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Archives for : Nitish Kumar

#India – Tribal Woman raped in bus, helper arrested #Odisha #Vaw

RAPE

Odisha Tribal woman raped in moving bus

PTI : Bhubaneswar/Cuttack, Wed Jun 19 2013, 1

TOP ST

A 25-year-old tribal girl was allegedly raped by the helper of an air-conditioned luxury bus in which she was travelling, police today said. The accused identified as Susanta Hembram has been arrested for allegedly raping the tribal girl, resident of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, in the moving bus on Sunday night when other passengers were fast asleep, they said.

In her complaint, the victim alleged that Hembram raped her in the rear seat of the private bus en route Jagatpur near Cuttack, between 3 to 3.30 am when there were only few passengers and all of them were asleep, City DCP S Praveen Kumar said.

Hembram is believed to be an acquaintance of the victim,who works as a domestic help in Jagatpur, on the outskirts of Cuttack city. The incident came to light when the girl was rescued by some people at Gatiroutpatna, about 5 km from Cuttack on Cuttack-Jagatsinghpur road yesterday.

The Mahila police station of the city after registering a case sent both the accused and the victim for medical examination on the day. A police scientific team is also assisting the city police in investigating the case.

The State Transport Commissioner Surendra Kumar informed that the permit of the passenger bus in which the crime was committed has been cancelled. “It is one of the primary duties of the bus staff to ensure that the passengers boarding the buses travel safely and reach their destinations unharmed,” Kumar said. Meanwhile, the Private Bus Owners’ Association condemning the incident has demanded that stringent punishment should be given to the bus helper and urged the bus owners to ensure that the credentials of the persons are verified properly before they are recruited to perform duties in the buses plying at night.

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Vijay Shah, Foot-in-mouth Tribal welfare minister in soup over ‘sexist’ remarks again #Madhyapradesh #WTFnews

Venugopal Pillai & Rajesh Jauhri, TNN | Apr 16, 2013, 02.37 AM IST

INDORE: Tribal welfare minister Vijay Shah is at it again. Bigmouth Shah has landed himself into a controversy over remarks involving Sadhna Singh wife of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at the inaugural ceremony of a summer camp in Jhabua on Sunday afternoon. Shah had raised a stir and invoked sharp criticism over his remarks post Nirbhaya gang rape case that the parents of the girls staying in tribal hostels should be responsible for their safety.

The minister referring to distribution of warm clothes to girls in hostels went a bit too far dragging Sadhna Singh (Bhabhiji) stating that it was she who forced Shivraj to approve the programme to provide warm clothes for girls residing in state government hostels. He said, “Maine bhabhiji se kaha, chalo ghumakar lata hun, kabhi- kabhi dewar ke sath bhi chala kijiye. Bhabhi ne chatron ko thand me thithurte dekha to boli ki garam kapde kyun nahi diye. Fir unhone bhaisahab ko kaha ki ladkiyon ko kapde dilao nahi to tum bhi thithur jaoge” (I asked Bhabhiji (CM’s wife) to come with me as she always used to tour with bhaiya (CM). We went to a girls’ hostel where girls were reeling under extreme cold, on which bhabhi inquired why the girls were not provided with warm clothes. She was annoyed and asked bhaiya to provide warm clothes to girls warning that otherwise he too will have to shiver out in cold).

Repling to Jhabua district collector Jaishree Kiyawat’s request for providing track suits to the girls, Vijay Shah said in chaste Hindi: T shirt- track suit ka chakkar chodo, do-do t-shirt denge mast wali. Aur niche ka bhi denge, kya kehta hain use– lower. Lower to niche wala hi hota hai na? (“Leave aside track suit… ‘

Shah referring to his maiden visit to Jhabua in 2004 said- “Pehla woh bhulaye nahi bhoolta. Batao, pehla mamla koi bhoolta hai kya? Cheez hi aisi hai, sabhi samajhte hain na? (first ‘of anything’ is never forgotten. Can anybody forget the ‘first’ time? It is like that, all must have understood). However, majority of the officials, teachers and others refused to speak on this issue when one of the camp participant, Jyoti Rajput told TOI over phone that she, along with herfriends were shocked to hear such words from a minister of the state cabinet. She further stated that she was very junior but there were many seniors present in the inaugural ceremony of the camp but nobody was able to raise his voice.

When TOI contacted Vijay Shah over phone, he said, “Chief minister’s wife Sadhana Singh is a motherly figure for him. Once she was with him on a trip to a girls’ hostel in Khandwa, she had objected on seeing girls without warm clothes, even in winters. On this, I had apprised her that there was no sanction for warm clothes from the government and later Bhabhiji took up the matter with the chief minister that resulted in quick sanction of funds for the same”

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Narendra Modi, the man and the message

April 4, 2013, The Hindu

 

Democratic voices have so far allowed the Gujarat Chief Minister to get away with the invocation of his “development” mantra. India needs to know more about him

During a recent three-week stay in the United States, I was often asked to explain the Indian media’s current obsession with Narendra Modi. The only reasonably cogent answer to give was the convergence between the corporate ownership of the electronic media and Mr. Modi’s corporate bank-rollers. The Gujarat Chief Minister’s induction in the Bharatiya Janata Party central set-up has been celebrated as if he has already been invited by the Rashtrapati to form the next government at the Centre.

Like most Indian political leaders, Mr. Modi is a non-biodegradable entity. He will not disappear. Machinations by the BJP central leadership may delay his storming the party headquarters, but he is not going to be talked out of his national ambitions. It is only the voters who can knock the stuffing out of him and his outsized pretensions.

Mr. Modi promises to do things differently and better than what is being done in New Delhi or even in the other BJP ruled States. Not only is he contemptuous of the Manmohan Singh style of consensus approach to resolving contentious issues, he is also derisive of his own party and its leadership. He believes the BJP has become too flabby as an organisation and that most of its impresarios are compromised and tired.

That is between him and the BJP. It is another year before the country goes to the national polls, and 12 months is a long enough a time to smoke Mr. Modi out of the comfort zone of the so-called Gujarat model. Democratic India is now obliged to look beyond and beneath the veneer of the Gujarat model.

Leaders like Nitish Kumar may or may not be able to reconcile to the Narenda Modi-Amit Shah approach to the fundamental secular nature of our constitutional and political design. The vast majority of the decent majority will find it difficult to put aside the Gujarat Chief Minister’s unreconstructed stance to what happened to the minorities under his watch in 2002. What is more, Mr. Modi remains unapologetic and unrepentant, even as a gaggle of public relations experts has been deployed to put a gloss over the massacre and its narrative of cultivated intolerance. Just as Mr. Modi remains unbent, Decent India will remain unimpressed and unconvinced.

But the 2002 violence is only a small part of the Modi offer. Apart from a tough, designedly anti-Muslim line, the country would want to know what he stands for. So far the Gujarat Chief Minister has trafficked in the “development” slogan. He has half-heartedly sought to revive Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s shout of “Indian century”.

