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Archives for : Uttar Pradesh

Shocking – In 4.5 hrs 60 women sterilised under Mobile and Torch light in Azamgarh #Vaw #WTFnews

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Another Shocking incident of using a  torch light , even a mobile flash do the Sterilisation!!!

60 women sterilised in  4 hours

 

On an average 4.5 minute per sterilisation

 

The sterilisation operation as done with torchlight and mobile light.

 

No lessons learnt fro chhattisgarh and jharkhand sterilisation deaths 

 Just a few months ago, In  Chhattisgarh ddozens of women after sterilization lost their lives . Claiming to provide adequate health department on Friday Martinganj Azamgarh district in the four-hour operation, 60 women did.

 

The hospital was not lit in the evening  and thet doctors surgery started on mobile light . Martinganj district sterilization camp was held on Friday in the block. 60 women had registered for the sterilization cap .  A team of doctors led by  Dr S P Tiwari arrived at 3.30 p.m. Martinganj block operation began after 8 pm the night .

There was no provision in the light of the hospital. The evening came for sterilization of women highlighted the torch and mobile operation, then the doctor. The Department of Health is beating Didora of adequate sterilization camp. When he spoke to Martinganj medical charge DHANNANJAY Singh said  the electric power  was being uSed to cool the mobile  vaccines. and  the present time there is no light. Later,  IT will be restored.

 

Under the Central  National Rural Health Plan  all the  health centers have been equipped with all facilities including electricity . Yet women’s lives are at stake physician and administrator.  The four and half hour operation is  life threatening for the women. The most important thing is that the hospital is not adequate beds. The medical team was so fast that he made a sterilization just 45 minutes.

A medical team of the Central Government in accordance with the  rules standards  can conduct not moe than 30 surgeries in a day

In januray  2015 , A number of women operated for sterilization were left unattended on the hospital floor in cold weather at Rahul Sankritayan District Women Hospital in Azamgarh
A vasectomy camp was organised at the hospital, where 45 women were operated.

It exposed the reality of medical facilities in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s constituency.

Medical superintendent, Dr Amita Agrawal said that there were only eight beds in the hospital and expressed inability to provide bed to these women.

 

आजमगढ़ में मोबाइल की रोशनी में हुआ नसबंदी का आपरेशन चार घंटे में 60 महिलाओं का किया आपरेशन महिलाओं की जिन्दगी से खेल रहा स्वास्थ्य विभाग ४.५ मिनट में हुआ एक की नसबंदी नसबंदी में लापरवाही से हो चुकी हैं कई मौतें आजमगढ़। महिलाओं की नसबंदी में हो चुकी मौतों से स्वास्थ्य विभाग कोई सबक नहीं ले रहा है।

अभी कुछ माह पूर्व ही छत्तीसगढ़ विलासपुर जनपद के तखतपुर ब्लाक में दर्जनों महिलाएं नसबंदी कराने के बाद काल के गाल में समा गयीं। समुचित व्यवस्था देने का दावा करने वाला स्वास्थ्य विभाग शुक्रवार को आजमगढ़ जनपद के मार्टिनगंज में साढ़े चार घंटे में 60 महिलाओं का आपरेशन कर दिया। अस्पताल में रोशनी की व्यवस्था नही थी तो शाम होते ही चिकित्सकों ने मोबाइल की रोशनी में सर्जरी शुरु कर दी। जनपद के मार्टिनगंज ब्लाक में शुक्रवार को नसबंदी शिविर का आयोजन किया गया था।

इसमें नसबंदी के लिए 60 महिलाओं का पंजीयन हुआ था। डा.एसपी तिवारी के नेतृत्व में चिकित्सकों की टीम अपराह्न 3.30 बजे मार्टिनगंज ब्लाक पर पहुंची उसके बाद आपरेशन शुरु हुआ जो रात करीब 8 बजे तक चला। अस्पताल में रोशनी की कोई व्यवस्था नहीं थी। शाम होते ही नसबंदी के लिए आयी महिलाओं पर जब टार्च व मोबाइल से रोशनी डाली गई तो चिकित्सक ने आपरेशन किया। स्वास्थ्य विभाग नसबंदी शिविर में समुचित व्यवस्था का ढिढोरा पीटता रहा है। जब मार्टिनगंज चिकित्सा प्रभारी डा.धनन्जय सिंह से बात हुई तो उन्होंने कहा कि मोबाइल वैक्सीन को ठंडा करने के लिए बिजली की व्यवस्था है। वर्तमान समय में यहां रोशनी नहीं है। बाद में ठीक करा दिया जायेगा। केंद्र सरकार की योजना राष्ट्रीय ग्रामीण स्वास्थ्य योजना के तहत जनपद के वि•िान्न स्वास्थ्य केंद्रों को सभी सुविधाओं से युक्त किया गया है। इसके बावजूद महिलाओं की जिन्दगी चिकित्सक और व्यवस्थापक दाव पर लगा रहे हैं। साढेÞ चार घंटे में 60 आपरेशन मूलभूत सुविधाओं के अभाव में करना जोखिम भरा कदम है।

सबसे अहम बात यह है कि अस्पताल में पर्याप्त मात्रा में बेड भी नहीं है। इस मेडिकल टीम को इस कदर जल्दी थी कि उसने एक नसबंदी में महज 4.5 मिनट ही लगाये। केंद्र सरकार के मानकों के अनुसार एक मेडिकल टीम एक दिन में महज 30 सर्जरी कर सकती है लेकिन यहां तो एक अकेले डाक्टर ने ही 60 महिलाओं की नसबंदी कर डाली । भ ले ही महिलाओं की जान जोखिम में पड़ी रही।

Reported in Amar Ujwala newspaper click below

Amar Uajala-Varanasi-Azamgarh, 28-2-15, pg. 2

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Dalit woman Gang raped , stripped and tied to tree

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A case of gang rape has come to light in Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav’s Lok Sabha constituency Kannauj where the son of a village chief and his two friends sexually assaulted a 32-year-old Dalit woman and tied her naked to a tree.

Police reportedly delayed action against the main accused, Sarvesh Yadav, as his father is the chief of Sukhi village panchayat. The accused is the principal of a government primary school at Kudhina in Kannauj district. He was later arrested late on Monday following the pressure from villagers.

Later, a case was lodged against the trio when a large number of villagers assembled outside the local police station to demand action against the three accused.

The victim claimed that Sarvesh had molested her some days ago after calling her on the pretext of helping her get a lease for farming. “I had told my husband about the incident. But as Sarvesh is well-connected with the politicians, we decided to keep quiet. I had no inkling that Sarvesh and his friends were waiting with a sinister plan in place when I went to the field on Saturday evening. They also stripped and tied me to a tree with my sari,” she wrote in her complaint.

When contacted, Additional Superintendent of Police Subhash Shakya said: “The victim has been sent for medical examination and the main accused has been booked. Further action will be initiated once the medical report is submitted.” The main accused, meanwhile, claimed that the woman had encroached land of one Arvind Jatav. “She is trying to malign me because I support Jatav,” Sarvesh said.

The allegations have been refuted by the victim’s husband, who said that the villagers know that the accused is a rogue.

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Over 600 ‘communal incidents’ in UP since LS results, 60% near bypoll seats

 Indian Express investigation part-I:

Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | Moradabad | August 5, 2014
Jakhir Ahmed has a shop next to the gate on the Bijnor-Haridwar highway. Source: Oinam AnandJakhir Ahmed has a shop next to the gate on the Bijnor-Haridwar highway. Source: Oinam Anand

SUMMARY

Police records show provocation from all sides: aggressive BJP, desperate Samajwadi Party, shrinking BSP.

A third of all “communal” incidents recorded by police in Uttar Pradesh in the 10 weeks following the Lok Sabha election results have occurred in — or on the fringes of — 12 assembly constituencies that are scheduled to go to polls over the next few months.

