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Supreme Court upholds verdict matching NREGA pay with state wages

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has refused to stay a recent Karnataka High Court verdict that has said the central government is liable to pay higher wages under the country’s flagship rural employment programme in tandem with that of the state minimum wage rate. It has further asked the government to find a way to end the disparity between the wages paid under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) and state mandated rates under the Minimum Wages Act.

The move might mean an additional outgo of around Rs 900 crore in the current financial year from the central government to six states which have a minimum wage rate that is higher than the MGNREGA rate. The Karnataka High Court had in September directed the central government to match the wages under MGNREGA with the state’s minimum wage rates.

The central government had however decided to file a Special Leave Petition to the SC contesting the order. The SC, however, stayedthe order on the payment of arrears prior to the Karnataka high court order providing the central government some relief. The Court stated that non-payment of minimum wages under the scheme is tantamount to forced labour.

It had further strongly urged the Solicitor General to harmonise the MGNREGA wage rates with minimum wages in a manner in which the state Minimum Wages Act is respected. The court also said that the matter should not be treated in an adversarial manner and asked the government to resolve the issue in a consultative manner.

Earlier rural development minister Jairam Ramesh had favoured softening the central government’s stance by complying with the KHC order while suggesting an amendment to create a special wage rate for MGNREGA under the Minimum Wages Act to tackle the issue on a long term basis.

Ramesh, however met opposition from the Finance Ministry and the Law Ministry and on the insistence of PM Manmohan Singh had to file the SLP. The six states with disparate wage rates are Andhra Pradesh , Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka , Mizoram and Goa.

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Caste atrocity in Lathor: Over 50 Dalit homes burnt by upper castes

by-Jadumanilion Boudha & Dhammachari Ratnakumar

An incident involving a small boy led to horrific caste violence in Lathor, Balangir district of Odisha, leaving 50 Dalit families homeless and destitute. On January 22, 2012, at around 3.00pm, Ganesh Suna, a 9th class dalit boy went to a shop to buy a new shirt, which he wore over the shirt he was already wearing. After he left the shop, the shopkeepers Bharat Meher and his brother Daya Meher, called him back and accused him of being a thief and beat him. When the boy was returning home helplessly, he met an old man Gouranga Suna and told him about the incident. Gouranga Suna asked the shopkeepers: why did you beat the boy? If he has stolen the shirt we can pay the money for that but you should not have beaten him. But, the shopkeepers did not listen to him and instead beat the old man (Gouranga Suna) too with their footwear. The old man reported to his family members, and then 4-5 youth from the Dalit community went to the shop and fought with them. These are the facts as they occurred at the beginning of the incident. And this set of events seems to have fueled the feeling of hatred of the upper castes (Savarna) against the Dalits (Asavarna).

reaction to this incident, the upper castes took advantage of being in a heavy majority over the Dalit minority, and attacked the Dalits with their weapons, sticks, and muscles power. Because the Dalit were in a minority, they could not face the violent force of the upper caste mob. So they tried to save themselves from this brutal violence and ran way from their homes. Some Dalit men went into the forest, some went to the nearest villages and some women saved themselves in other untouchable Ghasia Vasti (Scavenger colonies).

In this way, the upper castes created terror among the Dalits. The violent upper caste mob even looted gold ornaments and expensive materials from the Dalit homes. They burnt all the certificates of the students and other kinds of valuable documents. At the same time, they abused all the Dalit women with derogatory language. The upper caste traders, like Marwadi Agrawals, even distributed liquor and petrol freely to burn the Dalit houses. Meanwhile, some Dalits tried to register an F.I.R., in the Lathor police station, but the police refused to register the case and were unable to handle the catastrophic situation. The violence in the wake of the incident became very serious, and so uncontrollable that no one was able to stop the upper castes; the mob even beat up a local news reporter of Kanak TV and threatened the Dharitri reporter, Bhubaneswar Barik. The upper caste mob marched on the roads and blocked all traffic; they burnt tyres on the road and dug up the road so that all vehicles and communication towards Lathor was stopped.