Heady proposition

The bottom line is that Mr. Modi is supposed to be endowed with such outstanding leadership qualities that he would transform India in the same decisive manner as Gujarat presumably stands transformed. A heady proposition, especially for the upper middle class consumers of the “national” media discourse.

Two key ingredients in this Gujarat leadership business need to be underlined. First, the Chief Minister has enthralled the Gujarat voters as the mascot of “Gujarati asmita.” In other words, a gentle stoking of Gujarati sub-nationalism. This foray into parochialism is a perfect fit for a parochial leader. But the rest of India is not entirely without its pride; and, it remains to be seen whether the Modi project has the capacity to plough the asmita message in the vastness of a plural and diverse India. It is a minor detail but a significant one: for all his alleged charismatic gifts, outside of Gujarat Mr. Modi has not been able to make any difference to the BJP’s electoral fortunes.

So far Mr. Modi has marketed himself as the uncompromising custodian of an uncompromising Gujarati pride, but now he is being advised to reposition himself as an “India First” salesman. Perhaps his media consultants mistakenly believe that the India of 2013 suffers from some kind of national identity crisis and that slogan would help position Mr. Modi as the new national shaman. Unless the country finds itself in a catastrophic situation before the next general election, it is difficult to appreciate what vulnerabilities and fears Mr. Modi can be made to be seen as addressing. No doubt, there is anger and anxiety which manifest spectacularly from time to time but India is also strangely at peace with itself; there is no sense of national fragility, no sense of national ignominy whereas the rest of our neighbourhood continues to flirt with anarchy and instability.

Personality cult

The second element of the Modi leadership is the unmistaken personality cult. Admittedly, all Chief Ministers get to dominate their State governments. Strong personalities like Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu, Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, Navin Patnaik in Orissa or, earlier, Ms Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh define the tone and tenor of the State government and its working habits and practices.

Authoritarianism in different shades and colours can be felt in all State capitals. But Mr. Modi is the first Chief Minister to make a virtue out of it. Now that Mr. Modi and his cheer-leaders have decided to field him in the national arena, questions would need to be asked about his commitment to democratic values. The Chief Minister has given sufficient indications that his model of leadership means absence of institutional restraints and accountability. The new edition of the Lok Ayukta passed in Gujarat is only a curtain-raiser. A “strong” leader will not countenance any checks on his powers.

Politically, he has already made his friends and rivals irrelevant in Gujarat. What is amusing is that the BJP’s assorted spokespersons, who otherwise very articulately and passionately demand accountability, transparency and answers from all and sundry, find themselves having to rationalise the Gujarat Chief Minister’s authoritarian proclivities and record. The other day, Uma Bharti, the newly anointed general-secretary in the BJP, allowed herself to recall on a Hindi television channel that even Subhash Chandra Bose had said that after Independence India could do with a spot of dictatorship. These are early days but the Modi group-think is already performing its tricks.

Self-styled autocrat

A party that has for the last three decades — from the time of the Emergency in 1975 — taken pride in its opposition to anti-democratic manifestations and claims is now saddled with a self-styled petty autocrat. Mr. Modi has cultivated for himself an image of a leader who does not believe in routine civilities. Nor is he averse to taking offence or giving offence. Very much like Nana Patekar, the comic criminal in the movie, Welcome, telling a frightened Anil Kapoor that his men could “shed blood, as well as spill blood.”

And, lastly, Mr. Modi’s leadership model simply means an unalloyed corporate raj. The “economic miracle” that Mr. Modi has performed in Gujarat is predicated on the working assumption that it is the primary duty of the administration to make it possible for the corporate houses to make profit, whatever the social dislocation or cost. And much to the delight of all his corporate admirers, he has done an admirable job of silencing all dissent.

The message is clear: he will encounter no trade unionism, no adivasis’ protest, no civil society voice. The vast majority of the Indian electorate will want to know which elements of the social welfare architecture, put in place by the UPA regime, he would dismantle.

Let us make no mistake. The much-touted Modi leadership is a maximalist proposition, uncompromising in the pursuit of what he believes is to be done in order to achieve India’s destiny. The middle classes, which have suffered because of the recent economic down-turn, are prepared to lend a particularly attentive ear to this meretricious blunt straight-forwardness. It is the task of democratic, progressive, liberal and secular voices across the political spectrum to make Mr. Modi spell out the essentials of his leadership offer in all its un-pretty details.

(Harish Khare is a senior journalist, a former media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and currently a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow)

 

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The Forgotten Communal Riots of Bhagalpur- 1989 #Justice

 

pic courtsey- http://bhagalpurinfo.blogspot.in/
Vol – XLVIII No. 03, January 19, 2013 | Warisha Farasat , EPW

Twenty three years ago Bhagalpur district witnessed one of the worst communal riots in post-independent India. The victims – mainly Muslims – are still struggling, socially and financially. This essay lays out the main findings of the official commissions of inquiry set up to investigate the carnage and interweaves the context of a research study by the Centre for Equity Studies documenting the experiences of victims/survivors in Bhagalpur on justice and reparations, and makes policy recommendations on the framework for reparations for the victims.

Warisha Farasat ([email protected]) is with the Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi.

Two months before the riots, between 12 and 22 August 1989 on the occasion of Muharram and Bisheri Puja, communal passions were already running high in Bhagalpur, which had a history of communal clashes. However, the immediate trigger of the Bhagalpur riots was the five-day Ramshila programme of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). As part of a wider nation-wide Ram Janmabhoomi campaign, Ramshila – bricks for the proposed grand Ram Mandir (temple) in Ayodhya – were to be carried in five processions through the rural areas of Bhagalpur and converge on the 24th in the town. The growing influence of the right-wing forces to polarise society on communal lines had already vitiated the atmosphere and provocative actions during the processions made matters worse.

The outbreak of communal violence on 24 October 1989 in Bhagalpur was preceded by a series of rumours spread by criminal elements that around 200 Hindu students living in lodges near the university area had been killed by Muslims. This was followed by another rumour that 31 Hindu boys had been murdered and their bodies dumped in a well at the Sanskrit College. As it turned out, both rumours were baseless, but they fanned the communal violence (Minorities Commission 1990: 242).

A three-member Commission of Inquiry, which was established by the Bihar state government to investigate the Bhagalpur pogrom, concluded that the riots were triggered by the Ramshila procession (Sinha and Hasan 1995: 14). It also named several police officials, including the then superintendent of police, K S Dwivedi for failing to stop the violence and recommended further investigation into the role of the official machinery during the riots.