If a larger circle is imagined — covering broadly the region around these constituencies — this proportion rises to two-thirds, police records scrutinised by The Indian Express show.

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The records show a running strand of attempts made by an aggressive BJP, a desperate SP, and a flagging BSP to turn every clash involving individuals from the two largest religious communities into a communal issue.

There is also clear evidence of provocation in areas where Dalits and Muslims live together, leading to communal polarisation.

Between May 16 — when UP delivered a spectacular tally to the BJP in the Lok Sabha — and July 25, 605 low-key clashes took place which police identified as “communal” in nature. Nearly 200 of these occurred in or around the 12 constituencies, and another 200 in the broader region.

MLAs at these 12 assembly seats contested the Lok Sabha elections and have become MPs. Polls to the vacant seats are due within six months.

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Five of these seats — Saharanpur Nagar, Bijnor, Kairana, Thakurwada and Gautam Buddh Nagar — are in Western UP, where the largest number of 259 communal incidents were recorded. Fifty-three incidents took place in Awadh, where the Lucknow East assembly seat will go to polls.

In the Terai, Eastern UP and Bundelkhand regions, each of which is home to two of the 12 seats, 29, 16, and 6 incidents respectively were recorded.

Records of more than 400 communal incidents in and around the constituencies show that tensions arose out of broadly six issues. The most common were construction activities involving masjids, madrasas and kabristans (graveyards); and the use of loudspeakers for prayers (120 instances each).

Issues of land led to communal tensions in about 70 cases; alleged incidents of cow slaughter in 61 cases; and alleged incidents of elopement and eve-teasing or harassment involving men and women of different communities in 50-odd cases. Minor accidents triggered communal incidents in some 30 cases.

In mid-July, in Bijnor’s Keeratpur area, a delegation met the district administration to demand that the construction of a gate on the Bijnor-Haridwar highway be stopped because the top of the gate was beginning to resemble an Islamic “minar”. The administration has now stopped work on the gate, but at a local mandir barely 10 metres away, a practice has begun of weekly recitals of Hanuman Chalisa, at which the gathering is told of the construction.

Septuagenarian Jakhir Ahmed, who has kept a small shop next to the gate for three decades, said, “Construction had been on for months. Suddenly, a few weeks ago, protesters showed up, demanding its demolition.”

A senior official of the district administration, who didn’t want to be identified, said, “There is a constant pressure from one group to keep issues burning. We get daily complaints about issues, many of which are old. But they are being pursued on a day-to-day basis. And wherever possible, politics is being introduced.”

On June 20, in Rampur village of Bijnor’s Nagina region, Muslims objected to a DJ playing music in the community hall of the village. The music was turned off, but the following day, a clash broke out between Hindus and Muslims. Police and local people are still not sure how the trouble began.

Five days later, in Noorpur Chiperi village 50 km away in the Sherkot area of the same district, residents objected to music beign played at a birthday party for the nephew of pradhan Mahavir Singh. Here too, the music was turned off, but some local dailies reported that Hindus and Muslims had clashed. The following day, the police arrested a Muslim man for allegedly intruding into a temple and damaging the mandir’s property.

When The Indian Express visited Noorpur Chiperi, a Dalit-dominated village, the pradhan brushed aside the incident. “It was a misunderstanding based on wrong information. We have no problems.”

Not far away, in the Gulabbadi area of Moradabad town, where Dalits and Muslims live in almost equal numbers, police have begun to receive anonymous calls about the construction of a minar in a masjid. The masjid in question is deep inside a narrow street, lined by buildings standing cheek-by-jowl, and crisscrossed overhead by a thick jumble of hanging power cables.

On July 1, four loudspeakers on the second-floor roof of the mosque were raised to a height of three feet for Ramzan. The calls to the local police and district administration have, however, been complaining of “attempts to raise a new minar, leading to the setting of a precedent”.

Only a fortnight earlier, police and protesters had clashed in Kant, 35 km from the town, after the administration brought down a newly set up loudspeaker in a Dalit temple.

According to a senior police official, the incidents “reveal how closely communities are keeping a watch on issues that have potential for communal clashes”. The loudspeakers of the Moradabad masjid have been returned to their original height. DIG, Moradabad Zone, Gulab Singh, said, “Even small issues like motorbike accidents involving Hindus and Muslims is leading to mobs gathering. No one seems willing to see reason.”

Read mor ehere- http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttar-pradesh/express-investigation-part-i-over-600-communal-incidents-in-up-since-ls-results-60-near-bypoll-seats/

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Can we save Ganga?

Jul 31, 2014 | From the print edition

The Ganga is getting political attention. What does it take to clean the river? Soma Basu and Sushmita Sengupta travel with photographerVikas Choudhary from Kanpur to Varanasi, the river’s most polluted stretch, to understand why the pollution is so persistent, while Sunita Narain suggests ways to clean it

Sisamau Nala, Kanpur's most polluted and largest open drain, spews domestic waste into the GangaSisamau Nala, Kanpur’s most polluted and largest open drain, spews domestic waste into the Ganga

UMA SHANKAR is fidgety as he rows his boat in the Ganga in Varanasi. His mouth, full of betel nut juice, is swollen like a water balloon. His head is pounding in the eagerness to spit it out. At such moments earlier, he would conveniently empty his mouth into the Gan-ga and take tourists around, telling stories of the holy river and the ghats. But the 40-year-old Nishad, a community hailed as children of water in mythology, is in a rush to reach the other side of the river. He cannot dare to spit the betel nut juice into the water. After all, Union water resources minister Uma Bharti has recently announced that people found spitting in the Ganga could be fined Rs 10,000 or jailed for three days.

Shankar steals a glance at the camera of Down To Earth photographer, scared that just one picture of him spitting may cost him his boat. His attempt is laudable. But what would a little spit do in the sea of sewage that is spilled into the river every day. In 1986, the government had launched the first phase of Ganga Action Plan (GAP-I) to protect the country’s largest river basin. It selected stretches of the river along 25 cities in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. In 1993, GAP-II was initiated which included the river’s tributaries—the Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and the Mahanadi. On February 20, 2009, the Union government gave the Ganga the status of a National River and re-launched GAP with a reconstituted National Ganga River Basin Authority. The re-launched GAP took into account the entire river basin and emphasised the river’s need to have adequate water to maintain its ecological flow. But five years after the re-launch, pollution levels are still, to say the least, grim. Rivers have the ability to clean themselves—to assimilate and treat biological waste using sunlight and oxygen. But the Ganga gets no time to breathe and revive. There are more settlements and many more people who live along its banks. All take water and return only waste. The Ganga dies, not once but many times in its 2,500 km journey from the Gangotri in the Himalayas to Diamond Harbour in the Bay of Bengal (see ‘Highly polluted stretches’).

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The July 2013 report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows unacceptable levels of faecal coliform, a clear sign of human excreta, all along the river’s mainstream (see ‘Faecal coliform levels…’). But it is even more worrying that faecal coliform levels are increasing even in upper reaches like Rudraprayag and Devprayag, where the river’s oxygenating ability is the highest. In these parts, water withdrawal for hydropower plants has put the river’s health in danger. As the Ganga flows down the plains, water is taken away for irrigation and drinking, so much so that during winters and peak summer months the river goes dry in many parts, and only sewage flows between its banks. The holy river is, thus, converted into a stinking sewer.

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Why so polluted?

Thirty-six settlements, classified as Class-I cities, contribute 96 per cent of wastewater draining into the river. According to CPCB’s 2013 report, 2,723 million litres per day (mld) of domestic sewage is discharged by cities located along the river. But even this may be a gross underestimate as the calculation is based on the water that is supplied in the cities. As city managers often do not supply all the water that is used—much is groundwater—the actual sewage is often higher. This is what CPCB found when it measured the discharge from drains into the Ganga—6,000 mld was discharged into the river (see ‘State of pollution’).

