entered Ganesh Krupa with impunity
and razed it to the ground with a bulldozer. An indefinite fast is now
the only alternative left. These are the demands:

Right to Housing
HALT evictions and demolitions until the investigations by Principal
Secretary, Housing Mr. Debashish Chakravarty is completed.
Slum Rehabilitation Authority Scheme projects in Mumbai are full of
flaws, frauds and corruption leading to atrocities against the slum
dwellers. Thousands are made shelterless and sent on rent which is
discontinued and others decay in transit camps for years.
Hence, Revoke 3k clause and thus cancel the agreements between
builders and SRA for the 6 projects where 3k has been applied.
including Shivalik – a part of 2G spectrum scam.
Review SRA scheme itself and modify it to allow Self-development as an option.
Revive the two Independent Enquiry Committees which had members from
civil society as well and were formed in May 2011 to investigate SRA
projects where conflict and protest has arisen between the people and
authorities.
Implement Rajiv Aawas Yojna across the slums in Mumbai, which promises
a house to everyone without one, irrespective of a cut off date
through the model of self development.
Implement Slum Act and declare unauthorised colonies as ‘Slums’ to
carry on slum improvement with basic amenities.
After revoking Urban Land Ceiling Act, 30,000 Acres land should have
become available, which can still be acquired by State Government and
distributed amongst urban poor and middle class cooperative societies
for housing.
No development plan should be without the free prior consent of the
Basti Sabha. Bring amendments or a new legislation to incorporate this
provision in the Nagar Raj Act.

Services to Urban Poor
Revoke all cut off dates in any existing policy or act for supply of
water, right to water is a fundamental right of everyone, as of now
the cut off date is year 1995.
Sanitation, electricity, and roads should be made available to all BPL
families at a priority basis.
Have a meeting with the Secretary, Minister, Controller and the Right
to Food State Adviser to implement the universal PDS with efficiency,
and without corruption.

What can you do?

Join in large numbers at the dharna sthal in Golibar (nearest station
is Khar Road, Santacruz on Western line) stand in support of the
movement, spread the word to the wider public, media, and/or, cover
the story yourself.

You must also write to them to address this injustice and the way
lives of working class people are being put at stake in Mumbai and
their rights to housing denied.

1.

Shri Prithviraj Chavan,

Chief Minister,

Government of Maharashtra,

Mantrayala, Mumbai

Ph: 022-23634950

E-mail: [email protected],

[email protected]
Shri Debashish Chakrabarty,

Principal Secretary, Housing,

Government of Maharashtra,

Mantrayala, Mumbai

Ph: 022-22023036

E-mail: [email protected]

2.Sh. Ajay Maken

Union Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation

Phone :011 – 23061928 / 42/ 23063989 Fax : 23061780

email :[email protected]

3. Justice K G Balakrishnan

Chaiperson, National Human Rights Commission Delhi.

Fax 91-11-23384012

email : [email protected], [email protected]

4. Prof. Shantha Sinha, Chairperson

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

23731583
23731584 (Fax), [email protected]

5. Smt. Sonia Gandhi
10, Janpath, New Delhi.
Tel. (O) : 23792263, 23019080
Tel. (R) : 23014161, 23014481
Fax : 23018651

email : [email protected]

6. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Oppsition

Ambala Cantt.(Haryana)
01123794344, 9868181930
[email protected]

7. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi. India-110011.

Telephone: 91-11-23012312. Fax: 91-11-23019545 / 91-11-23016857.

email : [email protected]

 

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Mod lies EXPOSED #fakencounter-Ishrat Jahan case: Gujarat HC satisfied with CBI probe #goodnews

PTI

Gujarat High Court on Friday expressed satisfaction about the progress made by CBI in the investigation of Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, and ordered it to submit the next progress report by May 9.

CBI, ordered by the HC to take over the probe in December 2011, on Thursday submitted a progress report in a sealed cover.

On Friday, the division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari said the pace and direction of the probe were satisfactory. “It looks like in past two months CBI has made a substantial progress,” the judges said.

At the last hearing in January, when CBI submitted its first report, the court wasn’t much happy and decided to monitor the probe.

Subsequently, CBI arrested four Gujarat police officers: IPS officer Girish Singhal, deputy superintendent of police Tarun Barot, inspector Bharat Patel and retired deputy superintendent of police J.G. Parmar.

Ishrat Jahan, who hailed from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjadali Rana were killed by the Gujarat police in an encounter on June 15, 2004 on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

During the hearing, the state government’s lawyer raised the issue of sending back Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Satish Verma, who had been asked by the HC to join the CBI probe despite the state government’s objection.

Mr. Verma was a part of the Special Investigation Team constituted by the HC in this case; he was the first to say in his report that Ishrat and others were killed in a fake encounter.

“We need him urgently as he is one of the senior and experienced officer of the state police,” Government Pleader Prakash Jani said. Mr. Verma could be sent back to state service as CBI had now made a substantial progress in probe, he said.