The burning went on upto 6 hours according to OTV news channel, but the fact is that it lasted more than 6 hours, according to the Dalit villagers and other eye witnesses. The upper caste mob fearlessly attacked the fire brigade and burnt their vehicle so that the fire could not be stopped and they could burn all the houses with impunity. Since nobody had the courage to douse the fires, so everything burned to ashes. According to the latest reports, there are no commodities and food grains left in the houses, and nothing could be used until the case is registered and the fire brigade stops the fire. Police reached there at midnight and tried to protect the Dalit victims.

On 23rd January, in the morning, the DIG reached the spot with another battalion and ordered the fire brigade commandos to stop the fire. When the fire was stopped, there was nothing left which could be collected for use. It was only then that the government machinery started following the case, and in the late morning at 10 or 11 am, the administrative officers, the Tahasildar and the BDO, reached the village to investigate the incident. The officers took the Dalits rendered homeless to a Govt School and provided some kind of relief and distributed some Biscuits, Shawls and Chuda. The distributed food items were useless, could not be eaten as they were of a low quality. The rehabilitation programme taken up by the government is insufficient. All the homeless Dalits were crammed in the Govt school of the village, which offers inadequate accommodation. The victimized and homeless Dalits need proper rehabilitation, adequate help and emotional support.

The Dalits of Lathor have lost their homes, property, wealth, clothes, bikes, books and are hopeless and homeless. More than 4 crores wealth has been lost. The whole Dalit Vasti was burnt, where more than fifty families were living, and there is nothing that can be retrieved from their homes: they have lost everything. The children, women and men are displaced from their homes. The rehabilitation programme undertaken by the government is extremely insufficient; all the people are currently rehabilitated in a government school. Their situation is very pathetic, people are crying; after such a brutal attack by the caste Hindus, nobody seems capable of thinking, even the Police and administration are unable to give justice.

From TV reports, it is learnt that the Odisha Chief Minister declared a sum of rs.1 lakh to each victimized family as compensation. These are the facts and data that we collected with limited resources. There are more victims whose names have to be added and more details yet to be gathered.

Update: As of today (January 24, 2012), the victims still face an indifferent administration and unsympathetic police who, for instance, still refuse to give a copy of the F.I.R., to the victims.

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Grave concerns over security laws in Kashmir

Two days into 2012, a student was killed and two more were injured in a village in North Kashmir when the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) guarding a hydroelectric plant opened fire on protesters, shattering a tenuous peace. In the recent past, (and most noticeably in 2010), students who have come out on to the streets chanting pro-freedom slogans – as part of a struggle for self determination whose roots go back further than Indian independence – have been fired upon and killed. This time, the protesters were merely demanding more electricity on an icy winter day during an acute power shortage. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was quick to declare that the CISF did not come under the ambit of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) – an extraordinary and draconian piece of security legislation – and sought to raise the pitch for partial revocation of the law.

AFSPA was enacted in 1990, ostensibly to fight the insurgency and armed militancy that surfaced in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and in some parts of northeast India. Although the government admits that militancy has significantly reduced in Kashmir, the law has not been revoked. In October last year Abdullah began issuing statements to the effect that AFSPA must be partially revoked.

Trampling human rights

Activists say there are two disturbing aspects of the law that can grossly trample upon fundamental human rights. One is the de jure abrogation of constitutional guarantees – such as the right to life – because of the extraordinary and unbridled powers it bestows on security troops to arrest, detain, destroy property and even kill on the basis of ‘reasonable suspicion’.

The other is the shield of immunity whereby it is not possible to prosecute armed forces, even for the most heinous crimes, without the sanction of the Central Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry. The state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian government claim there are provisions within the law for punitive action. In practice, impunity is deeply rooted.

