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Archives for : Tribe

Probed, declared pregnant, tribal women now ostracized #Vaw #WTFnews

TNN | Jun 12, 2013,

JABALPUR: A tribal panchayat has excommunicated families of nine girls from Madhya Pradesh‘s Betul district, who were found pregnant at a mass marriage event under mukhya mantri kanyadaan yojna.

The girl’s were sent away from the event after undergoing pregnancy tests on June 7. The panchayat, which is the supreme body of Korku and Gonds tribes that form 90% of the population in the region, issued the orders against the families for “bringing ignominy to the community”.

The families have been left to fend for themselves. Even local BJA MLA Geeta Ramjilal, a tribal, has refused to intervene. “In any case, once the tribesmen decide to take a particular course of action, nothing can be done by anyone. Their word is law after all,” she told TOI on Tuesday. She is careful not to upset her party’s tribal vote bank.

Sarju Markam, a panchayat member, said the order can be rescinded if the families invite the villagers for a community meal and host a “jaatmilona”, a function to restore social ties.

“The girls brought dishonour and there was a public spectacle. So penance has to be observed,” he said.

One of the girl’s fiancee said feeding a population of 1,200 is something much beyond her folks.

He said he would stand by her and “marry her the day the crisis gets over”. But he fears the wait could be too long.

As landless labourers, the family collectively earns Rs 1,000 per month and the arrival of monsoon further cuts down earning prospects. Raising the amount for the lunch at a short notice would be impossible. This could mean an uncertain future for him, his prospective bride and the child as well.

The girl, in her 20s, quietly sits at home. She has been forbidden for moving out and has been trying to ignore jeers and barbs aimed at her. Her fiance has been helping the family to find a moneylender to fund the feast.

 

 

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#India – Gandhian activist denied permission to fast over tribal issues

By Newzfirst Correspondent 6/3/13

 

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New Delhi – In a startling development, the Delhi Police on Monday refused permission to Gandhian activist Himanshu Kumar to hold indefinite fast over tribal issues.

In a letter sent by the office of Deputy Commissioner of the Police to Himanshu Kumar, it is said that the permission to stage continuous fast for 10 days cannot be granted in view of security/law & order reasons.

Reacting to the denial of permission, Himanshu Kumar told Newzfirst that the Government doesn’t want people of the Country being educated about the tribal issues and problems.

The Government wants to project Naxalism as the only problem being faced by the country and does not want people to learn about the injustice meted out to tribals in the name of development, he said.

“This was my humble effort that we use this opportunity to ponder on this issue – how should the tribal people of this country be treated.” he said.

However, I will continue to fast, he added. “This is not just a question of the tribals but a question for all those who want to build a better society, where everyone gets justice because it is impossible to even think of peace without justice.”

Annoyed by the Government’s decision to deploy a large number of army troops in the tribal areas post Bastar incident, Himanshu Kumar has begun an indefinite fast- Aatmchintan- on 1 June calling upon the Government and the general mass of the country to do soul-searching over the treatment being meted out to the Tribal people.

24 people including senior Congress leaders were killed in an attack carried out by the Maoists in Bastar, Chhattisgarh on 25 May.

 

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#India -an Appeal From Tribal Activist Himanshu Kumar: On Atrocities, Self Reflection

An Appeal From Tribal Activist Himanshu Kumar: On Atrocities, Self Reflection And More

Posted on: June 2, 2013
-Youth ki Awaaz

Translated from Hindi by Akhil Kumar

Self-Reflection Fast: How should India Behave With Its Tribal Population

Dear friends,

A large number of army troops are being sent to the tribal areas to establish peace.

Whereas past experience tells us that the entry of the army troops in tribal territory has never decreased unrest but escalated it instead.

For a long time now, the tribal people have faced oppression from the government. And if any one of them asks for justice against this oppression, they are branded as Naxalites and tortured again. The government has thus closed all doors of Justice for them.

Soni Sori, Linga Kodopi and Binayak Sen were a victim of government tyranny because they raised their voice against this injustice. We know that the educated and prosperous urban class of India does not see anything wrong with sending the army in large numbers to tribal areas in order to occupy the resources of the indigenous people.