The Political Players

The Bhagalpur riots took place when the Congress was in power in Bihar and Jagannath Mishra was the chief minister. Rajiv Gandhi, then prime minister, during his visit to the riot-affected areas ordered that Dwivedi be immediately transferred because of his controversial role in the riots and anti-Muslim bias. However, the transfer orders triggered protests from the VHP and other Hindu right-wing forces, forcing Gandhi to rescind his orders (Chopra and Jha 2012). Even today, survivors note that had Dwivedi’s transfer order not been revoked at the time, many lives would have been saved since many of the worst atrocities took place after this. Indeed, the subsequent Commission of Inquiry constituted to probe the riots indicted Dwivedi and noted in its report:

We would hold Dwivedi, the then superintendent of police, Bhagalpur, wholly responsible for whatever happened before 24 October 1989, on 24th itself and [after the] 24th. His communal bias was fully demonstrated not only by his manner of arresting the Muslims and by not extending them adequate help to protect them (Sinha and Hasan 1995: 114).

The Congress government at the time did little to either stop the riots or provide relief and rehabilitation to the victims and their families. Even Lalu Prasad Yadav, who won the 1990 elections on a secular platform in Bihar, did not make enough effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Bhagalpur riots. Indeed, many among the survivors believe that Yadav avoided any action because many of the rioters who led the mobs against the Muslims belonged to his caste.

Similarly, even the efforts of the current incumbent, Nitish Kumar, who heads a coalition of Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, have been piecemeal, and the major issues of justice, accountability of police officers, and reparations remain unresolved. The wounds of the mass violence were kept open and festering; even now victims recount the brutality of the massacre and the lack of justice thereafter in great detail.

Awaiting Justice

Though 23 years have passed, the victims of the communal carnage are still struggling, socially and financially. In only a handful of cases, such as the Chanderi and Logain massacres, have the guilty been punished. In Chanderi village, 65 Muslims were hacked with machetes and their bodies thrown into a pond. Mallika Begum – the sole surviving witness – courageously withstood all threats and enticements offered by the accused to secure the conviction of 16 persons who were involved in the massacre. In Logain village, 118 persons were slaughtered. To hide the truth, the perpetrators buried the bodies in the fields and subsequently planted cauliflower over this mass grave.

Even in the handful of cases where the rioters were convicted, such as Kameshwar Yadav in the infamous Parbatti case, the witnesses live under fear of reprisal. While Kameshwar Yadav was involved in many killings and incidents of leading the mob during the riots, he was finally convicted in 2007 for the murder of Mohammad Munna, son of Bibi Waleema, who was a resident of Parbatti area in Bhagalpur town (Yadav 2007). No protection or support was provided to these witnesses who testified against the rioters. A relative of Bibi Waleema, who is a street vendor, told us that he has stopped selling goods in his locality and now plies his trade far away as he fears for his life.1

The most heartbreaking challenge for the victims of the Bhagalpur riots is their struggle against forgetfulness. The brutality of the mass violence committed against the Muslims has faded out of public memory even as the victims await justice and rehabilitation. The stories of the murder of around 1,000 Muslims – men, women and children hacked with machetes, entire families killed and dumped in ponds, or people locked inside their homes and burnt alive – are now remembered only by the survivors or the immediate families of the victims who have been fighting a lonely battle.

The People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Delhi was perhaps one of the few civil society groups that documented the riots in detail, particularly the role and complicity of the police in the rioting (People’s Union for Democratic Rights 1996). Apart from PUDR’s effort, there have been intermittent visits from individual activists to meet with the survivors and the victims’ families. Overall, there has been very little documentation or support extended by human rights groups to the survivors of the carnage.

The official records of the Bhagalpur riots, alongside other major instances of communal violence, have been comparatively examined and analysed extensively in an earlier report by the Centre for Equity Studies (CES) titledAccountability for Mass Violence: Examining the State’s Record (Chopra and Jha 2012). This report provides a fresh insight into the mechanics of communal violence at the four sites – Bhagalpur (Bihar), Gujarat, Nelli (Assam) and Delhi (the anti-Sikh riots of 1984) – and concludes that the state has failed to punish the perpetrators or provide adequate compensation to the victims and their families.

A Fractured Town

This lack of redress has meant that even in 2012, Bhagalpur remains a deeply divided town. Today, the BJP’s national Muslim face, Shahnawaz Hussain, represents Bhagalpur in Parliament. His two consecutive victories in the Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket are being projected as a new harmony. However, the truth on the ground is contradictory. With little movement towards justice, rehabilitation or reparations, the political dispensation has always been keen to avoid confronting the ghosts of the 1989 riots. The threat of communal violence returning may seem to have diminished, but in various ways the occurrences of 1989 loom large. The communal divide run across all societal and business transactions. It has been widely reported that Hindus buy provisions from Hindu shopkeepers while Muslims patronise Muslim businesses and shops.

In fact, an anecdote from a recent experience of the CES research team reaffirmed this communal divide. The CES local team comprises researchers and activists from different religious communities. Last year, when we were in the process of setting up an office in Bhagalpur, we identified an apartment. An agreement was reached between CES and the landlord, and one month’s rent was paid in advance. However, after barely a couple of days, the landlord, who was also living in one of the apartments of the building, created a huge ruckus over a small issue and asked us to vacate the premises within two weeks. After we had found another office space to rent and were finally moving our furniture from the apartment, we confronted and asked her why she had asked us to vacate the apartment so suddenly and without any reason. Her response was:

Hum Musalman aur scheduled caste ko ghar nahi dete hain; agar mujhe pehle pata hota ki is team mein Musalman bhi hain, main kabhi ghar nahi deti(We do not let our houses to Muslims and scheduled castes and if I had known earlier that this team had individuals from the Muslim community also, I would have not agreed to rent my apartment in the first place).

While her response disturbed us, it also laid bare the social realities of modern India: though secularism was enshrined in the Constitution a long time ago, in practice it is present only at the fringes. Indeed, communal and religious polarisation pervades our societal interactions.

Social scientist Ashutosh Varshney has argued that state and police bias have little to do with communal rioting; fractured civic relations and engagement between communities are mostly responsible for communal rioting (Varshney 2002). In the context of Bhagalpur, though, it appears that the communal violence in fact led to fractured civic relations. As far as the rioting was concerned, the police and other state authorities failed to protect Muslims. The complicity of the Bihar police in the riots was spelt out in the Commission of Inquiry Report, which indicted the local police at various levels. Not only did the local police fail to control the communal violence, in several instances they participated in targeting Muslims.

The State of Bihar

The lack of justice and compensation for the victim/survivors is further exacerbated by the dismal and impoverished state of affairs in Bihar. To understand how little has changed in the state you need to travel through rural Bihar in the peak of summer. The summer months are marked by oppressive heat and acute power outages, with several districts receiving electricity only once in two days. In the Human Development Index Report 2011, Bihar ranked the lowest in the distribution of households with electricity for domestic use in 2008-09, at a mere 30.5% (Institute of Applied Manpower Research 2011: 390).

