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Archives for : Uttar Pradesh

A leaf from the illustrious life of the CM designate , #YogiAdityanath of Uttar Pradesh

Account of a ten year old story : Helps you understand the CM designate of UP

What happened in the eastern Uttar Pradesh town was not a conflict but violence unleashed by MP Yogi Adityanath and his henchmen 

If one tries to understand the developments in Gorakhpur and its neighbouring areas of eastern Uttar Pradesh (Poorvanchal) from January 26 to 31, 2007 through the eyes of the print and electronic media, one moves further away from the truth. It is a sordid story of a highly communalised media conjuring up a riot, collaborating with BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, a Bal Thackeray clone and heir to the Gorakhnath Peeth operating from the Gorakhnath temple. Adityanath is a BJP MP for ‘technical’ reasons and cares a damn for the niceties of party discipline because he knows that the party cannot dissociate itself from him. Though he mocked the party by holding a Vishwa Hindu Maha Sammelan at the same time as the BJP’s National Council meet in Lucknow, the party did not mind. It had earlier swallowed the defeat of its candidate in the Assembly election by Adityanath’s candidate. One should know that he is a Thakur; and a Thakur heads the BJP now . The Thakur spread across party lines ensures that Adityanath is allowed to have his own way in his fiefdom, i.e. Poorvanchal. He makes it a point to give calls for a Gorakhpur bandh whenever the chief minister visits the town.

Poorvanchal mein rahan hai to Yogi-Yogi kahan hoga (You have to chant Yogi’s name if you want to live in Poorvanchal) is a slogan popularised by his gang. But how true is the claim of his hold on Gorakhpur, leave alone Poorvanchal? He has lost all local elections held recently in and around Gorakhpur, and could only manage to lure the relatively respected Samajwadi Party (SP) member and mayoral candidate Anju Chaudhary to his side.

Apparently, Chaudhary fell a victim to the myth spun around him during the last 15 years. Adityanath has been called the Yuvak Hindu Samrat, Narendra Modi of Poorvanchal, the premier of the Hindu Rashtra of Poorvanchal. He has used the wealth of the Gorakhnath Temple to sustain his army of lumpen youth. Adityanath has followed the rss methodology in creating organisations with different names that he calls cultural bodies. Among these are Hindu Yuva Vahini, Sri Ram Shakti Prakoshtha, Gorakhnath Purvanchal Vikas Manch, Hindu Mahasabha and Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh. Adityanath himself is the main functionary of these unregistered outfits. He also controls much of the functioning of the Bajrang Dal and the Hindu Jagran Manch. He holds his durbar in his temple that is attended by local police and officials.

Adityanath has perfected his technique of manufacturing riots. An insignificant incident like a Hindu’s clothes getting stained accidentally by the paan spat by a Muslim is turned into an act of humiliation of Hindus. A rape in which the victim is dalit and the perpetrator Muslim is used to substantiate the allegation that “Muslims rape our women” and all hell is let loose on the Muslims. The last 11 years are witness to several such acts. No criminal case has been registered against him except once in 1999 when a case was registered against him in Maharajganj after the killing of the official gunman accompanying sp leader Talat Aziz. The police and administration have remained mute spectators with the political leadership looking the other way. All this has given him an air of invincibility. Muslims have been given to understand that neither the Bahujan Samaj Party, nor the sp is willing to rein him in. Perhaps the SP is seeking to counter Mayawati’s Brahmin card with its own Thakur card by indulging him. The Congress is nowhere and also lacks a will to take him on. All this leaves the Muslims here with no option but to resign themselves to their fate.

This time, however, his plans went awry. On the night of January 26-27, Pankaj Rai, a history-sheeter, and his gang chased a dance party performing at a marriage. They mingled with a Muharram procession and the processionists thought that they were being attacked. Suddenly a gunshot was heard, which the then administration thinks was Rai’s act. As panic set in, more people — both Hindu and Muslim — were beaten up and a young man, Raj Kumar Agrahari, was badly injured and hospitalised. The District Magistrate (DM) was informed at 1.30am and he told officials to brief Adityanath that he should not visit the site. Initially, the MP agreed. But as Agrahari died, Adityanath declared that now he would go to the spot and seek revenge for the killing of a Hindu by Muslims. He reached the spot with his lumpen who destroyed a mazhar. He declared his resolve to ensure justice for the Hindus, swords were flashed before the dm and senior police officers. Short of policemen, the administration tried to persuade the MP to vacate the place but he didn’t budge.

When the now-determined dm took the dagger away from a goon, they charged towards him and demanded the dagger back. Upon this, the dm ordered the police to disperse them by force. Suddenly the MP found himself facing a situation that was not in the script. Afraid that the lathis might find Adityanath, his well-wishers cried out for compromise. The MP demanded that curfew be imposed and withdrew. Though the dm didn’t think a curfew was required as the violence was designed to disrupt Muharram, he agreed to the MP’s demand.