“As per this court’s order dated January 11, 2013, Mr. Verma’s services for this case were allowed only for three months,” he said.

But the bench, while rejecting CBI’s request for continuing Mr. Verma’s deputation for four months, said he can continue to assist CBI till April-end, and by then CBI should get done whatever it wanted him to do for the probe.

“From May 1, 2013 Satish Verma should return to the state government,” the HC said, fixing the next hearing on May 10.

 

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#Mumbai- Girl jumps out of auto to foil molestation bid #Vaw

rape

PTI, Jan 4, 2013, Thane

A teenaged girl jumped out of a moving autorickshaw to save herself from the clutches of three men, who allegedly tried to molest and kidnap her, in Mumbra township of neighbouring Thane district, police said on Friday.

The 17-year-old girl boarded an autorickshaw on a shared basis along with two men in Mumbra yesterday morning.

However, when she realised that the autorickshaw driver was taking the vehicle on a different route, she raised an alarm, police sub-inspector Chihvad Shetty said.

But, the men sitting besides her allegedly tried to molest her in the moving vehicle and assaulted her.

However, the girl managed to jump out from the moving vehicle to save herself and later went to Mumbra police station and filed a complaint against three unidentified persons, including the autorickshaw driver, Mr. Shetty said.

Police have registered an offence under sections 366 (abduction), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 323 of the IPC and have launched a search for the accused.

A similar incident was reported in Bihar’s Bhojpur district on Thursday where a woman jumped from a speeding express train to escape from molesters, who were identified as army jawans.

  • #India-Woman jumps from speeding train to escape molesters #Vaw (kractivist.wordpress.com)

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Invitation for a Film Treat at TISS- May 8, Block it !!


The School of Media and Cultural Studies invites you to a screening of  a series of five final films by the Class of 2012. The film screenings will be followed by an interaction and discussion with the filmmakers.

Date: May 8, 2012
Time: 10 am to 1 pm
Venue: Library Conference Hall, TISS Main Campus, Opp Deonar bus depot

ENTRY IS FREE AND OPEN TO ALL

The details of the films follow.

BREAKIN’ MUMBAI
2012, 33 Mins, Hindi with English Subtitles
A film by Aakriti Kohli, Sandeep Kr. Singh, Shweta Ghosh, Gin Khan Siam and Sumit Singh

Gani, a 21-year old, has done many things for a living: bag-making, embroidery work and working at a call
centre.18-year old Aman studies in school. He loves eating mangoes and chenna-murgi. He sketches and
plays cricket. The two have very little in common, but there is one thing that binds them- Breaking, a dance form that started back in the 70s in the Bronx, New York. Since then, it has grown popular across countries and has moulded itself to fit into specific cultures.

This film looks at what it means to be a breaker in Mumbai, how breaking becomes a site of expression of
subaltern youth cultures and what it means to win and lose battles. Through the personal lives of Gani, Aman and their friends, the film tries to understand the dynamics of  breaking, and explores questions of space and the avenues for leisure in Mumbai.

NISWAN-E-MUMBRA
The Women of Mumbra
2012, 21 mins., Hindustani with English Subtitles
A film by Shazia Nigar, Sharib Ali and Ufaque Paikar

The riots of 1992-93 changed the spatial character of the city of Mumbai.While some Muslims left the city out of choice others were forced to leave in search of security. It was in this context that Mumbra, a Muslim ghetto, was established. Niswa-E-Mumbra is a film that explores the lives of Muslim women in Mumbra, through two central characters. Shireen Kamal Dehlvi is a journalist working with an Urdu daily. With her stories of struggle she brings to life what it means not just be Muslim but also a woman in contemporary times.

Kausar is an activist working with a women’s organisation called Awaaz-E-Niswan. Through her working on women she throws light on the present infrastructural problems in Mumbra and the struggles they pose for women. The film dwells on questions which attempts to answer weather the life of a Muslim woman is any different from that of other women.

BHARATMATA KI JAI
The story of a single-screen theatre in Mumbai’s mill country
2012, 28 minutes, Hindi, Marathi and English with English subtitles
A Film by Avadhoot Khanolkar, Amol Ranjan, Anurag Mazumdar, Arpita Chakraborthy and Shweta Radhakrishnan

At the heart of Mumbai’s mill country, Lalbaug-Parel, stands Bharatmata Cinema, one of the remaining single screen theatres that plays only Marathi films. The theatre is an iconic reminder of a colourful working class culture which is now on the decline in Mumbai. Through the narratives of Kapil Bhopatkar, the owner, and Baban, one of the oldest employees of the theatre, the film explores the history and development of Bharatmata as a space for articulating the cultural identity of Mumbai’s working class and ponders on its existence and survival. The characters, though from widely disparate socio-economic classes, come together in their passionate love for cinema and their celebration of the main character in the film, Bharatmata Cinema itself.