Also, there are talks of using force to suppress the dissatisfaction caused by displacement due to this plunder of resources. But if India keeps killing its citizens like this, it will result in the moral degradation of the Indian community that holds power.

India will have to think, as a nation, on how should it behave with its native inhabitants.

Do we approve of occupying the lands of the tribal community on gun point? Do we believe that we can bring peace to the country after burning their villages, driving them out of their homes and occupying their land?

If once we get habituated to doing injustice to our own citizen, wouldn’t it make way for us to do it to everyone else tomorrow? Today, we will attack the tribals, then we’ll kill Dalits and go on to kill our villagers and then, one day, we will find ourselves surrounded by enemies that we created ourselves.

Hence, we need to review our behavior towards the tribal people as soon as possible.

It is my humble effort that we use this opportunity to ponder on this issue that how should the tribal people of this country be treated. To self introspect on this issue, I am sitting on an indefinite hunger strike from 1st June and I hope that you, wherever you are, will also introspect on it.

This is not just a question of the tribals but a question for all those who want to build a better society, where everyone gets justice because it is impossible to even think of peace without justice.

Please do visit Jantar Mantar if possible, we will be pleased.

Yours
Himanshu kumar
Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

09013893955
[email protected]

 

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Soni Sori gets bail in one more case #Goodnews #Vaw

SUVOJIT BAGCHI, The Hindu , may 30, 2013

An activist protest demanding release of Soni Sori. She got a bail in one of hte eight cases on Thursday by a Chhattisgarh court. File photo
The HinduAn activist protest demanding release of Soni Sori. She got a bail in one of hte eight cases on Thursday by a Chhattisgarh court. File photo

There are close to 2,000 cases in which tribal people have been languishing in jail since two to seven years. Tribal schoolteacher Soni Sori has been granted bail by a court in one of the eight cases filed against her.

Tribal schoolteacher Soni Sori has been granted bail by a court in south Chhattisgarh in one of the eight cases filed against her.

She has already been acquitted in six cases, her lawyer K.K. Dubey told The Hindu.

A charge sheet was filed against Ms. Sori and others in December 2010 at the Bacheli court for allegedly torching vehicles in Nerli, near Dantewada.

Recently, she was awarded bail in the case.

“She could not be acquitted like in other cases as the witnesses did not appear,” said Mr. Dubey.

Earlier this month, Ms. Sori and her relative, activist-journalist Lingaram Kodopi, were acquitted in the Avdesh Gautam case.

They were accused of planning and executing an attack on a local Congress leader and contractor Avdesh Gautam in which two persons were killed. Thirteen other co-accused, including Congress leader Vijay Sodi, CPI leader Lala Ram Kunjam and a panchayat member of Dantewada, Sannuram Mandawi, were also acquitted and released for want of evidence by a Dantewada court.

The only case pending against Ms. Sori and Mr. Kodopi is the controversial Essar Steel case. They have been accused of arranging “protection money” on behalf of the company to Maoists. The main accused, D.V.C.S Verma, general manager at an Essar steel plant, and B.K. Lala, Essar contractor, were arrested for allegedly disbursing the money.

While Ms. Sori and Mr. Kodopi are in jail, like thousands of undertrial tribal people of south Chhattisgarh, Mr. Verma and Mr. Lala had been granted bail.

The charge sheet has been presented to Dantewada district and sessions judge Anita Dehariya. Charges will be framed by the court sometime in June.

“I hope after this bail and previous acquittal it will not be a problem to get a speedy trial and hopefully acquittal in all cases,” said Mr. Dubey.

While Ms. Sori and Mr. Kodopi’s cases were defended by a team of lawyers and monitored by the press, national and international rights groups, there are close to 2,000 cases in which tribal people have been languishing in jail since two to seven years.

“I once tried to put the number of cases together and it was over 600 only in the Dantewada court. It must have crossed 800 now,” said senior advocate Ashok Jain. Majority of these tribal people do not speak any other language than Gondi, have little or no money to pay a fee, have no national or international rights group to defend their cases and have been booked for allegedly participating in Naxal activities.