In fact, in rural Bihar only 24.5% of the households have electricity for domestic use, with rural Uttar Pradesh (UP) a close second at 37.6% rural households receiving electricity (ibid). This past summer, even urban townships in Bihar reeled under massive power cuts. Even the wealthy were left in the dark, as there was no electricity to charge the power backups. Only 3% of the government schools in Bihar have electricity and only 8.8% of children under age six have received any service from an anganwadi centre in the past year (ibid: 194). A social worker in Bhagalpur complained: “Nitish has given more power to Patna so that everyone thinks that Bihar has changed. But Bihar lives in its villages. Nothing has changed there.”

Since Bihar is one of the most densely populated states in the country, much of the village life spills over on to the highways. Little children scurrying about, men and women carrying stacks of dry paddy on their heads, mud houses lined with cowdung cakes, and farmers ploughing their fields make for an idyllic imagery of village life. But life is not easy. A local shopkeeper tells us that kerosene lamps still remain the most reliable method of lighting their houses in the evenings.

With Bihar remaining one of the most impoverished states in India, the question of just reparations and accountability for communal violence is even more important since many of the victims/survivors affected by the Bhagalpur riots belong to desperately poor backgrounds. In the following sections this essay lays out the main findings of the official commissions set up to investigate the carnage. It then interweaves the context of the CES research study documenting the experiences of victims/survivors in Bhagalpur on justice and reparations. Given the failure of state institutions to respond to victims/survivors’ demand for legal justice and reparations, where do the victims/survivors stand? What about crucial questions of accountability and reparations for instances of mass violence such as Bhagalpur? In this regard, the essay will outline a few interim findings of the research and make policy recommendations on the framework for reparations-compensation for Bhagalpur survivors.

Commissions of Inquiry

In 1990, the Government of Bihar constituted a Commission of Inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act (1952) to examine the communal disturbances. The inquiry sought to provide an explanation for the occurrence of the communal violence, examine individuals and institutions responsible, and recommend measures for preventing the reoccurrence of such disturbances. A total of 126 witnesses were examined. According to the report, the riots spread to 250 villages in which approximately 900 people were killed and about 50,000 people were affected (Sinha and Hasan 1995: 10).

Ultimately, two separate commission reports were compiled – one by the chairperson, justice Ram Nandan Prasad, the other being collectively released by the two other members of the commission, justice Ram Chandra Prasad Sinha and justice S Shamsul Hasan. Justice Prasad chose to submit his report independently due to a disagreement with the findings of the other members on the Commission.

In addition to the three-member Commission of Inquiry, the then chairman, S M H Burney, and members of the Minorities Commission of India also visited Patna and Bhagalpur on 22-24 January 1990 and prepared a report. In its own words, the Minorities Commission explained that its mandate was to examine the measures being taken for the rehabilitation of those affected by the riots rather than inquire into the causes of the riots, which had been entrusted to a Commission of Inquiry. The findings and recommendations of both commissions have been drawn upon and interwoven wherever appropriate in this essay.

During his election campaign in 2004, Nitish Kumar promised that if elected he would ensure that justice and compensation were provided to the victims of the Bhagalpur riots. When he assumed office as chief minister after winning the elections, he made some efforts to revisit the Bhagalpur riots. While this endeavour was a good first step, it failed to go beyond tokenism and many victims are still waiting for justice and reparations.

As part of its election pledge, the Nitish Kumar government first pushed for the formation of another commission of inquiry to reconsider the issues of justice, compensation and rehabilitation for the riot victims/survivors. Consequently, under Section 3(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Act (Act XL, 1952), the governor of Bihar in February 2006 constituted another single member commission of inquiry headed by justice N N Singh since it was felt that the earlier three-member Commission of Inquiry did not deliberate on issues regarding fixing individual responsibility, and that adequate and sufficient rehabilitation had not been provided to the victims and their families.

Moreover, a large number of cases arising out of the Bhagalpur riots had also ended in submission of final reports or acquittal of the accused. The N N Singh Commission of Inquiry was mandated to inquire into the conduct and performance of the investigating and prosecuting agencies of cases arising out of the Bhagalpur riots, which ended in the submission of a final report and acceptance thereof by the court in the absence of concerted, coordinated and proper steps by the prosecuting agencies. Moreover, it was asked to analyse the circumstances under which investigating officers submitted final reports, and lapses on their part that may have led to closure of court cases. This commission was also asked to examine the issue of relief and rehabilitation for the riot victims, including the issue of distress sales. Finally, it was asked to suggest remedial measures to prevent the recurrence of communal riots.

It was also laid down that the deputy inspector general of police, northern region, Bhagalpur would supervise the team, which would report its progress to him every fortnight and he would, in turn, report to the commission about the progress made in the investigation every month. However, the fate of the N N Singh Commission of Inquiry has been no different than what plagued the commissions set up previously. This commission has received several extensions and even after six years of its formation, a final report has not been submitted to the government or made public. Recently, the tenure of the N N Singh Commission was extended, yet again, until 28 February 2013 (The Telegraph,2012).

A second initiative of the Nitish Kumar JD(U) government was to mandate the deputy inspector general of police (criminal investigation department) Girija Nandan Sharma to scrutinise the records in the Bhagalpur riot-related cases and examine whether some of these cases could be revived. After visiting the courts, examining the records, and studying the cases that were closed, Sharma recommended the reinvestigation of 29 cases, which included seven cases in Banka district and the rest in Bhagalpur district. Subsequent to the riots, as part of administrative realignment, a separate Banka district was carved out from the former Bhagalpur district. Sharma recommended that the cases that were closed was because of lack of evidence or the failure of the police to produce witnesses before the court be reopened. Amongst these were several cases of murder, arson, rioting, and destruction of property.

The CES Research Study

The official figure of the number of persons that were killed in the Bhagalpur riots was 1,000, but the unofficial count exceeds 2,000, double the official figure. Though the extent of the bloodshed and destruction during the riots was massive, it has completely faded out of the public memory. In fact, the strategy of the consecutive governments in Patna seemed to continuously defer any action, and with the passage of time turned the riots into a forgotten carnage. In fact, a survivor once remarked during a trip there: “Agar yahan pe airport hota to shayad zyada NGOs aur log hame bhi dekhne aate” (If there was an airport in Bhagalpur, then perhaps more NGOs and individuals would have come to see us/our condition also). Ironically, the anatomy of the Bhagalpur riots is quite similar to that of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom – both were large-scale rural riots. We believe that if there was speedy and comprehensive legal justice for the Bhagalpur communal violence, it would perhaps have been harder to carry out the Gujarat pogrom.

Given that very little has been written about the condition of the victims of the Bhagalpur communal violence, CES launched a detailed research study with the victims/survivors to document their experiences of justice, rehabilitation and reparations for the communal riots. The research study is qualitative and primarily hinges on the narratives and experiences of the victims’ families. Within traditional research methodologies, there is a clear distinction between “research subjects” and researchers, wherein the former are supposed to provide the information that the researcher is supposed to record and analyse. The research methodology for the CES study breaks away from this traditional paradigm, with the research being conducted alongside victims/survivors and members of the local community. By using this methodology, there is no doubt that a nuanced learning on issues of communalism, reparations and justice would emerge.