State of pollutionNeedless to say, the capacity to treat this sewage is inadequate. But it is even smaller, if we consider two facts: one, that the gap between sewage generation and treatment remains the same every year—55 per cent. So even as the treatment capacity is added, more sewage gets added because of population growth. The situation worsens if the actual measured discharge from drains is taken to estimate the pollution load. Then the gap between what is installed and what is generated goes up to 80 per cent.

Over and above this, 764 industrial units along the main stretch of the river and its tributaries Kali and Ramganga discharge 500 mld of mostly toxic waste. All efforts to rein in this pollution have failed.

The horror does not end here. These cities have grown without planning and investment, so most do not have underground drainage networks. Even in Allahabad and Varanasi 80 per cent of the areas are without sewers. Waste is generated but not conveyed to treatment plants. There is no power to run treatment plants; bankrupt municipalities and water utilities have no money to pay for operations. CPCB checked 51 out of 64 sewage treatment plants (STPs) along the Ganga in 2013. It found only 60 per cent of installed capacity of the plants was being used; 30 per cent of the STPs were not even operational. So actual treatment is even less, and untreated waste discharged into the river even more.

Ganga’s journey through Uttar Pradesh—from Kanpur through Unnao, Fatehpur to Raibareilly and then Allahabad and Varanasi via Mirzapur—is killing. The river does not get the chance to assimilate the waste poured into it from cities and industries. It is only in Allahabad that some cleaner water is added through the Yamuna, which helps it to recover somewhat. Then as it moves towards Varanasi, sewage is poured in again. It dies again.

This land is where the poorest of India live; where urban governance is almost non-existent; and pollution thrives. In 2013, CPCB identified 33 drains along the Kanpur-Varanasi stretch with high biological oxygen demand (BOD), the key indicator of pollution. Of the 33, seven are big offenders, with high BOD load.

Uttar Pradesh has 687 grossly polluting industries, finds CPCB. These largely small scale, often illegal units—tanneries, sugar, pulp and paper and chemical—contribute 270 mld of wastewater. But what really matters is the location of the plants. While over 400 tanneries contribute only 8 per cent of the industrial discharge, they spew highly toxic effluent into the river and are located as a cluster near Kanpur. So the concentration of pollution is high. It is alarming that not much is happening to control pollution. The law is helpless. In 2013, an inspection of 404 industrial units by CPCB showed that all but 23 did not comply with the law. Directions have been issued and closure notices served. But it is business as usual.

Pollution has unnerved the people living along the river. After Uma Shankar manages to rinse his mouth, he says, “We cannot wash or bathe or catch fish. Why are the drains that pour in the city’s filth not plugged? People talk of cleaning the Ganga. The slogan should be ‘save the Ganga’.

 

Tales of two polluted cities

KANPUR

Kanpur unabashedly dumps poisonous industrial effluent into the Ganga, while Varanasi releases its untreated wastewater in absence of sewerage network

Sisamau nala, the largest open drain in Kanpur, is infamous for many reasons. Unclaimed bodies and garbage are unabashedly dumped into it. People living in Bakarmandi, a densely populated settlement along the nala, have horrifying stories to tell. While one talks about the nightmares his child had after a human carcass got stuck in the drain just metres from his doorstep, another narrates the torture of living amid faeces, garbage and snakes after the monsoon made the nala swell and enter his house.

But then no one can complain that authorities do not work. Every morning about 20 safaikarmacharisjump into the thick concoction of sewage and chemicals, and remove all that obstructs the nala’s flow. In the afternoon, the heap collected in the morning is pushed back into the nala, and the day goes on as usual. The cycle continues day after day.

As SisamauNala falls into the Ganga near BhaironGhat, it paints a pretty picture as a waterfall. But no one ventures close to it because of the unbearable stench it emanates. Boatmen fear their oars may get stuck in plastic, clothes and other trash that the nala carries. “Water here is so poisonous that often dead fish are seen floating on it,” says fisher Vijay Kumar. He can catch only hybrid telapia, an invasive species which manages to survive high toxicity in the water. He sells the fish in the market. “It is impossible to get freshwater fish like rohu here,” he says.

Ineffective STPsOn the other side of the river, Rajesh Kumar Kashyap grows gourd and melon. “I cannot use river water to irrigate my plants. They will die if I do so,” he says. So he dug up a borewell. With the diesel cost added, his profit per season does not go beyond Rs 5,000.

Just like Sisamau, 22 drains and over 400 industries, mostly tanneries, discharge toxic waste into the Ganga at Kanpur (see ‘The polluters’). The river receives 435 million litres per day (mld) domestic sewage and 50 mld waste from tanneries. Two STPs, of 5 mld and 130 mld capacity, treat domestic waste and a 36 mld common effluent treatment plant (CETP) treats 9 mld industrial and 27 mld domestic waste. The city has 162 mld of installed capacity to treat domestic sewage, but only 140.98 mld sewage reaches the plants, says Rajesh Kumar, project manager, Jal Nigam. A big reason for this is that only 39 per cent of the city is connected to the sewage system, he says. This means rest of the sewage, generated by 2,800,000 people, is dumped directly into the Ganga. Even the quality of waste that reaches the plants is far more polluted than they are designed to treat, says Kumar (see ‘Ineffective STPs’). During long power cuts STPs cannot run—diesel theft is common here. So effluent is discharged untreated into the river. The river dies again and again.

Building drains, going nowhere

Jajmau, a suburb of Kanpur, has an active tannery industry. But it does not have a sewerage network. The Jal Nigam has prepared a masterplan to develop a sewerage network here, which will get money from the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) funds, says Ajay Singh Gaur, projects manager, Jal Nigam. According to the masterplan, by 2050 Jajmau’s population would increase to 1,600,000 people who will generate 220 mld wastewater. By 2050, as much as 2,455 km of sewer will be laid out, says Gaur. But this plan is another pipe dream as past plans for drainage have gone nowhere.

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Kanpur received Rs 73 crore under GAP-I, Rs 87 crore under GAP-II and Rs 370 crore under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) to set up a sewage collection and treatment system. But despite the funds, not even 50 per cent of the city is connected to sewer lines. According to IIT-Consortiums for NGRBA, the projects under GAP-II are still incomplete. “Most of the work under JNNURM is pending due to lack of funds or absence of permission from the district administration,” says Rajesh Kumar, project manager, Jal Nigam. The nigam has now asked the state government for more funds to complete work pending under JNNURM.

PankajBhushan, environment engineer, Kanpur Nagar Nigam, says JNNURM projects are delayed because land for setting up STPs is not available. Almitra H Patel, member of the Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management, does not buy this argument. The riverbank where the Sisamau drain falls into the Ganga is a graveyard of failed enterprises—Elgin Mills (18 ha), Tannery and Footwear Corporation of India (15 ha) and a riverside powerhouse (12 ha). “An advantage of this site is the enormously long and wide channel that the Sisamau outfall has carved out for itself. The area can be converted into a series of oxidation ponds by bunding the riverbed. This can support fish life and restore natural ecology of the stream,” she says. But engineers do not have time for such innovative solutions. They are busy planning more drainage and STPs. So what if they do not get built?

The state government has also taken steps to modernise the ghats. It has allocated Rs 30 crore in its budget for the purpose, says Alok Ranjan Mishra, chief secretary, Uttar Pradesh. The work includes setting up of toilets. Some toilets have already been set up. “But these are too far from the ghats,” says Jyoti Ram, priest at SarsaiyyaGhat.