In private conversation, top bureaucrats, politicians and lawyers acknowledge that a majority of these cases do not merit a trial in higher courts. “This is a tragedy for a democracy,” said Mr. Jain.

In an interview to The Hindu earlier this week, Chief Minister Raman Singh acknowledged that a “huge number of cases” were pending in various district courts.

 

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Silent genocide- Kerala health model has failed in tribal heartland

STAFF REPORTER

: Ekbal

B. Ekbal says the Kerala health model has failed in tribal heartland.

B. Ekbal says the Kerala health model has failed in tribal heartland.

B. Ekbal, public health activist and neurosurgeon, who headed a six-member medical expert team appointed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to study the health problems faced by the tribal people of Attappady, has said that “what the team saw in this tribal heartland is silent genocide.”

The team has been sent to study the problems and suggest remedial measures as 48 tribal infants died of malnutrition during the past 16 months in the hill region.

Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, he said: “The tribal population is facing extinction in Attappady. If the government does not intervene to stop this genocide, it will remain a black mark on Kerala society.”

He said such a grave situation had not developed suddenly, but over many years. So no particular government or political party was to blame.  Everybody was responsible for this deteriorating situation.

He said the medical team, during its two-day visit to the tribal hamlets, found that 99 per cent of the tribal women were anaemic. Almost all tribal children were malnourished.

Dr. Ekbal said the Kerala health model had failed in Attappady. He would no more speak about the model, which claimed that the State had achieved health standards on a par with those of some developed nations. But in Attappady, the health standards were much below the average health indicators of India. The infant mortality rate in Attappady was 66 per 1,000 births as against the national average of 40.

He said intervening in the health sector alone would be insufficient to address the grave situation in the tribal area. An integrated approach covering other sectors too was required.

He urged Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to appoint a young, dynamic IAS officer to coordinate the works of various departments in Attappady to implement the various special packages announced by the government.

No coordination

He said that what one could see was total anarchy in Attappady. There was no coordination among the various departments and the three grama panchayats to take urgent steps to provide relief in this emergency situation.

He said that tribal people were supplied the Matta variety of rice through ration shops, which they did not eat. They should be supplied their traditional food. Thus, there should be structural changes in the rationing system. Nutritious food such as milk, egg and bananas should be directly supplied to the Anganwadis. Accredited social health activists, Anganwadi workers and Integrated Child Development Scheme promoters should be given reorientation training to take up new challenges in Attappady.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme should be restarted in Attappady to provide employment to the tribal population. The tribal people should be brought back to their traditional agriculture, which had ensured food security to them.

The Right to Forest Act should be implemented in Attappady to provide land to landless people. It was only in Kerala that the Act had not been implemented.

 

 

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Recent Supreme Court order in Vedanta case holds hope for tribal community life

 

Published on Down To Earth (http://www.downtoearth.org.in)

 


My god v your resource

Blog Intro:

Recent Supreme Court order in Vedanta case holds hope for tribal community life

Author(s):
Richard Mahapatra

 

imagePhoto: Digpatra

Is a village council qualified to deal with religious beliefs? The answer lies in a recent order by the Supreme Court in the Vedanta case. Gram sabhas (village councils consisting of all voters in a village) in Odisha’s Rayagada and Kalahandi districts will decide whether the industrial activities of Vedanta violate the constitutional right of tribal communities to worship. Translated into practice, the order means voters in a few villages will decide the fate of the multi-billion- rupee project based on their religious beliefs. Though parroted often that religious belief is a private concern, the apex court’s order is exceptional in making religious decision a community one. Those who understand tribal ways of life will vote for this order.

In the past, many orders of the apex court—several of them highly controversial and a few where the court had to issue clarifications—dealt with religion-related issues, including defining Hinduism. In many cases related to religion the judiciary has been cautious and has limited verdicts to ensure the constitutional rights to practice any religion. Going by senior advocates and judicial experts, the Constitution gives more importance to public purpose than to general religious rights. That is why most often the apex court gets to decide on contests between the two.