Under the guise of defending the nation’s sovereignty at any cost, the police and armed forces have perpetrated huge crimes  .
Khurram Parvez, a rights activist working with Jammu Kashmir Civil Society (JKCS), says that the complete lack of culpability has been so pervasive that it has permeated down even to the police, who do not come under AFSPA. He says that under the guise of defending the nation’s sovereignty at any cost, the police and armed forces have perpetrated huge crimes such as custodial killings, mass rapes and enforced disappearances. ‘But who in the past 22 years has been punished, even when indicted?’ he asks.

Which way now for Kashmir? 

On the contrary, he charges, the state’s policy of handing out incentives in the form of payments for encounter killings has exacerbated the scale of rights violations. A recent example is the Macchil case, when three youths from poor families were recruited by an army unit to work as high-altitude porters. They were cold-bloodedly killed on 30 April 2010 after being falsely labelled as militants. A member of the state’s human rights commission charged the offending army personnel of murdering them to gain ‘undue promotions, awards and rewards’.

Parvez says any talk of revocation of the law from parts of Kashmir is meaningless if the political will to end this culture of immunity is lacking. ‘The crux of the issue is not whether such security laws are good or bad, but that they have engendered complete lawlessness. Armed personnel have violated every standard operating procedure, even within this draconian law. For example, any person who has been picked up for interrogation must be presented before the magistrate within a day or two. This is never done. That is why you have at least 8,000 cases of enforced disappearances, a figure that has been arrived at by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP),’ he adds.

The state has long denied these figures. It maintains that the missing youths crossed the border to Pakistan to train as militants. The state has also declared that many of the anonymous and unidentified graves that lie scattered all over Kashmir contain bodies of militants, mainly foreign fighters from Pakistan or Afghanistan who had infiltrated the state.
Cover up exposed

Significantly, in September 2011 this cover up was blown away. What had been an open secret well documented by rights groups was eventually acknowledged by the state’s human rights commission (SHRC). A team comprising 11 members and led by senior police officer Bashir Itoo admitted, to the state’s acute discomfiture, that graves in North Kashmir contained the remains of locals. There was every possibility they contained bodies of those who had suffered ‘enforced disappearances’.

The state team began in 2008 its investigation of anonymous graves in 38 sites in North Kashmir. Their report states that out of 2,730 unidentified bodies that were buried, 574 were later identified as locals. The report also notes that some of the bodies, besides bearing bullet injuries, were also defaced. At least 20 were charred and five comprised only of skulls. At least 18 graves contained more than one unidentified body.

A local Kashmiri daily recently reported that one of the mass graves in Bimiyar, Baramulla district, contained the bullet-riddled body of a six-month-old infant. Atta Mohammed Wali Khan, a local gravedigger who testified before the state’s inquiry team, confirms burying the baby. All the bodies had been brought in by the police.

It is not possible to prosecute armed forces, even for the most heinous crimes, without the sanction of the Central Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry

It is the norm for security troops to hand over to the police for burial the bodies of those killed in encounters with militants, or civilians caught in crossfire. It is mandatory for the police, in turn, to maintain proper identification profiles, taking photos of those killed and placing them in the public domain. Suspicious deaths, such as those with slit throats, strangulation marks or signs of visible torture, must be investigated. But, as the state report indicates, none of this had been adhered to.

Itoo, who led the investigations despite the challenges of ‘insufficient logistical support’, confirms that the local police did not keep any such identification profiles, and in ‘some cases police claims were falsified’.

Demands have now grown for the investigation into anonymous graves to be extended to the whole of Kashmir. There is scarcely a district that does not contain such graves. Many of them spring up in open spaces adjoining police stations or security forces’ camps. Human rights groups such as the JKCS and the state human rights commission have sought accountability by demanding that all the graves be examined and a comprehensive DNA data base established for crosschecking with DNA samples of the next of kin of people who have disappeared.

What reconciliation?