So, with many plans and much money allocated to clean the river, millions of litres of sewage continue to pour into the Ganga at Kanpur. According to the Jal Nigam, the city’s population will increase to close to 6 million in 2030, while sewage generation will more than double. The problem is that the Ganga cleaners still think that they will be able to fix the city’s sewage network someday, and all the sewage will be intercepted and treated before it is discharged into the river. Given their dismal track record, the fate of the Ganga in Kanpur seems sealed as soiled.

VARANASI

Pilgrims who bathe at Ramnagar Ghat in Varanasi leave behind heaps of garbagePilgrims who bathe at Ramnagar Ghat in Varanasi leave behind heaps of garbage

The holy city, now the constituency of the prime minister, is a mesh of narrow lanes housing centuries-old buildings. Stepping into these lanes requires great caution. Human and animal excreta are almost everywhere on the cobbled path. It is not without reason that people call a large part of Varanasi an open defecation ground.

imageThe garbage collection system is virtually non-existent; sewage connectivity exists in small parts of the old city, but even there it has more or less gone under (see ‘Varanasi disconnected’). The rest of the city spews its waste into open drains and from there into the Ganga. Open defecation spots line the banks. All in all, waste and pollution are drowning the city of 3,600,000 people and a large number of pilgrims and tourists, and taking a toll on the river.

Now there is change in the air. The new prime minister, NarendraModi, has said that cleaning the Ganga is his personal mission.

So, within a month of his swearing in, on June 21, Union urban development secretary Sudhir Krishna reached the city and held meetings with senior officials of the Jal Nigam and the Nagar Nigam. After inspecting various sites, Krishna spoke to mediapersons and said the sewerage system developed under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was not connected to the sewage treatment plants (STPs) at many places. In other words, it is not helping clean the river.

City named after its rivers, now drains

It is said that Varanasi’s name is derived from rivers Varuna and Assi. These freshwater rivers could have been a great source of dilution for the Ganga. But years of negligence has turned them into drains. A right to information (RTI) query filed early this year by U K Choudhary, professor at Ganga Research Centre, Banaras Hindu University, shows that in April, 2013, the Jal Nigam decided to keep the Assi free from sewage lines.

Despite this, a couple of months later it laid down a 120-metre sewage pipeline from Kewaldham to SankatMochan temple, which flows into the Assi. More sewage pipelines were set up which discharge waste into the Assi and the Varuna. Besides, there are 31 drains that dump effluent into the Ganga. The two rivers, which had the potential to give the Ganga a fresh lease of life, only increased the pollution load.

When Down To Earth asked a Jal Nigam engineer for the composition of waste before it reaches the Dinapur treatment plant, he said he had no information on it. Neither did he have any knowledge on the condition of branch sewer lines near the main ghats of Varanasi.

image

A classic example of bad planning is the 140-mld STPproposed to be built at Sathwa, says B D Tripathi, member, NGRBA. The STP was to get sewage from the city, so the Jal Nigam set up a pipeline for the purpose. But when farmers refused to give their land, the Jal Nigam planned to divert the pipeline to the STP near Dinapur, which is 19 km away and at a slightly higher altitude. Pumping sewage to make it flow against gravity requires electricity, which means added cost.

Old city’s old sewerage system

Varanasi was introduced to the sewerage system in 1891, say Jal Nigam officials. Three key drains—Rajghat, Nagwa, Ramnagar—carried sewage and stormwater. In 1954, the state government started building sewage pumping stations on different ghats to intercept the sewage and divert it to a farm in Dinapur village located at the city’s end. In the 1970s, pumping stations at HarishchandraGhat, Rajendra Prasad Ghat, JalasenGhat and TrichlochanGhat were completed and handed over to JalSansthan, the city’s water agency.

imageAfter GAP-I was launched in 1986, STPs were established at Bhagwanpur (9.8 mld capacity), Dinapur (80 mld capacity) and at Diesel Locomotive Works (12 mld capacity). Two pumping stations, at Mansarovar and Konya, were also built. At present, 30 per cent of the city is connected to sewerage network, to tackle 300 mld of waste.

As early as 1997 a city-based group, SankatMochan Foundation, had suggested an affordable variation on the expensive pollution scheme (see ‘Alternate plan for the city’). The city could build watertight interceptors along the ghats that worked on the principle of gravity, cutting electricity (pumping) costs. Some 5 km downstream of the city, in Sota, the sewage could be treated in advanced integrated oxidation ponds with the help of bacteria and algae. The capital cost of this alternative was projected to be Rs 150 core.

But it had been rejected, again and again, by the engineering brains of Varanasi’s public water works department. Their excuse, as the consultants repeat, is that the interceptor it proposes is not feasible for it would disrupt pilgrims and damage the historic ghats during excavation. “There is enough flow of money but the Jal Nigam is not interested in doing concrete work,” says Vishambhar Mishra of SankatMochan Foundation. His father Veer Bhadra Mishra, who passed away last year, had spent his life working to find solutions to the river’s pollution.

GAP-II, launched in 1993, sanctioned four projects (see ‘GAP-II status in Varanasi’). Three were to intercept and divert sewage and one to set up a 50 mldSTP. Jal Nigam officials say 139 km out of the planned 142 km of sewer lines under GAP-II are in place. But it is still unclear if these add to anything because the lines are not connected to the STPs. The proposed STP has not been set up because land is not available. Jal Nigam has now revised the cost of the work from Rs 309.12 crore to Rs 407.31 crore. More money leads to more pollution is the dictum of this river-cleaning non-business.

 

Polluting tanneries

Industry resists proposal to shift tanneries

Highly toxic industrial wastewater flows into an irrigation canal at Jajmau, in the suburbs of KanpurHighly toxic industrial wastewater flows into an irrigation canal at Jajmau, in the suburbs of Kanpur

The ganga is thick and black at the outfall of WazidpurNala at Jajmau, Kanpur. A drive along the drain is enough to make one dizzy. It carries sludge loaded with chemicals from over 400 tanneries in the city and dumps it directly into the Ganga.

The 150-year-old tanneries are the biggest reason for pollution in the Ganga, shows response to a public interest petition filed in 2006 at the Allahabad High Court. The tanneries no longer use environment-friendly vegetable dyes for tanning leather. Instead, they use highly toxic chromium which is cost-effective. There are some units which discharge chromium 100 times the permissible level. An analysis done by IIT-Kanpur in April 2014 states that the only plant that treats industrial waste, receives wastewater with 192 mg per litre chromium. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has set 2 mg per litre as the standard for influent.

Neither the tannery owners, nor the authorities take the blame for the pollution. Imran Siddiqui, director of Super Tannery Limited, says the CETP, built in 1986, was designed to treat only industrial waste. But it has to treat domestic waste also, which then reduces its capacity to clean tannery waste. The Jal Nigam says the JajmauCETP was designed to treat effluent from units using vegetable dyes. Because of high chemical content in the effluent, the CETP often malfunctions. So untreated effluent is drained into the Ganga, says a Jal Nigam official who did not wish to be named. The 36-mld CETP is designed to treat only 9 mld tannery waste.

According to the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC), there are 170 tanneries in Kanpur. But currently, 400 tanneries are operating in the area, says the state pollution control board. Tannery owners increase the number of units on single registration and claim that the new factories are only sub-properties of the main property, says the Jal Nigam official. Ajay Kanojia, process chemist, JajmauCETP, says tannery units do not have their primary effluent treatment plants in order. In most places flow metres, which check the amount of wastewater flowing from tanneries to the drains, do not function. It is the same case with chromium recovery units, which have been set up according to UPPCB guidelines. So, the end result is pollution.

Shift or not?

The Allahabad High Court suggested that tanneries should be shifted to areas which have provision to treat effluent before it is dumped into the river. UPSIDC has allotted 69 ha for tanneries at Ramaipur near the Panduriver on the outskirts of Kanpur, says R S Pathak, regional manager, UPSIDC. But reloaction has not always been a success.