Later, however, Adityanath announced a torchlight procession. The administration succeeded in preventing it from moving but it was captured on camera and a non-procession was turned into one by the willing media. Emboldened, he announced a Shraddhanjali Sabha the next day at the town’s busiest crossroad. By this time, the dm had resolved not to allow it any further as the police reinforcements were in. He issued orders that no meeting was to be allowed and that any violator was to be arrested. With unambiguous orders, the police moved. Adityanath dismissed the warning as a hollow threat but landed in an unforeseen situation. He and his ‘followers’ were taken to the police line. Soon, a police van arrived and the detained people were asked to board the jail-bound vehicle. Adityanath jumped into the bus, declaring that he cannot leave his followers. To their surprise, the bus started moving and they realised that they were in trouble. The three-km journey to the jail took more than 90 minutes as his goons pelted stones and every other means to block the van but to no avail. For the first time in his life, Adityanath is jailed under Section 151A of the crpc only to find later that he has also been booked under Sections 146, 147, 279, 506 of the Indian Penal Code for leading the attack on the mazhar. On the strength of this fir, Adityanath is remanded to 14-day judicial custody.

On January 29, his followers assembled at Gorakhnath Temple that falls in an area where more than 50 percent of the population is Muslim. They start hrowing stones and burning tyres in the direction of the Muslim locality and on the road. But there is no retaliation from the other side.

Dr Hari Om, the then dm in-charge, wishes to put it on record that not a single incident of slogan-shouting or stone-pelting was resorted to by Muslims. He wants the world to know that although much grieved by the decision to impose curfew as it hampered Muharram, the Muslims, led by the venerable Miyan saheb, assured the administration of all cooperation as peace was more important and kept their word. Meanwhile, the media kept screaming that Gorakhpur was burning, the walls of the Gorakhnath Temple were demolished. Which, of course, was a naked lie.

And all of a sudden, the dm was informed that he’s been shunted along with the superintendent of police. As he moved away, Rashid, a Muslim youth, was killed. It is a matter of discussion in Gorakhpur that it was done by a Hindu Yuva Vahini man who injured himself to use it as a cover. Newspapers flashed the pictures of the Yuva Vahini man’s bandaged leg, obliterating the killing of Rashid altogether.

So where was the riot, as imagined by the interested media, asks Hari Om. From January 27 to 29, Adityanath and his goons laid siege to Gorakhpur without any provocation from Muslims. A mazhar was gutted, masjids and shops of Muslims destroyed, government properties damaged by the gangs, stone pelting on the police by his goons: do these make a perfect riot? A riot involves some degree of involvement of two warring groups. How is it that areas with substantial Muslim population did not experience any untoward incident barring the planned attacks of Adityanath’s gangs? Why did cm Mulayam Singh Yadav remove the officers who jailed the BJP MP who was hell-bent on destroying peace? Why did the officers’ successors go straight to Adityanath for forgiveness? Why did the media fail to report the facts as facts?

Hari Om has one regret — that he had assured Muslims that by giving a reprieve of 7-8 hours in the curfew on January 29, he would ensure that the Muharram tradition was not disturbed. However, the moment he was removed, Rashid was killed to celebrate it as Adityanath’s victory and the curfew was extended. Tazias remained where they were. The Muslims kept their word, he did not. This young officer has just one question for his country: can a community feel at home where it is prevented from even mourning by all kinds of machination? Can a community celebrate its existence in a country where law-keepers look over their shoulders when it is attacked? Such is the sad story of Uttar Pradesh, the truth of one of the many riots that were not.

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आइये हम भी राजनीति करें

 

बहनों

हम औरतें एक दूसरे से अक्सर ये बातें करते हैं कि राजनीति से हमारा कुछ लेना-देना नहीं हैं, इसमें हमारी कोई रूचि नहीं है। लेकिन हम इससे लेना-देना रखें या न रखें, इसमें रूचि लंे या न लें, राजनीति हमें और हमारे पूरे जीवन को प्रभावित करती है। हमारे उपर होने वाले अत्याचार से लेकर घर के अन्दर हमारी रसोईं तक पर राजनीति का असर होता ही है। तो क्यों न हम इसमें रूचि लें और राजनीति की थोड़ी बात करें। इस समय इस लिहाज से मौका भी उचित है कि विधानसभा के चुनाव हमारे सामने है। और हम महिलाओं का वोट सभी चुनावी पार्टियों के लिए कितना महत्वपूर्ण है यह इसी से पता चलता है कि हमें रिझाने के लिए हर पार्टी महिलाओं के लिए एक से बढ़कर एक वादे कर रही है। यह समाज में हमारी मजबूत होती स्थिति को दर्शाती है। महिलायें आज स्वतन्त्र चेतना सम्पन्न और महत्वपूर्ण मतदाता के रूप् में चिन्हित की जा रहीं हैं। यह हमारी एक छोटी सी जीत है।