At least 14,123 families have agreed to such DNA testing in a bid to bring about closure and end the agonizing search for loved ones. ‘But how serious [about it] is the state?’ wonders Parvez. The APDP has expressed concern that although three months have passed since the SHRC’s findings and recommendations, the government has done nothing. The Chief Minister’s only response has been to call for a truth and reconciliation committee.

‘There is no talk about finding the perpetrators of the crimes: the army, paramilitary troops, officers and civil administrators who aided and abetted them. There is no talk of trying them and giving them appropriate, even exemplary punishment’

This leads Kashmiri writer, researcher and legal activist Arif Ayaz Parray to declare that what the state is doing in a ‘legalistic’ sense is replacing ‘justice’ with ‘acknowledgment’. He explains: ‘There is no talk about finding the perpetrators of the crimes: the army, paramilitary troops, officers and civil administrators who aided and abetted them. There is no talk of trying them and giving them appropriate, even exemplary punishment, not only for “disappearing” people, killing them in fake gun battles and dumping them in mass graves, but also for failing to maintain DNA profiles and pictures of those killed and sharing the records with the administration of Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi and Islamabad.

‘The state is absolving itself by pleading the impossibility of such justice – conveniently choosing to gloss over the fact that it is the state itself which has made it impossible in the first place, as a matter of policy – and therefore offering “reconciliation” in its place. What reconciliation?’

He likens this latest example of acknowledgment to a case of ‘double disappearance’. ‘Figuratively, the state took children from their mothers’ laps, killed them and buried them anonymously, creating a void which has hardened over many years. Now it wants to return the skeletons back to the mothers’ laps, force the void shut and claim that restorative justice has been delivered.’

Freny Manecksha is a freelance journalist.

Source- New Internationalist

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URGENT: Villagers Protest Against vedanta Red Mud Pond

Activist Satyabadi Naik’s shocking video of police crackdown on a peaceful protest by women of Rengopalli and other villages against Vedanta’s toxic Red Mud Pond in Lanjigarh. This video was recorded on 23 Jan 2012.

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Protest Rally and Memorandum to President of India on Pipili Mass Rape


Demanding CBI Inquiry into the Pipili mass rape case, Speedy trial of all other rape and murder cases and women atrocities cases, adequate compensation to the victims, removal of police, doctors and other administrative officials from the government job, investigation though a sitting judge of High Court and action under various provisions of SC & ST atrocities Act; thousands of men and women took out a rally on 21ST January 22, 2012, Saturday in Bhubaneswar to submit a memorandum to the President of India.

Before submitting the memorandum a huge rally marched from Master Canteen Square to PMG Square to protest against the injustice done to victim of Pipili mass rape case and her family and so against the indifference of the state government on number of such cases thereafter.

The rally was jointly organized by a consortium consisting of major political parties, mass organizations and Human Rights Organisations like Samrudha Odisha, OCP, RJD, JD(U), Odisha Dalit Adhikar Manch, Kalinga National Front, Adimabasi Surakhya Parishad, Odisha Samajika Nyaya Surakhya Parishad, Chashi Surakhya Samiti, NACODAR Odisha Chapter, Odisha Lok Adhikar Sangathan, All India Sabar Association, Human Rights Front etc.

Speaking at the rally, leaders of various political streams criticized the indifference attitude of the state government, which has brought more troubles for the victims and their families. The meeting was moderated by Manas Jena.

Prominent among the leaders who led and addressed the demonstration were former Union Ministers Braja Kishor Tripathy, Bhajaman Behera, Jatish Mohanty, Ajeya Raut,Harish Mahapatra, Jayanta Bhoi, Manas Jena, Sudarshan Chhotray, Ashoka Mallick, Prabir Mohanty, Lalit Patnaik, Sasmita Behera,Manoj Jena,Saroj Kumar Prusty, Mamata Samantaray, Saudamini Samantray, Chinmoyi Senapati, Akhaya Das, Pradeep Pradhan, Ashoka Das, Manamohan Nayak, Gayadhar Mallick, Bhimasen Bhoi,Laxmidhar Behera, Gorachand Barik, Nirakar Behura and others.