In 2005, the tanneries in Tangra, Kolkata, were shifted to Bantala Leather Complex, close to East Kolkata Wetlands. The CETP there should have had six modules to treat chemical waste as per the design of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. But the government could set up only four. These, too, stopped functioning within months of completion. The Bantala plan proved to be a failure, and the tanners returned to Tangra.

Tannery owners of Kanpur have also expressed displeasure over the high court proposal. Jajmau Tanneries Association and Jajmau Tanneries Envir-onmental Protection Association have requested the government to rethink its plan, says Siddiqui. The industries at Jajmau and Unnao had together exported leather costing Rs 6,000 crore last year. Members of the associations say shifting will cost more than Rs 20,000 crore. It will also force smaller tanneries to close down, and the bigger ones will have problems procuring raw material and labourers at the new site, they say.

In 2009, tannery associations involved IL&FS Cluster Development Agency, an infrastructure project development and financing institution, to prepare a detailed project report to upgrade the CETP for tannery cluster at Jajmau. They proposed four modules of 16 mld each and got the state government to finance 20 per cent of the project. They forwarded the proposal to the Centre for further finances. The project was later junked by the Central Leather Research Institute, which prepared another project report worth Rs 3 crore for a 50 mld zero-waste CETP. P K Asudani, Jal Nigam managing director, says the project’s cost was to be shared 25 per cent by the state government, 25 per cent by the tanneries and 50 per cent by the Centre. “Till date nobody has given any money,” he says.

In 2011, the high court had ordered closure of the polluting tannery units but they are back in business, says the Jal Nigam official. In 2012 and 2013, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) served notices to the tannery industry to maintain the quality of discharge as per CPCB norms. Following this some units reduced the quantity of chromium used in the tanning process. It helped their primary treatment plants as well as chromium recovery units to start functioning. But soon they reverted to their old ways.

“CPCB has often served the industry stop work notices. But even when the factory gates are closed, operation continues inside,” says SeemaPandey, member of ShramBharati, non-profit which works to rehabilitate the tannery workers of Jajmau.

Jal Nigam officials are scared to take action against the industry. “The tanneries are under direct control of a political heavyweight. Besides, the mafia here is very active. Even CPCB officials do not dare to inspect the area,” alleges a Nagar Nigam official. “There have been several incidents when government officials have been heckled and inspection teams chased away,” he says. Meanwhile, toxic effluents continue to flow into the Ganga.

Tanneries’ curse

Iswari Devi, 82, lost her fingers after working on the agricultural fields. Tannery units discharge their waste in the fieldsIswari Devi, 82, lost her fingers after working on the agricultural fields. Tannery units discharge their waste in the fieldsPeople LIVING in Jana village, Jajmau, seldom get visitors. Those who do visit the place make sure not to eat or drink anything in the village. “It’s because the water and soil here are extremely poisonous. Everyone here, man, woman or child, is extremely sickly,” says resident Anil Kumar.

His mother has deformed fingers. Eighty-two-year-old Iswari Devi has always worked on the fields. Kumar says it’s the toxic chemical laden water from the tanneries in their fields that cripples them. “All those who work on the fields have their fingers and toes deformed,” he says. One of them, Shiv CharanNishad, thought it was an early sign of leprosy. He rushed to the doctor, but was told that the chemicals released from tanneries nearby were the culprit.

Eight-year-old Anwar, son of a worker at a tannery in Jajmau, Kanpur, always complains of stomach ache. He looks smaller than his age, like most people in Jajmau. He lives in a slum close to WajidporeNala. “We breathe in gas emanating from the drain day in and day out. Doctors tell us to live in a clean and hygienic place, but we have nowhere to go. It seems being sick is our fate,” says a dejected AminaBibi, Anwar’s mother.

People who own animals give them water from the only tubewell that is not contaminated. Buffaloes have lost the power to conceive and stopped giving milk. The stories are similar in nearby villages like Kulgaon and Atwa. At RamadeviMandi, the vegetable market, nobody wants to buy anything that comes from Jana, once known for its rose plantations. “Vegetables have no taste. Even cooked food gets infested by insects if left in the open for an hour,” says 42-year-old Rama Devi. Water from the tubewell turns yellow if exposed to air. “The iron poles and gates of houses have started corroding,” she adds.

RajanKashyap of Jana says about 10 years ago residents contributed money and approached a non-profit to help them fight a court case against the tanneries. After a case was filed in the Allahabad High Court, the person from the non-profit disappeared with all the money and documents. “He was being paid by industry owners,” says Kashyap.

The industries used to discharge effluent into the fields and claim money for it saying it would nourish the crops, he says. “When we said we did not want dirty water, they told us to take it for free. We resist but there is no one to listen to us”.

 

Let the river flow

CSE suggests actions for cleaning Ganga

Chemical-laden Wazidpur drain in Kanpur causes health problems among residents; Varuna river in Varanasi has turned into a drain and has a dumpyard along its bankChemical-laden Wazidpur drain in Kanpur causes health problems among residents; Varuna river in Varanasi has turned into a drain and has a dumpyard along its bank;

Ganga was a major issue for Prime Minister NarendraModi when he contested elections from Varanasi. By now, three new ghats have been announced for Varanasi; there is a separate ministry for Ganga rejuvenation, headed by firebrand BharatiyaJanata Party leader Uma Bharti. This ministry and three others—environment, tourism and shipping—have been brought together to prepare a grand plan for inland waterways and water resources. The question is: how different and effective the plan will be given that the emphasis of pollution managers has remained on building more sewage treatment facilities and drainage networks.

Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has a different approach for river cleaning. It recommends the following:

First, accept that the river needs water to dilute waste. In India, where the cost of pollution control is unaffordable and massive, a cheaper option is to dilute the waste with clean and flowing water. The standards for water quality also provide for a dilution factor of 10, but it is not followed. This is why discharge standards for waterbodies are set at 30 biological oxygen demand (BOD), while bathing water quality standard is 3 BOD. So even after the best treatment, the river needs 10 times the water to bring it to acceptable quality.

CSE recommends that ecological flow should be mandatory in all stretches of the river; funding should be conditional to the state government making available this water in the river. But as this additional flow for the river’s sake is going to take away water from other users, it is bound to be contested. So the governments will have to take hard steps—augment water by building storage to collect monsoon water for dilution within its territory, or make efficiency gains in water supply.

Safai Karmacharis declog Sesamau drain in Kanpur every morning, but the garbage is pushed back into the drain by the afternoonSafai Karmacharis declog Sesamau drain in Kanpur every morning, but the garbage is pushed back into the drain by the afternoon

Secondly, we need to accept that it is difficult for urban areas to build conventional sewerage networks at the required scale and pace. The conveyance of waste, therefore, must be re-conceptualised and implemented while planning sewage treatment plants (STPs).

This will lead to innovative ideas for controlling pollution in drains in situ—treatment of sewage as well as local treatment and reuse. Also, if the plans are premised on the acceptance of non-availability of sewerage networks, discharge of treated effluent will be carefully designed. Treated effluent will not be mixed with the untreated waste in drains. Instead, all treated effluent will either be reused or discharged into the river.

Thirdly, no untreated waste should be disposed of in the river. If there is no water in the river and only waste is discharged, standards should be so stringent that they can meet bathing or drinking water quality. This will be prohibitively expensive and it makes no economic sense to clean wastewater to drinking water quality and then not use it for the purpose.

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Drain-wise planning is a must so that waste is treated without first building the internal conveyance system. Interception and pumping to STPs need to be planned. Planning for in situ drain treatment will bring down pollution levels of discharge that is not intercepted. The bottom line lies in using open drain for treatment of waste.