लेकिन बहनों चुनावी मौसम में सभी चुनावबाज पार्टियां जनता की हितैषी बनने का ही दिखावा करती हैं। इन लुभावने वादों के फेर में पड़ने की बजाय चुनाव में उतरी इन सभी चुनावी पार्टियों की महिलाओं के बारे में सोच को समझना देखना और उन्हें आईना दिखाकर अपनी बात कहना बेहद जरूरी है, क्योंकि यही वह समय है, जब वे हमारी बात सुनने की भूमिका में होते हैं। ये चुनावी पार्टियां महिलाओं के लिए भले ही बढ़-चढ़कर लुभावने वादे कर रहीं हैं, लेकिन महिलाओं के प्रति इनकी सोच क्या है, इसे इनके बयानों और कामों से समझा जा सकता है। महिला विरोधी बयान देने में सभी प्रमुख चुनावी पार्टियां एक-दूसरे से आगे हैं। याद कीजिये निर्भया की घटना के बाद जब संसद में जब महिला हिंसा के विरूद्ध कानून लाये जाने पर बहस चल रही थी, तो ज्यादातर सांसद महिलाओं से होने वाली बदतमीजी की घटना पर हंसी-मजाक कर रहे थे और चुटकुले सुना कर हंस रहे थे। संसद में महिला प्रतिनिधियों को 33 प्रतिशत आरक्षण देने के सवाल पर सभी चुनावी दल विरोध में खड़े हो जाते हैं। इससे भी इनकी पुरूषवादी मानसिकता का पता चल जाता है।

पिछले कुछ सालों में ही इन जनप्रतिनिधियों द्वारा दिये गये बयानों पर एक नजर डालें तो मौजूदा सत्तासीन पार्टी के भूतपूर्व मुखिया मुलायम सिंह यादव, आजम खान और अबू आजमी लगातार बलात्कार के लिए महिलाओं को ही जिम्मेदार ठहराने वाले बयान देते रहे हैं। वर्तमान सपा के मुखिया पति-पत्नी ने इन बयानों के खिलाफ एक शब्द नहीं कहा। यहां तक कि निर्भया के मामले में दोषियों के लिए फासी तक की मांग करने वाली और महिला अधिकारों के लिए एनजीओ चलाने वाली मुलायम सिंह की बहू, जो कि लखनउ कैण्ट से इस बार उम्मीदवार हैं, ने भी इन बयानों के खिलाफ कुछ नहीं कहा। इस सरकार के शासन काल में महिलाओं पर जो हिंसा बढ़ी, उसकी तो हम अभी बात ही नहीं कर रहे हैं, अभी तो हम महिलाओं के प्रति इन सभी के दृष्टिकोण की बात कर रहे हैं।