Though the Vedanta order cannot be clubbed with such cases in a clinical fashion, it is definitely a case related to religion and associated beliefs. There are a few reasons that make this case interesting.

First, it is a perfect case where the government’s power to acquire land for public purpose and having right over minerals are in direct conflict with religious rights of local communities. Secondly, the religious belief in question is that of tribal communities. Unlike many religions, tribal religious beliefs are manifested in tangible living forms like forest, land and water. In this case, the direct conflict between religious belief and public purpose becomes intense as the public purpose acquisitions are the gods and goddesses of the tribals. For the Dongria Kondhs in Odisha, the Niyamgiri hill is the Niyam Raja or god. Thirdly, tribals do not have any supreme religious head or bodies to protect and interpret beliefs. Tribal beliefs are pure functional codes for maintaining the fragile ecology-economy equation that sustains them. This is where the court’s order to assign the village council, that enjoys constitutional powers, to take a call on the religious rights comes as an acknowledgement of the fact that the standard law and religion approach to tribal areas will not work.

Village councils are the new institutions that governments are targeting for effective service delivery. They are fast emerging as tools to turn representative local governments into participatory ones. Whether to identify a beneficiary for a programme or to prepare a village water security plan, at least technically, people have direct say over local development decisions. There are many ways to interpret a court order, but the current order has immense ramification for this institution; it may open up a new front for direct intervention by voters in contentious issues. Never ever have voters been mandated to mediate in such a case. In tribal areas, it is a judicial order to get back to their age-old participatory and commune system of governance.

But here comes the challenge: will the government accept the apex court order in the right spirit?

There is no dearth of cases where village council meetings are engineered to get favourable decisions. Applying all possible tricks, projects that have adverse local impacts, including the case of Vedanta, have handed over dubious consents. Studies carried out across the country show that people hardly attend village council meetings because they never work out in their interests. The court’s interpretation of tribal right to worship and the right to decide on it in general village meeting applies equally to all tribal areas, the hotspots of industrial and mineral development. Though the court upheld the government’s right over the country’s 85 billion tonnes of mineral resources, it also upheld the right of tribal communities over gods and goddesses residing over the resources.

In the next one fortnight, the tribal communities of the two districts will vote not just on their right but also on a mini but crucial plebiscite on the government’s will to implement the court order. Closely, and with vested interests, India’s tribal population will be watching.


 

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#India – Tribal girls going under knife for virginity #Vaw #Patriarchy #WTFnews

Kelly Kislaya, TNN Apr 26, 2013,

RANCHI: Conservative India‘s preference for a blushing, untouched bride is now making a mark in tribal societies, where virginity was never really an issue in the past. Hymenoplasty, or hymen repair surgery, which has for long been popular among women in metros has made its way into the tribal heartland. Though there have been only four queries and two such operations in the city in the last two years, but it is definitely is a start of a new trend in this tribal-dominated city.

Dr Anant Sinha, a plastic surgeon and founder of Devkamal Hospital, the only place in Ranchi that offers hymenoplasty, said: “The first query regarding hymenoplasty came to me around two years ago, but I managed to convince the girl not to undergo the surgery. Since then, I have handled four such cases -I managed to discourage two girls, but had to perform surgery on the other two as they were adamant. The last operation I performed was in October 2012. It is a one hour procedure and costs Rs.15,000.”

Interestingly, three of these four girls were tribals. Sinha said: “I did not ask them too much about their background or why they wanted to get operated, but I did manage to convince one tribal and one non-tribal girl not to get operated. The two operations that I have performed were on tribal girls.”

Tribal girls opting for hymenoplasty has come as a surprise to many as virginity has never been an issue in the tribal society. Giridhariram Gaunjhu, former head of Ranchi University‘s tribal and regional languages department, said: “Tribal societies never questioned a girl’s purity. Many tribes practiced polyandry and promoted widow marriages even when they were taboo in the rest of the country. These girls who opted for hymenoplasty are exceptions and have been influenced by the so-called modern society.”