If all this cannot be done, the only alternative for cleaning the river is to ask cities to get their water supply downstream of their discharge points. Cities will have to use their wastewater and invest in cleaning it to turn it into drinking water. Fifth is the key question about funding. CSE says Ganga cleaning programmes need to be publicly funded while also ensuring that states and municipal bodies contribute through funds or through release of water for ecological flow.

Even if the current situation requires Central government’s assistance for capital and operational costs, it is untenable in the long run. As long as states do not have the responsibility to build and maintain sewage treatment systems, they have no incentive to plan for affordable solutions. In the current system, the Centre will pay full capital cost for infrastructure and for running the plant.

The bottom line is that we all live downstream. If we don’t clean the Ganga we will be the biggest losers—a generation will lose something as valuable and precious as rivers. This, says CSE, is unacceptable. It is time governments understood this and redesigned the programmes for cleaning the Ganga.

 

Read more here- http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/can-we-save-ganga?page=0,3

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Uttar Pradesh – 2 killed in clashes in Saharanpur curfew imposed

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, July 26, 2014

Two persons were killed and at least 12 injured as clashes broke out between two communities over a land dispute at Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.

Curfew was imposed in the town, nearly 170 km from national capital Delhi and 560 km from state capital Lucknow, following the outbreak of violence in which mobs set nearly two dozen shops and a dozen vehicles on fire.

“Harish Kochar, a traders’ leader, and an unidentified person have been killed in the clashes. A policeman has sustained bullet injury in the clashes,” Saharanpur divisional commissioner Tanveer Zafar Ali said.

Watch video: Two groups clash over land dispute in Saharanpur, curfew imposed

A long-standing dispute between the two communities over two places of worship close to each other led to the flare-up, the police said.

N Ravindra, deputy inspector general of police, Saharanpur range, said litigation was on in a local court over a piece of land between the two places of worship.

On Saturday morning, members of one community began construction of a boundary wall around the land. Several members of the other community gathered and started opposing the construction.

Soon, both groups began throwing stones at each other. The clash rapidly spread to nearby localities and arson began.

The police fired in the air and baton-charged mobs. The district administration assessed the situation and quickly declared curfew in six areas.

The administration also diverted the route of the ongoing ‘kanwar yatra’.

The tension in Saharanpur comes even as the police grapple with a volatile situation at Kanth in western UP’s Moradabad district.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has declared it will lodge an FIR against police officials for excesses against party leaders and workers during and after clashes with the police over convening a mahapanchayat on July 4.

The mahapanchayat (meeting of several village councils) was proposed to protest the removal of a loudspeaker from a Dalit temple in Akabarpur Chedri village of Kanth town. The administration had denied permission for the mahapanchayat.

Western UP has been witnessing intermittent flare-ups for over a year now, the worst being the Muzaffarnagar riots in August-September 2013.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Uttar Pradesh – Akhilesh buys luxury cars, but cuts budget for women’s panel #WTFnews

IANS  Lucknow, July 15, 2014

As women’s safety continues to be a cause for concern in Uttar Pradesh, here’s a shocker: An activist has found that the Akhilesh Yadav government has drastically downsized the budget of the state women’s commission but has the money for two seven-seater Mercedes cars and two similar Land Cruisers.

A Right to Information (RTI) question posed by social activist Urvashi Sharma revealed that through the last three years, the Samajwadi Party government has slashed the budgetary allocations made to the state women’s commission.

The state government informed that between 2011-12 and 2013-14, the budget of the women’s panel was cut by over 85%.  In 2011-12, the commission got Rs. 5.1 crore in financial grants and this went down to Rs.4.16, crore of which Rs. 3.9 crore was spent.

In 2013-14, the allocation was further slashed to a mere Rs.75 lakh.  Urvashi Sharma told IANS she was “amazed” at the replies to her petition.  “This is the state of affairs in a government where no one, from the top political  leadership to the bureaucracy, misses any chance to hype their pro-women image,” she rued.

Sharma wondered if there were financial constraints, from where was the government finding money for the Mercedes and the Land Cruisers for the 41-year-old chief minister, who is currently on a family holiday in London.  “This is simply bizarre and shocking,” said women’s rights activist Neelam Ranjan.  She said the Samajwadi Party had always had a “pathetic” record on women’s empowerment.

“Though I find this budget cut shocking, coming from the Samajwadi government, the pain is minmized because it is a government where its national president calls rape ‘small mistakes’, its chief minister refuses to visit rape victims and a minister says he cannot have gun-totting security for every woman in the state,” Ranjan told IANS.  Vijay Bahadur Pathak, state spokesman of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), slammed the budget cuts, and said the government had no concern for the people, especially women.

“The lesser said about this government the better, there is a yawning gap between its promises and delivery,” Pathak told IANS.  Swamy Prasad Maurya of the Bahujan Samaj Party and leader of opposition in the state assembly, accused the Akhilesh Yadav government of “turning a complete blind eye to women” in the state.  RTI activist Sharma said women from far-off places like Poorvanchal and Bundelkhand were finding it difficult to get justice from the commission, as neither were there funds nor the will to redress problems faced by women in the state.

According to statistics, five rapes occurred every day in the state, but most officials prefer to call such henious crimes “routine” and “unavaoidable”.

Read mor where –  http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/akhilesh-gets-mercedes-cuts-women-s-panel-budget/article1-1240472.aspx

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Another case of a minor girl found hanging from a tree in Moradabad , Uttar Pradesh #Vaw #WTFnews

LUCKNOW: A 16-year-old girl was found hanging from a tree outside a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district on Thursday, police said.

The girl was missing from her house in Rajpura village Wednesday night. The girl’s family members alleged that they went to report the matter to Thakurdwara police station in order to search the girl but were told to come Thursday morning.

Her body was later found hanging from a tree outside the village. She was a Class XI student and was at home when the family members went to attend a wedding. When they returned home, the main door was ajar and the girl was missing, police said.

The family members searched for the girl but could not locate her, police said and added that no leads have come their way so far in the case.

“We are trying to probe all angles, including enmity with someone, but it is too early to say anything,” an official of the Thakurdwara police station told IANS.


Children in Lucknow during a protest against rising number of rapes in UP. (PTI photo)

The postmortem examination report will tell if she was sexually assaulted and murdered thereafter, the official said, adding her family members have not named anyone in their complaint.

This is one of the many incidents of crime against women in the state in the past two weeks.


The family of the minor girls who were gang-raped and murdered in UP’s Badaun. (AFP photo)

Two minor girls were gang-raped and murdered in Badaun district two weeks back while a police station chief and three constables were booked Wednesday for raping a woman inside a police station in Bahraich district.

 

Read more here- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Girl-found-hanging-from-tree-in-Uttar-Pradesh/articleshow/36433593.cms

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India – woman gang raped inside Police Station in Uttar Pradesh #Vaw #WTFnews

Indian woman says police gang-raped her inside station

 2014-06-12
rapepublic1

LUCKNOW, June 12, 2014 (AFP) – An Indian woman said Thursday she was gang-raped by four officers at a police station, the latest in a string of shocking sex attacks in the troubled state of Uttar Pradesh.

The woman said she had gone to the station overnight on Monday in the state’s Hamirpur district to seek her husband’s release when she was attacked.

“At 11:30pm when there was no one in the room the sub-inspector took me to his room and raped me inside the police station,” the woman told CNN-IBN.

The woman filed a complaint with a senior officer on Wednesday over the attack, which allegedly occurred when she refused to pay a bribe to secure the release of her husband.

“The procedure will be followed, the victim has filed a complaint and the guilty will be arrested soon,” Virendra Kumar Shekhar, a police official from Hamirpur, said.

Sub-inspector Balbir Singh said a criminal case had been lodged against four officers from the station.

The case is the latest in a string of horrific rapes and murders in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, where its chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is under growing political pressure over his handling of law and order.