A HOME HERE
2012, 23 mins, English with subtitles
A Film by Vikram Buragohain, Kaikho Paphro, Joyashree Sarma, Daisy Leivon, Abhishek Yadav

From the echoing hills of the North east to a bustling city of Mumbai by the sea, the film is about the people who have made this journey in search of better life. But does the journey end here?

Amidst the changes and negotiations, the search for familiar faces and flavours of food lead them all to Kalina. In the film, a musician, an entrepreneur, a researcher, a homemaker and a martial art trainer, reflect on their lived experiences and the efforts to recreate their homes and maintain their identity in the city.
The film explores Kalina as a space and the elements of food and music which link them to their homeland and its memories.

TAMASHA– A RUSTIC DRAMA
30 min, Marathi with English subtitles
A Film By Devendra Ghorpade, Manoj Bhandare, Prakash Sao and Raju Hittalamani

This is a film on the performing artists of Tamasha and the changing facets of art form itself. Women have been an integral part of Tamasha contributing on and off stage. Their lives and struggles are a result of the interplay between social constructions, the changing location and form of Tamasha. Kanthabai Satarkar is a veteran Tamashgir. With her first performance at the age of nine, she grew as an artist to manage one of the biggest Tamasha troupes in Maharashtra. With over six decades of experience, her life bears witness to the journey of Tamasha and lives of those associated with it.

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The feminist poets of Mumbra

Mohammed Wajihuddin, TNN | Mar 4, 2012,

In a modest flat off a dusty lane in the Muslim-majority town of Mumbra, a group of young girls is sitting in a semi-circle. Before they entered the apartment, they were all covered with the black veil, the unofficial dress code of any conservative Muslim mohalla in the subcontinent. But now, faces kissed by the sunlight, they await their turn at something equally liberating: poetry.

The young poets, initiated into the art two years ago, are gearing up to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 with yet another poetry recitation session. Emotions-some raw, others mature beyond their tender years-flow as the girls’ words become banners of dissent. Their poems protest the many inequalities that women face-female foeticide, financial dependence on men, unrequited love and the curses of divorce and widowhood.

The group came into being after Iranian-American poet Roxy Azari conducted a two-month-long poetry workshop for the young women in 2010. Azari, then on a Watson Fellowship, toured seven countries to engage young Muslim women and train them to express themselves through poetry. Her first stop was the 27-year-old Mumbai-based advocacy group Awaz-e-Niswan.

“Three days a week, Roxy would visit Awaz-e-Niswan’s Rahnuma Library at Mumbra and discuss socio-political issues with us. Then she would ask us to pen our feelings,” recalls Saba Khan who coordinated the poetry workshop. Both Awaz-e-Niswan and Rehnuma Library basically counsel and educate women on their rights, and the poetry sessions held now are an adjunct of the same philosophy-a desire to be free from the oppression of men.

Azari, famous for her slam poetry performances, left after the workshop for other destinations and better things, but she definitely ignited the dormant poet in a dozen or so young women. Each member of the group penned several poems, which are now part of a collection appropriately and evocatively titled Bebaak Qalam (Frank Pen). Three of them-Neha Ansari, Rabia Siddiqui and Faiza Shaikh-collaborated on an imaginative poem titled Agar Main Mard Hoti (If I were A Man) which portrays the many things men take for granted. For instance: “Agar main mard hoti/Subah der tak soti/Raat ghar der se aati (If I were a man/I would sleep late into the morning/ Come home late at night). And the poem perhaps expresses a collective feeling when it declares: “If I were a man/I would change the attitude of all men).”

Siddiqui, who studies at SNDT Women’s College, Juhu, says that before she joined the workshop she never realised her poetic talent. “I would occasionally read Ghalib and Faiz, but the workshop emboldened me not just to write poems but even continue my education,” says Siddiqui, who adds that her brother did not want her to study beyond Std 12, but her husband is “quite supportive”. “I am restless if I don’t write for a few days. I feel good after I have penned a few lines,” she says.

Evidently, poetry-writing provides a catharsis to these girls who otherwise have limited avenues to vent their suppressed feelings. They may not take out morchas in the streets but their poems hold aloft banners of protest. Fauzia Qureishi, by far the most accomplished in this young, bubbly group, has many poems to her credit, but the one about zindan (prison) and azm (ambition) clearly shines through the collection. The long poem talks about almost everything that a girl from a conservative Indian Muslim family has to face-early marriage, the threat of triple talaq, the gruelling work at home and the restrictions put in her path. “It is not just my story alone, but my protest on behalf of all the women who are suppressed and oppressed in a male-dominated society,” says the bespectacled Qureishi, quoting a couplet: “Kab tak kisi ki milkiyat main maani jaaon/Ek mard ki pehchan se kyon jaani jaaon (For how long am I going to be considered a property/Why should I be identified with the identity of a man?).

Mumbra may seem like an unlikely centre for feminist poetry but these young women are taking it there.

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