Detailed narratives of victims/survivors from the riot-affected areas in and around Bhagalpur are being collected by a team of local researchers. In these accounts, their experiences about the three main aspects of justice, compensation and rehabilitation are being documented. As we have started a preliminary analysis of the victims’ interviews, and juxtaposed it with the official policies, the challenges in government policy and its implementation regarding the riot victims become evident. While a clearer and a more detailed set of findings will be outlined in the final report, the present essay identifies and lays down some of the preliminary and interim findings of the research. A caveat is that some of these findings may be clarified further or modified subsequently based on a final analysis of the interviews, since data collection is still underway. However, these interim findings are being put in the public domain with a view to start a discussion on the almost forgotten Bhagalpur riots, alongside the larger issue of reparations and accountability for communal riots in general.

The following sections explore the two urgent issues of compensation and justice in the context of some of the interim findings of the research documenting the experiences of the victims/survivors.

Issue of Compensation

Working closely with the victims and their families in Bhagalpur over the last year, we have been confronted with challenges that have beset the government compensation policy for the victims of the Bhagalpur riots. Even after 22 years, many victim families have not received any compensation. The state government had announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for persons whose family members were killed. Later, in 2006, the compensation amount was enhanced to an additional Rs 3.5 lakh for the family members of those killed. However, there have been several discrepancies both in the compensation policy as well as the implementation of the policy whereby many families have been left out. In several cases, CES has facilitated the process of the survivors preparing their compensation applications to the district authorities responsible for disbursing the compensation.

(A) Need for a Holistic Concept of Reparations: With the development of a rights-based approach, the term compensation is beginning to be replaced by reparations, which symbolises a more holistic, dignified and just way to address the harm suffered as a result of human rights violations. Financial or monetary compensations are just one of the components of a comprehensive reparations policy. Reparations initiatives can be designed in many ways. They may include a range of measures such as financial compensation, social services such as healthcare or education, and symbolic measures such as formal apologies or public commemorations. Within this scheme, reparations are viewed more as a matter of right for the victims rather than charity on the part of government. The United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to Remedy and Reparations provides for compensation, restitution, rehabilitation, and guarantees of non-repetition. Under these principles, effective remedy includes: (a) equal and effective access to justice; (b) adequate, effective and prompt reparation for harm suffered; and (c) access to relevant information concerning violations and reparation mechanisms.2

In India, the law on compensation has evolved through cases of custodial killings, torture, and communal violence. With the decisions in D K Basu vsState of West Bengal (AIR 1997 SC 610) and Nilabati Behera vs State of Orissa(1993 Crl LJ 2899), the right to receive compensation for violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution or the right to life has been crystallised. In cases of communal violence, the government has been ordered by the Supreme Court to pay compensation.

(B) Interim Policy Recommendations on Compensation: We have placed the information received by the victim families within this legal and policy framework and tried to identify the challenges in the current compensation policy to make policy-based recommendations. The following insights are therefore informed both by best practices and applications received from the riot victims.

Foremost, for the Bhagalpur riots, there is no provision of any compensation for property other than the loss of a house. Therefore, a more holistic compensation package should be developed to provide at least some monetary compensation to the victims whose shops were looted and burnt, cattle was destroyed or looted, and household items were destroyed or looted, as well as those persons who lost their fertile agricultural land and were forced to flee their villages.3

The loss of property was not properly assessed or quantified, government policy for the repair of destroyed houses was grossly inadequate, and the amounts that were paid to the victims’ families were meagre. The amounts that have been paid for the loss of a house should be enhanced at least 10 times of what the victims originally received, or an actual market value estimate of the houses should be made for persons who have already received some compensation. At the same time, it should be determined whether some families have been left outside the ambit of compensation for loss of property and their names should be included in the fresh list.

Since no steps were taken to resettle or rehabilitate persons who were forced to flee their villages and homes due to the communal violence, a clear policy needs to be developed to assist families who have not returned to their villages but may still want to go back to their native place, which they left behind during the riots.

The current compensation policy also restricts the incidents of rioting for compensation for death to a time frame that is unfair and unrealistic. The time frame for compensation has been fixed for incidents of rioting or violence that occurred between 24 October 1989 and 30 November 1989, and 20-21 March 1990.4 It is well known that the pronounced communal atmosphere continued until much later and there were smaller incidents for almost the entire year during which many persons went missing (and were presumably killed) or were found dead. Therefore, the policy should be revised to include cases of killings or missing persons within a full year of the riots. Missing persons, in particular those who went missing on the dates other than those prescribed by the government notification, remain a major issue for compensation and a clear policy needs to be outlined to include their families. More specifically, the timeline should be extended to include incidents that took place between 24 October 1989 and 31 October 1990.

There are many cases of death in which no First Information Report (FIR) has been registered by the police and since government authorities have refused to accept anything except for a FIR as proof of death, many victims have been unfairly left out of the ambit of compensation. It is therefore recommended that the government direct its officers to include other documents as proof of death, including a letter from the mukhiya (village headman) stating that the person was killed during the riots, a letter from any other local government authority stating that the person was killed during the riots, a birth certificate or other documents that prove that the person was living in the local area and has been missing since the riots, or any other document or testimony that points to the fact that the person was killed during the riots.

Although there is provision for compensation for injured persons, only 23 persons have been paid under this scheme. Even those who have been paid have received a meagre Rs 1,000-Rs 10,000. The revised policy on injured persons itself states that an amount of up to Rs 1,25,000 can be paid to injured persons. It is recommended that as there are many cases where family members suffered serious injuries, they should also receive compensation that is due to persons who were injured.

There is no clarity on the issue of lineage or descent, which has resulted in many applications being rejected, or close family members of persons who were killed not receiving compensation in the end. These discrepancies need to be clarified at the earliest and in a manner that there is no scope for confusion, and without any loopholes, so that family members can receive the compensation money.

Finally, in some cases, government authorities have refused to pay compensation claiming no funds were available. Several families of victims were recently informed that they could not be given the enhanced amount of Rs 3.5 lakh for the death of their kin as sufficient funds are not available with the local authorities.5 It must be noted here that it has been almost 23 years since the Bhagalpur riots, and several of the victims who are eligible by government standards have also not been fully compensated. This money should be released immediately.

Issue of Justice

The larger study will examine legal justice and the experience of victims/survivors in great detail. Nonetheless, a few urgent observations are underlined here. As mentioned earlier, 29 cases were reinvestigated based on the recommendations made by the report submitted by DIG Girija Nandan Sharma. It was encouraging that several of the serious cases of rioting from Bhagalpur were reopened based on Sharma’s reports. Nevertheless, today we see that these cases are not being tried in a speedy and rigorous manner. The Office of the Special Public Prosecutor, which was mandated to pursue these cases in the courts, has been working without any government oversight or supervision. Obviously, government is not supposed to interfere in the legal process, but it should at least require the Special Public Prosecutor to submit progress reports from time to time on these cases, and ensure that these cases are prosecuted diligently. Otherwise, merely reopening of cases would not mean much.