Late last month, two girls, aged 12 and 14, were gang-raped and lynched in their village. They were attacked after going into a field to relieve themselves at night because they did not have a toilet at home.

Their families refused to cut the bodies down from the tree for hours in protest, saying police had failed to take action against the attackers because the girls were from a low caste.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday urged all politicians to work together to protect women, in his first comments on the issue since the hanging of the girls sparked public outrage.

Modi warned politicians against “politicising rape”, saying they were “playing with the dignity of women” in his first speech to parliament since sweeping to power at last month’s national elections.

India brought in tougher laws last year against sexual offenders after the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012, but they have failed to stem the tide of violence against women.

Also on Wednesday, a 45-year-old woman was found hanging from a tree in Uttar Pradesh, with her family saying she had been raped and murdered.

A police officer said they were questioning five men over the incident, which occurred several kilometres from her home in Bahraich district.

“They (her husband and son) have alleged that the woman, before being strung up from the tree, was raped and murdered by these men,” district superintendent Happy Guptan told AFP.

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Where are the toilets the Uttar Pradesh government promised?

Rape Baduan

 

 

Biswajeet Banerjee| The News Minute| June 3, 2014| 4.30 pm IST

The gang rape and murder of two cousins from Uttar Pradesh has spiraled into a huge social and political debate. The incident shows how vulnerable Indian women are to sexual abuse because they do not have toilets in their homes as the cousin had gone out to the farm to relieve themselves.

“There is a link between rape and having toilets in the home. Over 60 per cent of the rapes in the state occur when the victims step out to relieve themselves because they do not have toilets at their homes”, inspector-general of police Ashish Gupta said in Lucknow, the state capital of Uttar Pradesh, citing home department statistics.

“Rapes are not new in UP as every day 10 rapes are reported as per the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB). It is difficult to give protection to every woman who goes out in open to relieve themselves.” Gupta said.

In April this year four women, two of them in their teens were raped, in another north Indian state of Haryana. There women were dalits, a lower caste and rapists were Jats, a superior caste. These women too had gone to field to relieve themselves when they were attacked and raped.

Around 48 per cent of India’s population don’t have access to proper sanitation and 597 million Indians defecate in the open if needed says a recent WHO report.

In rural India, in the absence of toilets women generally go to fields to relieve themselves. They go in a group before sunrise or after nightfall. Sulabh International, an NGO that has constructed cost-effective toilet systems in slums and dense urban localities, claims that out of over 24 crore houses, only 11 crore have toilets. And out of 7,935 cities, only 160 have sewage treatment plants.

In Uttar Pradesh, one of the most backward states in India, 77 per cent villagers defecate in open.

Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak said: “Any woman defecating in the open is vulnerable and the Indian government must acknowledge the issue. Resources will only pour in then.”

Sulabh has taken up the initiative to construct toilets in 108 houses in village Katra in Baudaun where there two cousins were raped and their bodied were found hanging from a mango tree.

The link between toilet and rape has renewed the debate which the former Union Rural Development Minister Jai Ram Ramesh had initiated. In 2012 he had questioned development priorities when the 2011 census revealed that India had more mobile phones than toilets

Last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also advocated having toilets at home when his remark “toilet first, temple later” sparked a debate as his party, Bharatiya Janata Party, is striving to construct Lord Ram’s temple in Ayodhya.

Pathak lauded the idea and expressed his desire to work with the Modi government to ensure toilets in all homes. “I am going to write to the Prime Minister soon,” Pathak said.

There are many stories how toilets or lack of it have changed fortunes of many families.

The absence of a toilet nearly deprived a man of marital bliss in Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh. This is the story of Priyanka Bharati, a Dalit and a Class XII student, who got married to Amarjeet Kumar of village Vishnupur Khurd in Maharajganj district of Lucknow on May 2, 2012. By Priyanka’s own admission, she was shocked to learn that women in her marital home had to defecate in the open.

For the first two days she tried to adjust with the situation, before deciding to return to her mother’s home.

This was not the first incident. Recently, two more young brides in Uttar Pradesh refused to go to their in-laws’ houses after marriage because those homes too did not have toilets.

The three returned only after toilets were constructed by in-laws.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Total Sanitation Campaign was launched in the State in collaboration with the Centre in 2002. The whole project now stinks as much as the toilets. TSC was told that 82.5 per cent households have toilets but the data collected during Census in 2011 shows that just 22 per cent households have toilets.

“This data clearly proves that the public money has been flushed away in the toilets. Initial reports suggest that 42,186 toilets were constructed only on papers,” Alok Ranjan, a senior official said.

 

Read more here – http://www.thenewsminute.com/stories/Where%20are%20the%20toilets%20the%20Uttar%20Pradesh%20government%20promised%3F#.U48T3Ba0bwJ

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The Bhagana Gang Rape and Power Games #Vaw #Mustread

Neha Dixit, May 31, 2014

The gangrape of the four Dalit girls in Bhagana is a brazen cocktail of caste, crime and feudal mindsets.

On April 17, the day India was polling at 121 constituencies in the fifth phase of the ongoing General Elections, four girls and 100 families from their community parked themselves in protest in central Delhi.

These four girls were gang raped on March 24, this year and belong to the Dalit community of Bhagana village, in Hisaar, 150 km from Delhi. Dalits are regarded as untouchables and occupy the lowest rung in the Hindu hierarchical order. They have been identified under the Scheduled Caste category in the Indian constitution.

Huddled in an unhindered mass under three tents behind Jantar Mantar, there is an unfamiliar spring in their demeanor. Far less demure than the stereotypes of rape survivors, they are brimming with hope and the glow of a persistent, collective struggle.

The only Dalit square in the village which was razed by the Jat community and led to protests.

“I was revising my lessons while going for a dump that evening. I had to sit for the English exam the next day,” recalls Manju, 13, a student of sixth standard, one of the four girls, with the characteristic assertion of a teenage girl. Close to 60 percent of the households in Bhagana village still don’t have a toilet. Daily, early in the morning or late in the evening, women collect in groups to go to the agricultural fields to defecate. It is then, she along with three other girls were abducted and forced to sniff something that made them unconscious. Out of the five who abducted them, four were relatives of the leaders of the dominant Jat community in Bhagana. Sunita, then in her half unconscious state was stripped, beaten and raped by the boys one after the other. They did the same to the other three girls. “I could barely open my eyes, forget resisting the boys,” she says.

Their next memory is of the Bhatinda railway station, a city 150 km away from Hisaar. Their clothes were torn, had injury marks on their bodies and walked in pain. “I asked people on the platform if they knew who left us there but since they spoke in Punjabi, a language I am unfamiliar with, I didn’t get them,” recalls Ranjana, 18, with a newly acquired maturity. Sunita, 16 and Kamini, 17 sit behind them and listen intently. The four are surrounded by their mothers and women who look at me disapprovingly. “What is the point of you coming here? We have been sitting in this heat for a month but still to no avail. I thought protests in Delhi lead to result like the Damini case,” asked Laajo Rani in a Haryanvi dialect. She is 80 years old. I tell her, “It is because of the ongoing elections.” She answers, “So, don’t we vote and make winning candidates?” Guilt overtakes and I turn to Manju.Manju is dressed in a white salwar kameez with pink dots and a crimson scarf. The scarf is comfortably settled on her head out of habit, like many girls her age in rural Haryana yet she constantly struggles to tuck it behind her ear to cover her face from the photojournalists outside the tent. “We had to drop out two years back, she was the only one still managed to go to school,” joins Ranjana.

Bhagana village is 300 years old. The houses of the four girls are diametrically opposite to each other on the outskirts of the village. Bhagana is dominated by the feudal, land owning Jat community that makes up for 59 percent of the village population. Dalits, which include several sub categories like Dhanuks, Chamars, Kumhaars and others, make up for the 24 percent population. They are landless and mostly work as agricultural labourers in the farms of Jat community. They are also considered untouchables. People from the upper castes, including the Jat community, neither eat or drink at their place nor are they allowed to sit next to an upper caste person.