The influence Gaunjhu is talking about is evident on media and social networking sites, where posts like ‘In the year 2013, a virgin wife is more important than dowry’ are common and underline the message that a man always wants to be the first one to conquer the female’s body. Such messages only create pressure on youngsters to conform.

A 24-year-old girl said: “I have been a sportsperson all my life and my hymen might have ruptured. I just pray that I bleed when I have intercourse with my husband for the first time. This could just ruin my life.” Piyush Lakra, a 28-year-old, said: “One of my friends recently got married and all his friends asked him if his wife was a virgin.”

Sinha said: “Girls want to get hymen restored so that they bleed during their first sexual intercourse after marriage thus giving an impression of being a virgin. People fail to understand that hymen rupture has nothing to do with virginity. A hymen can rupture while doing excessive physical work or during sports like cycling, running or horse-riding.”

 

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#India – Tribal women hit hardest by development: study #Vaw #Womenrights

 

STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu

When displaced by development projects, many migrate to cities as servants, some are lured into prostitution

A study conducted by Centre for Development Studies (CDS) on impact of development on tribal people has found that tribal women are the worst sufferers in this process of change.

The study, titled ‘Withering Valli: Alienation, degradation and enslavement of tribal women in Attappady’ and undertaken along with the Kerala Research Programme on Local Level Development, says the “displacement for development projects has deprived tribesfolk of their land and forests from which much of their food came”.

“Today, they have to walk much longer distances than in the past to collect food and fodder. Impoverishment forces women to migrate to towns and cities as domestic servants. Many of them are also lured into prostitution. Development schemes have effected a thorough change in the socio-economic and cultural life of the tribal women.Transactions are increasingly made in man’s name. Improved facilities of development like transportation, health, housing, and technology have not reached women.” The study has also found that “women continued to work hard and have no time to enjoy the fruits of development. Women’s work is considered unskilled and unproductive in the market sense.”

Women also have to be at the beck and call of officials and contractors who come to tribal areas to implement projects of development, the study observes. “When development programmes are allotted to women, they have to go to various offices to get the programmes sanctioned. Some women have to undergo sexual abuse at the hand of officers. In order to get grants or subsidies for house construction and building of cattle-shed, women are sometimes forced to oblige to officials. Among the victims of rape and sexual harassment, 95 per cent are tribal women and children. Of this, all the victims were tribesfolk belonging to the age group of 6-16 years.”

There are no witnesses to the thousands of unreported atrocities on tribal women like rape, sexual harassment, and murders except the forests, mountains, and valleys, the report says.

The government promotes and even rewards mixed marriages, between tribal women and settlers from other parts of the State, with monetary awards. But the settlers who marry tribal women usually have wife and children back home. After a period, the settlers go back to their own native places leaving their tribal wives and children in lurch.

Among the sexual exploiters of tribal women, the people involved are the police, government officials, contractors, smugglers, flesh-traders, and immigrant farmers. Incidents of death and murder of tribal women have also become common; and almost in every case, the culprits go unpunished. ”

 

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Angry Jeetan Marandi vows to continue stir for poor

JEETAN

 Mukesh Ranjan | Ranchi |  Pioneer, April 1, 2013

Aggravated after his release from the jail after five years, Jeetan Marandi is all set to expedite his movement for the cause of the release of thousands of innocent tribal people lodged in various jails on the pretext of being Naxals.

Jeetan, a prime suspect of the Chilkhari massacre in which Anup Marandi, son of the former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi along with other 17 other people got killed, awarded death sentence by a Giridih Court, was released from Birsa Munda Central Jail on Thursday.

“I am not happy even after my release, as thousands of poor and tribal people are still lodged in jails without any substantial charges against them. My acquittal has exposed the intention of the suppressive Governments at the Centre and in the State,” said Jeetan.

“Had I not been acquitted, the intention of the Government would not have been clear,” added Jeetan. “They are trying to keep me away from my wife and son and have put my wife in the jail with a four-year child with her,” he alleged.