Often, the victims themselves are not in a position to understand or access the legal justice system to ascertain that their cases are meticulously prosecuted. In other states, including Gujarat, the reopened cases have been diligently prosecuted not because of the efforts of the government but because civil society organisations and public spirited individuals, along with victims/survivors, have kept a close watch and intervened in cases whenever required. However, while efforts in Gujarat are extremely human and financial resource-intensive, very few resources are available to pursue legal justice or reparations in Bhagalpur.

Furthermore, in his report Sharma concluded that many of the investigating officers were deliberately negligent in investigating the cases that were assigned to them after the riots and did everything to delay and hinder proper investigation. In fact, the Sharma named individual investigating officers and police officers in his report who were directly responsible in stymieing investigations after the riots. Similarly, the three-member Commission of Inquiry had also named several police officials in their report but no action has been taken against these police officers until now.

Even K S Dwivedi, who was indicted by the Bhagalpur Commission of Inquiry, was never punished, and the current state government promoted him as an additional director general rank officer (Bihar Times 2011). Most recently, he was made additional director general (wireless and technical services) by the state government. Instead of facing investigation and prosecution, several officers named in the Bhagalpur Commission of Inquiry or Sharma’s report, have been promoted. Even more reprehensible and condemnable is that Dwivedi has been awarded the president’s medal on the eve of Independence Day this year for distinguished services despite having been held directly responsible for the Bhagalpur riots by the Commission of Inquiry (The Times of India 2012).

Epilogue

As our research reveals, successive governments of different political parties have failed to comprehensively address the issues of justice accountability, reparations and rehabilitation of victims of the 1989 communal violence in Bihar. Similarly, the compensation policy has also failed to provide the much-needed acknowledgement and support to the victims/survivors. CES has tried to engage the Bihar state government, and has submitted policy-based recommendations, which we hope will also help the government in redesigning the compensation policy for the riot victims. Even if the Bhagalpur riots have faded from public memory, the horrors are still alive amongst the survivors in Bhagalpur who are still awaiting meaningful justice and reparations. But, perhaps, the most important learning is that communalism pervades our societal fabric, and there needs to be a collective response to ensure that it does not result in violence and discrimination based on religious affiliations.

Notes

[This report is part of a larger study led by Harsh Mander on various communal carnages by the Centre for Equity Studies. Foremost, thanks to Harsh Mander for his insightful comments on this draft version. I would also like to thank Pritarani Jha for her rigorous commitment and engagement with the research study. I am very grateful to Mallika Begum, Pravir, Mohammad Mahmud, Sunita Prasad, and Mohammad Tarique who are the mainstay of our engagement in Bhagalpur; to Amin Reza Khan for providing tireless research support and advice; to Navsharan Singh for her constant intellectual and substantive inputs and advice on the research study; the International Development Research Centre for supporting the research study; and mostly to the survivors of the 1989 communal violence in Bhagalpur who have courageously struggled for truth and accountability and agreed to share their stories with us.]

1 Interview, Bhagalpur, 5 April 2011.

2 Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (“Reparations Principles”), adopted 16 December 2005, GA res 60/147, UN Doc A/RES/60/147 (2005), Principle VII.

See also Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity (“Impunity Principles”), UN Doc E/CN 4/2005/102/Add 1, 8 February 2005, adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights in Resolution E/CN 4/2005/81, 15 April 2005, principle I; and Reparations Principles, principle 11.

3 By Letter No 29189-293, Relief and Rehabilitation Department, Government of Bihar, dated: 29 December 1989.

4 By Letter No-88 (Administration), DM’s Office, Bhagalpur, Dated: 30 July 1996.

5 By Letter No – C/C I Com – 4201/08, Home (Special) Department, Government of Bihar, Dated: 14 August 2009. In case of dead/missing persons, their dependents were allotted Rs 3.5 lakh. This amount was in addition to the ex gratia amount of Rs 1 lakh earlier disbursed by the state government.

References

Bihar Times (2011): “Dwivedi, Two Others to Become ADG”, 2 September, viewed on 25 October 2012,http://www.bihartimes.in/Newsbihar/2011/Sep/newsbihar02Sep2.html

Chopra, Surabhi and Pritarani Jha, ed. (2012): Accountability for Mass Violence: Examining the State’s Record, May (forthcoming as a book by Three Essays Collective), viewed on 22 October, http://idl-bnc.idrc.ca/dspace/bitstream/10625/49277/1/IDL-49277.pdf

Institute of Applied Manpower Research (2011): India Human Development Report 2011 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), viewed on 20 October 2012, http://www.pratirodh.com/pdf/human_development_report2011.pdf

Minorities Commission (1990): Twelfth Annual Report of the Minorities Commission from 1 April 1989 to 31 March 1990 (New Delhi: National Commission for Minorities).

PUDR (1996): Recalling Bhagalpur: A Report on the Aftermath of the 1989 Riots (New Delhi: Peoples Union for Democratic Rights), viewed on 20 October 2012, http://www.cscsarchive.org:8081/MediaArchive/liberty.nsf/(docid)/6D275AE9ADEF5130E5256A1C00210FAB

Sinha, Ram Chandra Prasad and Shamsul Hasan (1995): Report of the Bhagalpur Riot Inquiry Commission (Patna: Bhagalpur Riot Commission of Inquiry).

The Telegraph (2012): “More Time for Bhagalpur Panel”, 29 August.

The Times of India (2012): “Two IPS Officers Get President’s Police Medal”, 15 August, viewed on 26 October,http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-08-15/patna/33215722_1_…

Varshney, Ashutosh (2002): Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India (New Haven: Yale University Press).

Yadav, J P (2007): “Hindu Activist Found Guilty in Bhagalpur Riots Case”, The Indian Express, 24 November, viewed on 22 October 2012, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hindu-activist-found-guilty-in-bhagalp…

 

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#India- Politician blames item songs in films for #Rape #Vaw #WTFnews

GIRIDHAR JHA   |   MAIL TODAY  |   PATNA, JANUARY 15, 2013 | UPDATED 19:42 IST

JDU leader Shivanand Tiwari puts foot in his mouth, blames items songs in films for the rise in crime such as rape against women in recent times

Is it right to blame item songs for reason behind crime like rape?
Is it right to blame item songs for reason behind crime like rape?
Veteran Janata Dal-United leader Shivanand Tiwari is at it again.After raising the hackles of the leaders of his party’s coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party over his remarks on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat recently, the Rajya Sabha MP has blamed the items songs in films for the rise in crime such as rape against women in recent times.”Item songs in today’s films are extremely titillating,” he said in Patna on Monday. “Who will not get carried away after watching them?”

