After 65 years of #Independence- ‘ YEH KAISI AZADI HAI”


At the stroke of midnight when the world sleeps, India awakes,

Yes! India has woken up to freedom, but for whom?

After 65 years of Independence, The poor have no kapda, roti, makaan so let them have cell phones. The UPA government is close to finalising a Rs 7,000 crore scheme to provide one mobile phone for every Below Poverty Line (BPL) household in the country. The scheme will be called ‘Har haath mein phone” (phone in every hand) and would give 200 minutes of free local talktime to the beneficiaries.

The Planning Commission SAYS  that anyone spending more than Rs 965 per month in urban India and Rs 781 in rural India will be deemed not to be poor. The  poverty line cut-off figures, are those spending in excess of Rs 32 a day in urban areas or Rs 26 a day in villages will no longer be eligible to draw benefits of central and state government welfare schemes meant for those living below the poverty line. For them  spending Rs 5.5 on cereals per day is good enough to keep people healthy. Similarly, a daily spend of Rs 1.02 on pulses, Rs 2.33 on milk and Rs 1.55 on edible oil should be enough to provide adequate nutrition and keep people above the poverty line without the need of subsidized rations from the government. Just  Rs 1.95 on vegetables a day would be adequate. A bit more, and one might end up outside the social security net.

People should be spending less than 44 paise on fruits, 70 paise on sugar, 78 paise on salt and spices and another Rs 1.51 on other foods per day to qualify for the BPL list and for subsidy under various government schemes. A person using more than Rs 3.75 per day on fuel to run the kitchen is doing well as per these figures. Forget about the fuel price hike and sky-rocketing rents, if anyone living in the city is spending over Rs 49.10 a month on rent and conveyance, he or she could miss out on the BPL tag.

As for healthcare,  Rs 39.70 per month is sufficient to stay healthy. On education, the plan panel feels those spending 99 paise a day or Rs 29.60 a month in cities are doing well enough not to need any help. Similarly, one could be considered not poor if he or she spends more than Rs 61.30 a month on clothing, Rs 9.6 on footwear and another Rs 28.80 on other personal items.

But THE FACT IS , around 400 million unorganised workers struggle to survive without any tangible right, though they substantially contribute to the national income. No employment regulation, no pension, no maternity benefits, no accident compensation, no provision to get even the minimum wages or health care. Instead, crumbs of social assistance schemes are thrown at them by the state as charity.

“Independence begins at the bottom . . . A society must be built where every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its own affairs . . . It will be trained and prepared to perish in the attempt to defend itself against any onslaught from without . . . This does not exclude dependence on and willing help from neighbours or from the world. It will be a free and voluntary play of mutual forces. In this structure composed of innumerable villages, there will be ever-widening, never-ascending circles. Growth will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom, but it will be an oceanic circle whose centre will be the individual. Therefore the outermost circumference will not wield power to crush the inner circle, but will give strength to all within and derive its own strength from it.”

Mahatma Gandhi believed that the overall impact of the state on the people is harmful. He called the state a “soulless machine” which, ultimately, does the greatest harm to mankind. It was for this that he developed the two-pronged strategy of resistance (to the state) and reconstruction (through voluntary and participatory social action). The dream of Swaraj remains unattained even 65 years after independence.

Ye Kaisi Aazadi Hai? asks Jagjit Singh, the acclaimed singer, joining the campaigners of Social Security Now, a network of trade unions, civil society organisations, peoples movements and concerned individuals fighting for securing Social Security Rights for the countless, voiceless unorganised workers. Written by renowned poet Nida Fazli, and filmed by Pravin Mishra, the song invites you to join in on the demand for Social Security as a Right for unorganised workers! The video  vividly articulates the frustrations of millions of marginalized Indians who find their dream of Swaraj slipping away. India’s tryst with destiny has now turned into India’s tryst with Nehru dynasty. India’s hope for Swaraj is sailing through rough waters.

This is your song. Please send the link to all the concerned Indians.

Freedom of Expression

The lyrics
यह कैसी आजादी है

चंद घराने छोड़ के भूखी नंगी आबादी है

जितना देस तुम्हारा है
उतना देस हमारा है
दलित, महिला, आदिवासी , सबने इसे सवांरा है

ऐसा क्यों है कहीं ख़ुशी है
और कहीं बर्बादी है

यह कैसी आजादी है….

अंधियारों से बहार निकलो
अपनी शक्ति जानो तुम
दया धरम की भीख न मांगो
हक्क अपना पहचानो तुम
अन्याय के आगे जो रुक जाये वह अपराधी है

यह कैसी आजादी है….