सपा बसपा भाजपा कांग्रेस या अन्य दूसरे चुनावी दल महिलाओं के मामले में सभी की सोच सामंती और पितृसत्तात्मक है। ये उस समय खुल कर सामने आ जाती है, जब ये आपस में झगड़े करते हैं। कुछ ही महीने पहले बसपा और भाजपा के बीच हुए झगड़े को याद कीजिये, जिसमें भाजपा के नेता….. ने मायावती को वो गाली दी जो महिलाओं को अपमानित करने के लिए उन्हें कमतर दिखाने के लिए दी जाती है दी, बदले में बसपा के नसीमुद्दीन सिद्दीकी ने…… ककी मां-बहन को वही कह कर अपना बदला निकाला। इस लड़ाई में उन्होंने एक-दूसरे को नहीं बल्कि पूरे महिला समुदाय को अपमानित किया और जाहिर कर दिया कि महिलाओं को वे किस नजरिये से देखते हैं। महिलायें अपने संघर्ष से आगे बढ़ रही हैं, लेकिन समाज ही नहीं, हमारे नेता भी उन्हें प्रथम या बराबर नहीं बल्कि द्वितीय नागरिक ही मानते हैं। हाल ही मे भाजपा नेता विनय कटियार का दिया गया बयान याद कीजिये-‘‘हम प्रियंका-डिेपल से सुन्दर औरतों को प्रचार के लिए मैदान में उतारेंगे… हमारे पास स्मृति ईरानी है…’’ यानि उनकी पार्टी और राजनीति में औरतें बस एक मॉडल भर हैं, जिनका चेहरा दिखा कर वे वोट हासिल करना चाहते हैं, इसके साथ ही वे हमारी आपकी चेतना को भी इतना कम करके आंकते हैं कि हम केवल सुन्दर चेहरा देखकर वोट देते हैं। लेकिन कमाल की बात है कि उनके इस बयान पर उनकी पार्टी तो दूर खुद स्मृति ईरानी ने भी कोई आपत्ति दर्ज नहीं की। यानि इन पार्टियों के माध्यम से सत्ता तक पहुंच गयी महिलायें भी ऐसी ही सामंती और पितृसत्तात्मक सोच से लैस हो जाती हैं। इसके उदाहरण बार-बार देखने को मिलते हैं। इन चुनावी पार्टियों का महिलाओं के प्रति क्या दृष्टिकोण है, यह तब साफ-साफ समझ में आता है, जब दंगे होते हैं। एक समुदाय से बदला लेने के लिए ये उस समुदाय की महिलाओं से बलात्कार करते हैं क्योंकि महिलाओं का बलात्कार करना उस पूरे समुदाय की इज्जत पर हमला और अपमान माना जाता है, इसी राजनीति के कारण हाल ही में मुजफ्फरनगर के दंगों में महिलाओं पर वीभत्स हमले किये गये। ऐसी राजनीति करने वाले कौन लोग हैं ये कहने की जरूरत नहीं है। वास्तव में अपनी सोच में भाजपा मुखर रूप् से महिला विरोधी सोच रखती है। उसके द्वारा चलाया गया ‘लव जिहाद का अभियान इसी बात की खुली घोषणा है। यह सिर्फ एक धर्म के ही खिलाफ नहीं, बल्कि महिलाओं की आजादी के भी खिलाफ है। अब पढ़ी-लिखी लड़कियां और लड़के जाति धर्म की दीवार तोड़कर, दहेज की परम्परा को छोड़कर आपस में शादी-विवाह कर रहे हैं। ऐसी शादियों में लड़के-लड़की की जनवादी चेतना का बहुत महत्व है, जो लड़कियों को जकड़ने वाले ढेरों सामंती बंधनों को तोड़ता है, लेकिन भाजपा और उससे जुड़े संगठनों की राजनीति और उससे प्रेरित उनका यह अभियान लोगों की खासतौर पर हम महिलाओं की आजादी और जनवादी चेतना पर हमला है। उनकी पितृसत्तात्मक राजनीति को इससे भी समझा जा सकता है कि वे अपनी बेटी तो दूसरे धर्म वर्ण में देने के खिलाफ हैं, लेकिन दूसरे धर्म की बेटी को अपने वर्ण में ले आने की वकालत करते हैं। इसके पीछे यही पितृसत्तात्मक सोच है कि लड़की पहले पिता और अन्ततः पति के नाम से जानी जाती है। उसका अपना कोई स्वतंत्र अस्तित्व नहीं हैं। इस तरह की सोच से लैस पार्टियां महिलाओं की सुरक्षा और आजादी के लिए भला क्या करेंगी सोचा जा सकता है।

भाजपा आज महिला मतदाता को रिझाने के नाम पर तीन तलाक का मामला जोर-शोर से उठा रही है। वास्तव में यह महिलाओं को सुरक्षा देने के लिए नहीं, एक धर्म पर प्रहार के लिए ज्यादा है। लेकिन हम महिलायें दो या अनेक धर्म नहीं एक समुदाय हैं, जो हर जगह पितृसत्तात्मक कानून, रीति-रिवाज, परम्परा, आचार-विचार से पीड़ित हैं। हर धर्म जाति में इससे लड़ते हुए हम एक हैं। हमारे सुख और दुख एक जैसे हैं, हमें धर्म और जाति में बांटने वाले ये सभी चनावी दल खुद हमारा शोषण करने वाली पुरूषवादी मानसिकता से लैस हैं, इनसे हम ज्यादा उम्मीद तो नहीं कर सकते, लेकिन इस चुनावी मौके पर अपने सवालों को इनके सामने रखकर हम इनसे मोल-तोल तो कर ही सकते हैं। आज जब कि हमारे उपर जुल्म बढ़ रहें हैं हम उन्हें याद दिला सकते हैं कि इनमें से जो भी जीत कर आये, वो महिलाओं को नजरअंदाज नहीं कर सकता। आइये हम भी राजनीति में रूचि लें, आइये चुनावी दलों को महिलाओं के प्रति संवेदनशील बनायंे, आइये चुनावों से आगे जाकर बराबरी के समाज के लिए हम भी राजनीति करें।
अभिवादन के साथ

हम हैं

यौन हिंसा और राजकीय दमन के खिलाफ महिलायें

 

WSS – Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

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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

rapepublic1

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.

graph

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.

graph2

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.

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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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