He was arrested allegedly because his name resembled to a Maoist Jeetan Marandi for whom cops had been looking for. There had been wide range of agitations across the country after Jeetan’s arrest on April 5, 2008.

Even Human Rights activist Binayak Sen came in open support of Jeetan Marandi terming the death sentence to the tribal artist as unlawful. An artiste and a tribal rights activist, Jeetan was well known for utilising the power of music to speak against government atrocities on the common man, especially tribals.

He was speaking to the media persons during a felicitation ceremony organised, by Jeetan Marandi Rihai Manch, after his release from the jail at Namkom Bagicha in Ranchi. Jeetan is to be felicitated in Giridih on Sunday.

Jeetan, who also narrated the police atrocities he had to go thorough while he was in jail and looked determined to work for the cause of over 6000 tribal and 10,000 other  people lodged in jail under Crime Control Act. He also accused the State and the Central Governments of conspiring against him to put in the jail to suppress the voice of the poor and downtrodden.

As the Government wants to label Jeetan’s family as a sympathiser of the CPI (Maoists), it has imposed a false case against his wife Aparana Marandi along with her four-year child in jail a few months back. The kid has not even seen his father’s face,” said Central Committee member of the Marxist Co-ordination Committee Sushanto Bhattacharya.

17 people got killed on the spot at Chilkhari on October 26, 2007 while 12 got injured in the massacre. Two more people died later during investigations. During a cultural programme at Chilkhari, a few unidentified persons started firing indiscriminately on the crowd present at the function.

Jeetan and other three were convicted under section 143,342,379,149,120B, 30, 149, Copyright Licencing Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act along with 302.

 

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#India- #Chhattisgarh #tribals denied sterilisation for three decades #WTFnews

AARTI DHAR, The Hindu, Oct 31, 2012

Planning Commission asks Chhattisgarh to ensure that they are not denied facility

A three decades-old official order, issued for restricting targeted sterilisation of the primitive tribal groups (PTGs) in Chhattisgarh to check their dwindling numbers, appears all set for a re-look. This follows a Planning Commission directive to the State government to issue clarificationsto ensure that desirous PTGs will not be denied sterilisation facilities.

“It appears that the order has been construed as a blanket restriction on the PTGs, thereby denying them the facility,” Planning Commission Secretary Sindhushree Khullar has written to the government, following a representation by health activists.

The order was issued on December 13, 1979 by the undivided Madhya Pradesh government during the time when targets were set to achieve population control. However, an exemption was made for 26 blocks, which had a high population of PTGs, now re-named Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), as the infant mortality rate was very high in the tribal areas and their numbers were fast decreasing. These groups are Behor, Pahari Korvas, Abhujmadias, Kamar and Baiga.

While the order said an exception should be made for tribal communities whose population was either stagnant or was decreasing and that they should have access to other contraceptives if they required, it was construed as a total ban on sterilisations for these groups and has been implemented as such since then.

The order, nevertheless, said if anyone insisted on undergoing sterilisation, he/she should be provided the services upon permission from the Block Development Officer.

“The State government shall take a call if we have evidence that the reason for which the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups are sought to be protected through the ban on irreversible interventions — namely decline in population — is no more valid,” Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Sunil Kumar told The Hindu. “In any case, to the best of my knowledge there is no ban on practice of other methods like the use of contraceptives, if the PVTGs so choose to space births.”

Rights violation

However, Sulakshana Nandi of the Public Health Resource Network, which took up the issue as a violation of women’s reproductive rights, said studies showed that the fertility rates of these groups were the same and even higher than the rest of the population. But, their mortality rates were several times more than others. “So, instead of trying to decrease the number of deaths in these communities, the government chose to make them have more children. So now the PTGs, along with dealing with the destruction of their traditional livelihoods, poverty and lack of access to services, have to struggle with large families which have been forced on them,” she explained.

Ms. Nandi said there was evidence to show that instead of getting permission from the government officials, they simply changed their names and went to a different block to get the procedure done. The availability of contraceptives and awareness of spacing methods like IUDs were also very low, particularly among women.

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