Ravi Kishan with Sambhavna Seth
Bhojpuri superstar Ravi Kishan with item girl Sambhavna Seth.

The 70-year-old leader, who is the national spokesman of JD-U, said that one had heard of mythological tales about the dances of the apsaras (celestial beauties) who were sent on earth to interrupt the meditation of the sages. “I think their dances must have been something like today’s item songs in films,” he stated.

Tiwari said that women were being blatantly projected as a commodity in films and advertisements in the post-liberalisation era which was casting a bad impression on the minds of the youngsters. He said that the projection of women as an object of desire and the double meaning dialogues in the films provoked men to commit crimes such as rape. He said that concerted efforts should be made by all in society to check such tendencies. “It is a very serious matter,” he said.

The Rajya Sabha MP’s statement, however, irked the item girls from the film industry. Sambhavna Seth, the highest paid item girl from the Bhojpuri cinema, said that Tiwari’s views were nothing but a bundle of rubbish. “I think his comments do not even deserve any comments,” she said. “He must be having some problems in his mind to think like that. He needs help.”
Seth, often called the “Helen of Bhojpuri cinema”, said that item songs were not a new phenomenon. “Hindi movies have had so many item numbers by Helen in the past,” she said. “Why did they not lead to rape cases earlier?.”

Shivanand Tiwari (right) with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
Janata Dal-United leader Shivanand Tiwari (right) with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.

Seth said that crime against women was a serious issue and it should not be trivilaised by linking it to item songs.

Another item song specialist Seema Singh said that it was silly to single out item songs in the films as being responsible for the rape and other crime cases against women. “I have performed more than 250 item songs in 170 Bhojpuri films and I can tell you that I have never received any lewd remark from any of my fans,” she said.

Singh said that she was popular as an ‘item girl’ among cine-goers in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and it was not a stigma to her image as a film actress. “I get a lot of love and adulation from the family audience wherever I go,” she said. “I am rather proud of my item songs which have made me popular among my fans.”

Singh, who has performed the maximum number of item songs in the films of any language, said that some people had tried to look down upon Rakhi Sawant as an item girl in Bollywood but she fought against all prejudices to attain a respectable position in the film industry. “It is high time the politicians stopped blaming the item songs for something as serious as rape,” she said.

 

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A slice of Bihar in Karachi #indopak

Sameer Arshad and Tnn | November 10, 2012, Times Crest

BUILDING BONDS: Nitish greeted by supporters in Patna before leaving for Pakistan. His visit could strengthen ties with Bihari Pakistanis

Few know that Pakistan has an impressive number of migrants from Bihar who have hung on to their cultural identity for decades.

Punjabi folk singers lined the road, performed bhangra to dhol beats to welcome then Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh to the Pakistani side of the land of five rivers in January 2004. Amarinder was overwhelmed and described his journey to Lahore as a pilgrimage, as the city “is the composite Punjabi culture’s central pillar”, while pledging to promote the divided region’s shared heritage.

Eight years later, Nitish Kumar became the second chief minister of an Indian state to visit Pakistan since 2004 on Friday. Unlike Amarinder, Nitish may not feel culturally at home elsewhere in Pakistan, but parts of Karachi would be an exception. The city has a sizeable Bihari population that has retained its distinct identity despite being clubbed with its Urdu-speaking residents.

Abdul Kadir Khanzada, who represents Karachi’s Orangi Town in the Pakistani parliament, says over a million people in his constituency have their roots in Bihar. “My family came from Alwar in Rajputana (Rajasthan), but 70 per cent of my voters are of Bihari origin, ” he tells TOI-Crest. He says his party – Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan’s third largest party representing the Urduspeaking people – have always supported peace with India and hopes Nitish’s visit would help the process. “I will speak to my leader in parliament, Farooq Sattar, and see whether we can invite Kumar to connect with the people of Bihari origin. ”

Biharis have over the years been seen as die-hard supporters of the MQM, which is a part of the country’s federal as well as the Sindh provincial government. But a breakaway faction, the Bihari Quami Movement, was formed a few years earlier in Karachi, and is indicative of the community’s attempt to assert its separate identity.

Biharis have enriched Karachi’s cosmopolitan culture. Their imprint on the city is perhaps best reflected in the Bihari kebabs that are an integral part of the city’s culinary attractions. The place where the early Bihar immigrants settled after Partition is still known as Bihar colony in Karachi’s Layari Town.

Mostly well-off immigrants managed to reach Karachi, then Pakistan’s capital, following bloody riots in Bihar before the Partition. The rest of about three million Bihari refugees found it easier to cross over to East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Around 1, 63, 000 of them were repatriated to Pakistan in the ’70s and ’80s after Bangladesh’s liberation as they were accused of being collaborators, stripped off their properties and forced into camps. Thousands returned on their own and preferred to settle in Sindh and its capital Karachi among their fellow Urdu-speaking people. MQM, then known as Muhajir Qaumi Movement, backed them, hoping it would consolidate its political hold over the region.

Nearly 8, 00, 000 Biharis in Bangladesh declared themselves as Pakistanis after the ’71 liberation and sought to be settled in that country to escape linguistic persecution. Most repatriated Biharis settled in Orangi. The process was stopped in the ’80s after it led to bloody ethnic riots in Karachi amid fears that it would further tilt the politico-ethnic balance in favour of the city’s dominant Urdu-speaking people at the cost of the province’s native Sindhi speakers. The latter are now a small minority in Karachi.

The process re-started briefly in 1993 when 321 Biharis were brought to Pakistan on the condition that they would settle in Punjab to allay fears of the Sindhi nationalists. A Bihari colony was set up for them 370 km from Islamabad at Mian Channu in Punjabi Khanewal district. Successive Pakistani governments have since gone back on their promise to bring back an estimated 3, 00, 000 Biharis, who live in 66 camps without citizenship rights in Bangladesh.

A recent Abu Dhabi-based The National report highlighted the miserable condition of Mian Channu’s Biharis, who along with their brethren in Bangladesh represent the horrors of the double partition they faced while other communities uprooted in the aftermath of the 1947 division have moved on and prospered.

The report cited the plight of 60-year-old Manzar Husain, who had arrived in Mian Channu leaving behind his daughter, now a mother of three. He expected her to be on the next flight to Pakistan, but that was not to be and has not since seen her. He has lost all hopes of seeing her daughter and grandchildren. His family had lost everything when they migrated to what was then East Pakistan in 1947, but he never thought he would have to face the horrors of another migration.

The National reported that Mian Channu’s Bihari colony is now a slum and Punjabis occupy most of two-room apartments constructed for Biharis with foreign assistance.