A delegation consisting of Sudarshan Chhotray, Hairsh Mahapatra, Sasmita Behera, Jayanta Bhoi, Wing Commander Gorachand Barik, Simancha Nayak, Prasanta Mallik, Theofil Gamango,Saroj Kumar Prusti, and Praduyumna Nayak met and discussed with Surendra Prasad Mishra special secretary to Governor and had submitted the Memorandum addressed to the PRESIDENT OF INDIA submitted through the Governor of Odisha. The delegation had demanded CBI Inquiry of Pipili case and had also asked the Governor to take necessary action.

In solidarity


To                                                                                                                      Date-21/01/2012

Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil

Her Excellency, Honorable President of India

Rashtrapati Bhawan, NewDelhi

(Through His Excellency the Governor of Odisha)

Respected Madam,

We, the undersigned representatives of various political parties, mass organizations, Human Rights Activists of Odisha draw your kind attention to the inhuman, brutal atrocity perpetrated on a Scheduled Caste girl of 17 years under Pipili police station of Puri district in the state of Odisha and similar nature of atrocity cases on ordinary poor people, women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Minorities and backward communities in the state for your urgent intervention. During the last 12 years of BJD-BJP/BJD Rule, about 12,000 (twelve thousand) rape cases and ten thousand of atrocity cases against SC and ST communities have been registered in the state. Final trial and delivery of judgment are taking unduly long time.

Through this memorandum we bring before your Excellency the criminal negligence of the Government, & Specifically the state law enforcement agencies, Home Department, Health and Family Welfare Department, SC & ST Development Department and Women & Child Development Department in discharging their duty to ensure security, and justice to the citizens of the country as guaranteed in the Constitution of India.

Brief details of the instant case are as follows:

Ms Babina Behera, aged 17 years, daughter of Mr. Babuli Behera and Ms. Kamala Behera, belongs to Village–Arjungada, under Pipili police station in Puri district of Odisha. She hails from the Scheduled Caste community and her sub-caste is Bauri, which is one of the most socially and economically weaker sections of the community in the state. In January, 2008, Ms. Babina Behera and her friend Ms.Pravati Behera, belonging to the OBC community, daughter of Mr. Ramesh Behera of the same village were accosted and molested by some of the present accused. The F.I.R of Ms.Babina Behera was not accepted by the local police station but the F.I.R of Ms. Pravati Behera was registered and the case of Ms. Pravati Behera is under trial in court, after intervention by the state human rights Commission. Unfortunately Ms. Pravati Behera died later under suspicious circumstances. Since then, the perpetrators are continuously harassing Ms. Babina Behera as she was the only eye witness to the incident. Ms. Babina Behera, who was a student, was virtually circumvented from attending school and her family members too have been coerced in as many ways. The perpetrators belong to the local dominant community backed by the ruling party leaders in the locality.

All of a sudden, the entire issue took a different turn on 29th November, 2011. In the early morning hours, around 7.30, Ms. Babina Behera was found lying naked in grievously wounded and unconscious state in a field nearby her house. She was brutally raped and strangulated. Ms. Babina Behera’s father lodged F.I.R in the local police station on the same day but his F.I.R was not accepted by the local police; rather, the police personnel misbehaved and abused the grief-stricken victim’s father.

The victim’s family members rushed her to the local Pipili P.H.C (Primary Health Centre) and then referred to Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar in a span of hardly 20 minutes and afterwards she was sent to the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. Over there, she was callously neglected and forcibly discharged in the same comatose state on 14th December 2011. Back to square one, she was physically taken to the office of the State Commission for Women on 8th January, 2012. But most unfortunately, the Chairperson of State Commission for Women refused to attend to her taking the plea of the day being a Sunday. In utter desperation, she was taken to the State Human Rights Commission on 9th January, 2012. Mercifully, the State Human Rights Commission and the Honorable High Court, Cuttack intervened in the matter on 10th January, 2012.  As a result, Ms. Babina Behera managed to get readmitted to the Central ICU of SCB Medical College & Hospital for treatment. Incidentally, the F.I.R was registered on 9th January, 2012 at Pipili Police station P.S Case no-10/2012 under Section- 341, 307,376, 506, 34 IPC and 3 SC& ST(PoA)Act-1989. Even after this, the state Government has not shown any sincere response that the case deserves.