In March 2012, the Jat community under the leadership of Panghal Khap-the one of the many clans of the community to which all the Jats of the village belong, announced a ‘bandi’ on the Dalits of the village. ‘Bandi’ is a social and economic boycott. This was a response to the Dalit protest against the decision of the constitutionally elected panchayat headed by Rakesh Panghal, also a Jat, to allocate the common land of the village to members of Jat community. This included the playground on the outskirts, close to the Dalit inhabitation and the Dalit meeting square in the centre of the village. “In addition, the common ground that was divided into plots to be given away to villagers was given for free to the members of the Jat community but not to the Dalits even when they were forced to pay Rs 1,000 each for allocation,” says Balraj Sindhu, a Dalit member of Centre for Trade Union from the village. There was a massive protest by the Dalits within the village against this injustice which did not sync with the Jat-Dalit traditional power equations in the village. “They dissented against those who gave them employment and means for survival. Such people must leave the village,” says Kundan Panghal, a Jat farm owner and activist of the Panghal Khap.

The boycott included a ban on the use of all common resources in the village including water resources like wells, barbers, local transport, grocery shops, schools, access to cattle feed, access to roads passing through the Jat areas and employment in the agricultural fields.

Like several parts in Haryana, there is an existing labour practice in Bhagana village which is called Seeri. Under the Seeri system, an agricultural labourer is hired by a land owning farmer on an annual contract for close to Rs 40,000 per year, which comes to about Rs. 110 a day, way below the minimum wage of Rs. 230 a day in Haryana. They are paid the money in advance and are bonded for a year. Apart from the agricultural work, the labourers are often made to do other household related work with no fixed hours. In 1953, the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act was implemented in Haryana which provides complete security of tenure for tenants in continuous possession of land over 15 acres for 12 years and grants tenants optional right of purchase of ownership of non-resumable land. The Seeri system negates the possibility of the proof of continuous occupation of the land as a tiller since the contracts are renewed every year. “Off late, the labourers had started rejecting the exploitative practices under Seeri like no fixed hours of work and the extra work apart from agriculture that the employers forced them to do,” says Sindhu. This was not just a threat to the age old social hierarchy in the village but was also disturbed the economic privileges the farm owning Jat employers enjoyed.

“The next two months, we tried very hard to stay. Even NREGA programs which could have given us employment in spite of the boycott have not been functional in the village,” recalls Dharamveer, a 40 year old Dalit mason. NREGA is the Central government sponsored scheme that guarantees 100 days of employment to all. “On May 21st, when the Jat community announced another ‘bandi’ with even stricter norms, 137 families decided to move to the mini secretariat in Hisaar district to demand action from the authorities,” he adds.

The playground next to the Dalit inhabitation is now used for storing cow dung by the Jat community.

Two years have passed and to this day, close to 90 families still occupy the protest spot in Hisaar but no action has been taken. During this period, the police failed to register even a single complain under the Scheduled Caste and scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. To add to it, in September 2012, the police booked a few people protesting at the Mini secretariat for sedition and ‘exciting disaffection towards the government established by law’ and imprisoned them for a week. This included five children, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14 years old along with three adults.

Meanwhile, the hostility towards 200 Dalit families still left at the village had increased manifold. The worst affected were the women because all the things boycotted were directly related to the household. “Apart from fetching water from far off and managing groceries with limited access, the biggest loss was lack of employment for us. Because of the ban imposed on our community as agricultural workers, the men could go to the city and neighbouring villages to work but women were confined to their homes,” says Rattal Sindhu, 55, grandmother of three who has been an agricultural labour for thirty years in this village. “In most of the houses, the household income has been halved,” she adds.

The schools did not remain untouched. There are two schools in the village, a private one which the children of the Jat community, who could afford to pay high fees attended and the government one, attended mostly by the children of the Dalit community. “After the boycott in 2012, many girls had to drop out because of the eve teasing they had to face while coming to the school. It has increased in the last two years. Some Jat boys enrolled in the school would kick our boys and humiliate them,” tells Satya Narayan, the headmaster of the government school. “I even threatened to shut the school but not allow this kind of discrimination but it did not help. As the protest at Hisaar kept catching headlines in the media, the aggression and enmity towards the Dalit kept increasing in the village,” he adds. Manju was still a student of this school, the other three had drop out in 2012. The news of their gang rape was the last nail in the coffin. After another set of 100 families moved to Delhi to protest, the school is lying vacant. The only Dalits left here are still bonded under Seeri, who under pressure of the Jat community have stopped sending their children.

On 24th March, while the girls were figuring out how to go back home from the Bhatinda railway station, they saw the village head Rakesh Panghal walking towards them with three influential Jat leaders. “The night the girls went missing, we went to Rakesh to inform him and ask for help. He told me that our girls will be back tomorrow morning. He knew where the girls were which was shocking,” says Bheem Singh, father of Ranjana. Next morning, the fathers of the four girls and Rakesh Panghal and some others got into two jeeps and reached Bhatinda railway station.

Panghal reached the exact platform where the girls were waiting. When the girls saw him, they first tried to hide. “It is only when we saw our fathers on the other platform with the aides of Panghal is when we came out,” says Kamini. The four girls were rushed into a car with Panghal and their fathers. On the Mirzapur road, the car was stopped at a roadside café. The girls were seated on the first floor as the others had tea on the ground floor. Rakesh Panghal walked to the first floor with his uncle and slapped Sunita. “Your community people think that they can contest the Jats? What was done to you is a lesson for raising a voice against us. If you dare complain against anyone or identify any of the boys, your families will be killed,” says Manju. Soon after, they left for the village. The next day, the four girls, their fathers and some members of the Dalit community reached the police station. On March 25, after a lot of struggle and protest, the police registered a report for rape and medical tests that confirmed rape were conducted. The five accused Sumit, Lalit, Sandeep, Dharamvir and Kuldeep-all of them Jats-were arrested on March 29. The next hearing is in the Supreme Court of India on May 7th.

Rakesh Panghal, when asked about the accusations of the Dalit community replies, “These girls are known to have multiple love affairs. How can they be trusted?” When asked about the illegal allocation of the land and the social boycott, he says, “They are all lying. They have left their houses on their own to extract unjustified compensation from the government.” The same justification was given by influential Jat leaders when the houses of several Dalits were burnt and two were killed in the Mirchpur village of Hisaar district in 2010.

Kaviraj, the Superintendent of Police, Hisaar district says, “The police has taken every care to follow legal proceedings. I cannot comment anymore since the case is now subjudice.”

ML Kaushik, the District Collector of Hisaar also remains non-committal. “The people sitting in protest have been politically motivated. We have requested them to return to their houses but to no avail,” he says.

According to the National Crime Record Bureau, the number of rapes of Dalit women across the country has increased by 15.4 percent in one year. Only one in eight cases of atrocities on Dalits, a person gets convicted in Haryana.

In 1931, when Mahatma Gandhi asked BR Ambedkar, the champion of Dalit rights and the father of the Indian constitution why is he so critical of the Congress, the leading party in the freedom movement, demanding an independent homeland, he replied, “ Gandhiji, I have no homeland. No untouchable worth the name will be proud of this land.”

As India is set to conclude the greatest dance of democracy on May 16, Dalits- who represent 16 percent and women-who represent 48 percent of the Indian population still need to struggle at Jantar Mantar. Explains what Ambedkar meant.

Names of the Rape Survivors have been changed.

Read more here – http://newsclick.in/india/india%E2%80%99s-two-most-marginalized-sections-left-out-world%E2%80%99s-biggest-dance-democracy

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