Kamran Asdar Ali, a US-based Pakistani academic whose parents had migrated from Bihar at the time of the Partition, argued that the community is very diverse in Pakistan. “Biharis in Pakistan are there in all walks of life, from the most wealthy and influential to the lowly urban poor, much like in India. ”

Sasaram-born scholar and anti-colonial activist Eqbal Ahmad was among the most prominent Pakistani-Biharis to earn international acclaim. Ali says Biharis have been given a “politically available” Muhajir identity, which, he added, “is a constructed ethnicity – a family that migrated from Madras or Bombay is also Muhajir and those who migrated from Bihar or UP are also Muhajirs”.

The academic says most Pakistani Biharis may not know about Nitish, his visit and what he has done in Bihar. “But his coming to Pakistan may change that, ” he says.

 

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After Chhattisgarh its Bihar- illegal hysterectomy on 14-yr-olds #VAW # Reproductiverights

 

In Bihar,

illegal hysterectomy — an operation to remove the uterus.

Numerous cases of forced surgeries came to light in Samastipur district following a probe by district magistrate Kundan Kumar. The victims were sometimes girls as young as 12 to 14-year-olds.

There were a number of fake cases too, and in some of them, the operation was shown to have been conducted on men.https://i2.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/8/09_08_12-metro10.jpg?w=520

“It is not only a case of fraud but a gross violation of medical ethics,” said Kumar, who held a health camp as part of the probe. At the camp, ultrasound tests were conducted on over 3,000 women.

The report, which was finalised on Wednesday, indicts 16 nursing homes in Samastipur, all of which have been issued a showcause notice. The matter also found resonance in the state assembly, where the opposition put the Nitish Kumar government on the mat.

The probe was held when the insurance company, ICICI Lombard, raised an alarm after receiving a bill of a whopping Rs. 17 crore from the 16 nursing homes. A claim of Rs. 10,000 can be made for a single hysterectomy.

“At the camp, we received many complaints that the surgeries were forced,” Kumar said. “Private nursing homes even scared women with prognosis of grave medical complications, like cancer, if the uteruses were not removed.”

State labour minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal — whose department is the nodal agency for the scheme — insisted that  there has been no irregularity. It was decided that the call attention committee of the assembly will probe the matte

 

 

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Bihar: Private hospitals removing uterus and making money of the insurance scheme

 

RSBY logo

RSBY logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

30 JULY 2012

 

 

Bihar: It is reported that some of the private hospitals at Bihar is using Government’s insurance scheme provided for the people below the poverty line (BPL) and against the moral principles they earn money with or without the knowledge of the people.

The centre has launched the insurance scheme for the BPL during 2008 in the name of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yorjna (RSBY) with the aid of the state government to serve the BPL in healing the diseases. Under the scheme, the beneficiary has to pay a registration fee of Rs.30/-, and the state government will pay the premium. Under the scheme, the beneficiary will be covered for Rs.30,000/- and could take medical treatment in the approved hospitals under the scheme.

But, now a fraudulent medical business scheme has come to light where some of the private hospitals are performing unnecessary organ removal, mostly removing uterus for profit of the hospital and to pocket the insurance money.

It is reported that private hospitals in Bihar state has performed more than 15,000 hysterectomy (removal of uterus by surgery) in the last one year to earn the insurance amount of Rs.30,000/- allotted by the scheme.

The preliminary enquiries has shown that Samastipur district alone in the state, has performed around 15,000 hysterectomy surgeries on women in the last one year including uterus removal on unmarried girls below the age of 22.

Following the allegations, the Samatipur district magistrate Kundan Kumar has ordered a probe about the unnecessary hysterectomy including around 5,500 urgent surgeries carried out.

Six teams are being organized including doctors and the team will submit their report within 31 July.

“The probe will bring out the glaring anomalies in the execution of the scheme by private hospitals,” said, the District Magistrate.

”It is learnt that the private hospitals have claimed upto 12 crores under the scheme by the last one year and the in-depth probe will do the needful take necessary stern action against them on the basis of the inquiry.” he added.

It is also reported that many of the private hospitals has claimed insurance money without performing any operations at all.

“Door-to-Door” search and ultrasound tests will definitely reveal whether really the beneficiary had under gone the surgery – said Kumar.

The district administration of Samastipur has organized for camps during first week of August to enable the BPL families under the scheme to lodge complaints against erring hospitals.

A district official who visited the nursing homes under the scheme said that many of the nursing homes approved under the scheme do not have necessary facilities to perform surgeries.

“Nurising homes found guilty would be deleted from the approved list soon,” said Amrit Lal Meena, principle secretary of the state labour resources.

The RSBY scheme is suspected to have such wrong doings not only in Samastipur district, but also in the other states.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered the district magistrates and civil surgeons to inspect all eligible private nursing homes to investigate the scam and ensure whether they are equipped to provide proper healthcare to the poor.

 

 

 

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Victim of custodial sexual violence – attempts immolation

PTI-  June 16,2012

 

Sitamarhi: A Maoist woman prisoner on Saturday suffered minor burns after attempting a self-immolation in prison alleging that her modesty was outraged by a jail official in Bihar‘s Sitamarhi district, police sources said.

Shivani poured kerosene oil on herself before setting herself alight but was saved by jail guards who immediately covered her with a blanket, the sources said.

She accused the jail superintendent of outraging her modesty, a charge that was denied by the official, they said.

She was treated at the jail hospital for minor burns on her hands, they said. An investigation was also being made into her allegation, they said.

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17-year old who saw his mother raped burnt alive

Teenager burnt alive in Bihar village
A teenager, who was the main witness in his mother’s rape case, was burnt alive in Nawada district Sunday, police said

May 14 15:10:21, 2012

Patna. Agencies

Chintu Kumar, 17, was set on fire Sunday afternoon in Garobigha village under Narhat police station, 150 km from here, a police officer said on condition of anonymity. The nine accused include the five allegedly involved in his mother’s rape.

Shockingly, all the nine accused roamed free a day after they burnt alive the teenager.

“Chintu was expected to appear in court in connection with the rape case,” the officer said.

According to villagers, the accused forcibly entered Chintu’s house in the afternoon and set him on fire.

Chintu’s mother, who was gangraped in 2006 by five men of her village, told IANS over telephone that her only son had been threatened to withdraw the case and not appear as a witness in court.

“The accused repeatedly threatened to burn him alive and finally they did it. Where is the rule of law in Bihar? There is no place for the poor seeking justice,” she said.

The woman added that the rape accused were powerful men with muscle and money power.

“I was told I would be taught a hard lesson if the case against them was not withdrawn. They also told me time and again to shell out Rs.1 crore to police and officials, including the judge. After all, they are rich people, we are poor and weak,” she said.

Ironically, top district officials are reluctant to talk about this shocking incident.

Even those at the police headquarters here say they can say something only after receiving reports from district officials.

However, the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, Congress and Left parties have condemned the incident and blamed the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

“The latest incident has again exposed a total collapse of law and order. Poor people have been targeted by the powerful in Bihar. We will protest against it,” leader of opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui said.

Opposition leaders are likely to visit the village to meet the victim’s mother and inquire into the case soon.

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