The helpless victim, a Scheduled Caste girl has been most pathetically harassed and shabbily treated by the public institutions, police station, hospitals and all these happening due to governance system degeneration during the tenure of the present Government. It is a matter of national shame as to how the whole family members are being pressurized and harassed beyond the point of endurance by dominant caste predators in connivance with the local ruling party leaders for the last three years. Though, the case attracts the provisions of SC and ST (POA) Act 1989 and Rules 1995 but no initiative has been taken by the Government, especially SC and ST Development Department and other allied departments in this regard.

It is matter of fact that thousands of rape cases of women have been registered in different police stations and an equal number of incidents have been reported in media which are neither being investigated nor registered for a number of reasons. The White Paper of Home Department, Govt. of Odisha has reported about fifteen hundred cases of atrocities committed on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes communities each year and the number has been increasing in an alarming rate. Innumerable no of incidents are taking place in rural Odisha and not getting registered due to the pressure of ruling party leaders. It is unfortunate that even through the police administration and the Home Department are directly under the Chief Minister since last 12 years, law and order situation and atrocities against women SCs, STs and other weaker sections are worsening year after year.

Contextually, we appeal to your Excellency to direct the State government and Central Government:

1-To conduct CBI inquiry in the case of Ms. Babina Behera.

2-To pay compensation to the victim and her family members much beyond the provision of the Act in view of the most inhuman and unprecedented nature of the case.

3. To ensure that Ms. Babina gets the best of the treatment, she survives and leads a normal life.

4-To inflict punishment on all those perpetrators, police, physicians and others directly or indirectly related to the cases for their criminal negligence in dealing with the matter without care, sympathy and blatantly violating all protective laws for the Scheduled Castes and women.

5-To ensure that investigation and trial of the Ms. Babina Behera case is completed within two months of time through Special Trial Court and the guilty are punished.

6. To appoint a  sitting High Court Judge as Head of Judiciary Commission and to conduct extensive enquiry into rape and atrocity cases(Registered and not Registered) during the last 12 years by inviting the victims to file their complaint. The Commission should submit its recommendations within 1 year.

7-To appoint required number of special judges for speedy disposal of all such cases of atrocities committed against Women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Minority communities in the state.

We pray before your Excellency to consider this matter as most urgent and take appropriate action. This will instill faith among the ordinary people, especially the weaker sections of our society on the provisions of our protective laws mandated by the Constitution. Further, this will protect them from the oppressive dominant socio-economic system. With honour and trust on the highest office of our country, we are herewith submitting this memorandum through the Honorable Governor of Odisha. We further request you to give us an appointment at your earliest convenience to personally apprise you on matters of atrocities against women, and members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the state of Odisha.

With warm personal regards,

Yours Sincerely

Braja Kishore Tripathy                                       Bhajaman Behera                                 

Former Union Minister                                    Former Union Minister                             

Jatish Mohanty          Ajeya Rout                                                  

President, Samrudha Odisha     President, Odisha Communist Party

Harish Mohapatra                                                                          Kailash Mishra,

President, Rastriya Janata Dal,Odisha,                                     Editor, “The Amarikatha”

Ms.Santi Das                                                        Saroj Kumar Prusty                                                  

President, Kalinga National Front,     Vice-President, Janata Dal (U), Odisha                              


Jayanta Bhoi        Ashok Mallik                                                  

Secretary, Adimbasi Surakshya Manch,     President, NACDOR, Odisha,  

Lalit Pattnaik                                                           Theophil Gamago

Vice-President, Chasi Surakshya Abhijan, Odisha      Secretary, All India Sabara Association

Sudarshana Chhotaray                               Manoj Jena                                                                 Focus Odisha                                                                                        Manabika Adhikar Samukshya 

Prasant Mallick

  Coordinator, Odisha Dalit Adhikar Manch

Manas Jena, Human Rights Activist

Coordinator, on behalf of the signatories, Mob-09437060797.Tel/Fax no-0674-2551033.

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Wow! No internet required for Rajinikath’s website


New Delhi: A new website has been launched, dedicated to superstar Rajinikanth, which runs without an internet. It is shocking but true that you need not an internet connection to browse the superstar’s website.

It is said that if you switch on your internet connection, the site will stop working. Visitors to were warned that he is not an ordinary man and this is not an ordinary website. It runs on Rajini Power and netizens are asked to switch off internet connection to browse the superstar’s website.

Users can read Rajini’s history of both real and reel life from the beginning, browsing through famous Rajini jokes about impossible feats only he can achieve.

Webchutney‘s creative director Gurbaksh Singh, who developed the site, said that this unique website is a tribute to Rajinikanth.

The websites reflects Rajini’s signature style with a heady mix of foot-tapping music, vibrant splash of colours, quirky quotes and illustrations, and also icons in true Rajini style and lingo.

If a visitor attempts to re-connect the internet, an error message will appear in a Rajinikanth’s style.

“Aiyyo! That was unexpected. To keep browsing, switch off your Internet,” reads the message.

As per the reports, the website got 10,000 visits just after few hours of its launch. It has also become popular on Facebook and Twitter.

According to Singh, after a few iterations and testing, they cracked the code required to build the world’s first unique website that runs without switching on the internet and which is as awesome and unbelievable as miracles and stunts associated or performed by the superstar himself.

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Adivasi dies in police custody in Chhattisgarh

New Delhi,  Jan 16, 2012-Aman Sethi, The Hindu

On the day that Chief Minister Raman Singh addressed a public gathering to mark the creation of a separate Sukma district distinct from southern Chhattisgarh‘s Maoist affected Dantewada, a custodial death in the Sukma police station has underlined the difficulty in winning over a disaffected tribal populace in the backdrop of a violent counter-insurgency campaign.

Podiyam Mara of Kondre village died in Sukma police station on the night of January 13, just hours after he was presented before a magistrate and remanded to judicial custody. “Mara hanged himself in the police lock up using a bed sheet. Four constables have been suspended,” said a police spokesperson, “He was to be transferred to Dantewada jail, but he was held in the police station overnight as it was too late to travel on the night of the 13th.”

“[Mara] was picked up on January 12 during a CRPF operation and handed over the police in the following morning,” said Inspector General Pankaj Mishra of the Central Reserve Police Force, “If we encounter a suspect during an operation, the CRPF hands him over to the local police.”

However, policemen and party leaders from across the political spectrum say that the CRPF picked up Mr. Mara several days earlier, and brutally tortured before turning him over to the local police. The police and CRPF have denied these allegations.

“The CRPF caught Mara on January 9, just outside Sukma town. He had come to town to cash a cheque for money earned by collecting Tendu leaves,” said Kowasi Lakma, Vice President of the Chhattisgarh Congress Committee and Member of Parliament for the Konta constituency of which Sukma is a part. “I personally called everyone from the thana in-charge upwards to get him released. He was tortured to death… the CRPF electrocuted his genitals and poured petrol up his anus.”

“The police story of suicide is completely false. Mara was brutally assaulted in the CRPF camp in Sukma. There has to be a probe into the incident and the guilty must be brought to book,” said Manish Kunjam of the Communist Party of India, and former MLA from Konta, over the telephone. As per a January 16 report in the Indian Express, the post mortem confirmed that Mr. Mara had “swelling over the penis and lateral part of the anus”. The Express also quoted a policeman who said Mr. Mara’s genitals had been doused with petrol and set on fire.

Sources in the Intelligence agencies confirmed that the CRPF had played a role in Mr. Mara’s death. “He was picked up as it was suspected that he was a Naxalite. He was subjected to harsh interrogation and may have died of an internal hemorrhage, ” said the source, seeking anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. The source stopped short of commenting on Mr. Mara’s innocence. “The fact that there were no follow-up operations suggests that he did not provide any information of value,” said the source.

In September last year, The Hindu reported a similar instance where Madkam Jogarao, a, died of a brain hemorrhage soon after he was arrested and interrogated by the CRPF and district police.

“The new district of Sukma was created to bring the administration and the justice system closer to adivasis of Bastar. This is only possible when the ordinary citizen feels free and secure” said Nandkumar Sai, a senior tribal leader and BJP Rajya Sabha MP. “The medical report confirms that Mara was tortured. Suspending constables is not enough, a free and fair investigation must affix responsibility and punish the guilty.”

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CBI increases reward to Rs 10 lakh for info on Shehla Masood murder

 My Friend Shehla Masood

My Friend Shehla Masood

New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) The CBI today doubled the cash reward of Rs five lakh to Rs 10 lakh for information on the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood who was shot dead outside her house in Bhopal in August last year. CBI had registered a case against unnamed persons in connection with the incident on September 3 last year but it remains clueless about the mystery shrouding the murder prompting it to increase the reward money, CBI sources said. “Any credible information regarding the murder of Shehla Masood murder can be shared on 0425600927, 09425001643 and 09425661632,” CBI spokesperson said here. Shehla was shot dead when she was going towards her car outside her residence in posh Koh-e-Fiza locality in Bhopal on August 16. A team of AIIMS experts led by Forensic Scientist T D Dogra arrived in Bhopal on Thursday to give their insights on this complex case. The agency has also questioned some persons with regards to the case. The case was transferred to the CBI as Madhya Pradesh Police could not figure out the motive behind the murder but suspected she was eliminated by some powerful persons against whom she had filed RTI applications. Shehla had earlier gone on a hunger strike in Bhopal in support of Anna Hazare‘s cause. She was also involved in other causes, including wildlife conservation.

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Save Soni Sori and Punish Chattisgarh police for her torture

The recently received medical report of Soni Sori, a Chattisgarh school-teacher, has revealed that two large stones were planted deep inside her vagina and another stone inside her rectum. On October 20th, 2011, the Supreme Court had ordered the government of Chhattisgarh to send Sori to NRS Medical College in the neighboring state of West Bengal for an independent medical examination, based on credible reports of her torture and sexual abuse by the Chhattisgarh police . Evidence of spinal injuries have also been found in the medical reports. These findings conclusively point to the fact that Sori was tortured while she was in the custody of the Chhattisgarh police.

The facts in the medical report are also consistent with a new letter from Soni Sori, now filed with the Supreme Court, where she has described the torture she endured under the direct supervision of the Superintendent of Police (SP), Ankit Garg. She also communicated gruesome details of her prison torture to a relative and a friend who visited her in jail, who then conveyed the information to people in New Delhi assisting her with the case. The medical report, then, corroborates Sori’s allegations of intense sexual abuse and torture by the Chhattisgarh police.

In accordance with the 113th report of the Law Commission of India that suggested modifications to the India Evidence Act 1872, any injury sustained by a person in police custody can be presumed to be caused by the police unless proven otherwise. As evidenced by independent medical examination reports and Sori’s letters, the case meets the criteria for the presumption that specifically SP Ankit Garg and the police force under his command are responsible for her injuries.

I therefore demand that

All politically motivated charges against Soni Sori be dropped and that she be released immediately.

An independent investigation be launched against those who tortured Soni Sori and implicated her on false charges; and that the police officials involved in torture, particularly SP Ankit Garg be suspended immediately, pending this inquiry.

Harassment and intimidation of Soni Sori’s relatives cease immediately.

Pl sign Online petition and share widely

Soni Sori Online Petition

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