जिन हाथों में काम नहीं है
उन हाथों को काम भी दो
मजदूरी करने वालों को , मजदूरी का दाम भी दो
बूढ़े होते हाथों पों कप, जीने का आराम भी दो

दौलत का हर बंटवारे में, मेहनतकश का नाम भी दो
झूठों के दरबार में, अब तक सचाई फरयादी है

यह कैसी आजादी है
चंद घराने छोड़ के भूखी नंगी आबादी है

Translation in English

What sort of freedom is this ?
Besides handful of people, the whole nation is poor and starving

The nation belongs to me as much as it belongs to you
Dalits, women, tribal, all together have built the nation
Why is that, somewhere there is happiness
and elsewhere there is darkness

What sort of freedom is this ?

Get out of the darkness and realize your power
Do not ask for mercy, Recognize you own rights
Whoever stops in front of injustice is a criminal
What sort of freedom is this ?

The hands which do not work, need employment
Pay the laborers fair wages
Give social security to the elderly
Give full due contribution to laborers in distribution of wealth,
Truth is still begging for justice , in the court of liars

What sort of freedom is this ?
Besides handful of people, the whole nation is poor and starving

LETS MAKE THIS VIRAL, LETS MAKE THIS  OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM

Maharashtra govt to make UID number compulsory for students #HITLER #NandanNilekani


 

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Published: Monday, Aug 13, 2012, 22:53 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Agency: DNA

 

State government has decided to make the UID number compulsory for the government grants for the students and teachers from aided schools from the next academic year. The housing schemes like SRA also have been announced to be linked with the UID soon.

 

Maharashtra, which has been second after Andhra Pradesh in the enrolment, has planned certain features that the central government has vowed to adopt. The state information and technology department is launchingfinancial inclusion scheme in the six districts (including Mumbai and Mumbai suburbs) where the bank accounts will be directly linked to the UID.The beneficiaries of governmentgrants, such as wages on NREGS, pensions to the senior citizens, will get the amounts credited to their accounts.

 

To facilitate No Frill bank accounts, as anounced by the central government in its budget this year, the UID facilities will be made available at the bank branches. “However, for certain schemes it will be made compulsory and the school education grant is one of them. Unless the UID numbers of the students and the teachers are not provided, no grant will be given to the aided schools. The school education department has been informed to be prepared for the same,” said an official from IT Department.

 

Nandan Nilekani, chairmanof the Unique Identification Authority of India had a review meeting with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and key officials from the state government at Sahyadri Guest house on Monday. Nilekani, who expressed satisfaction over the state performance told the state officials that the self-seeding of the information on the UID will be adopted by the authority for the national enrolment.

 

Through self-seeding facility, the UID card holder is allowed to update information related to the other utilities including his ration card, LPG number by sending an SMS.

 

State government has enrolled 4.07 crore citizens for the UID, of them 3.44 crore cards have already been issued. The government has stepped up the drive by setting up 1100 machines across the state. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that linking the UID with the bank accounts will help the government bringing transparency in the government scheme.

 

 

Pakistan–Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration


 

By: Our Staff Reporter | August 14, 2012 |The Nation
Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration

KARACHI – The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) and the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) have expressed serious concerns over growing insecurity among the Hindu population in Sindh, which is causing migration of hundreds of families from Sindh and Balochistan to India since many years.
In a joint statement, the PDSN representative Zulfiqar Shah, and PPC Secretary General B M Kutty said on Monday that both the federal and the provincial governments had failed to protect the lives, dignity and properties of the Hindu community and other vulnerable groups, which is creating unrest among a larger section of the population. The kidnapping for ransom, abduction and conversion of Hindu girls; growing lawlessness; forced encroachment of Hindus families properties; and growing violence against minorities in Sindh districts of Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Kandhkot had become an everyday story now.
“We consider the ongoing development as highly unsatisfactory and a cause of great concern for all the citizens. According to the Constitution and international law, it is the responsibility of the state to protect lives and properties of all citizens without any discrimination. Unfortunately, the vulnerable religious groups face tougher social, religious and economic challenges to the extent that that leaving the country is the only option to save their lives,” the joint statement stated.
In Pakistan, religious minorities especially Hindus have to struggle with discrimination on religious basis while they face social exclusion and unabated violence in rural areas where feudal power elite exploit them socially, economically and politically. These feudal elites harass them and also encroach upon their properties.
Another powerful religious group which has the backing of political parties is busy in forcible conversation of Hindu girls after kidnapping them. These girls are forced to embrace Islam or she is threatened with dire consequences.
Recent incidents of Rinkal Kumari, Dr Asha and Manesha Kumari are some incidents of forcible conversion of Hindu girls. The families of these unfortunate girls are either considering leaving the country or move from their ancestor villages to other cities.
The PDSN and the PPC pointed out that local media has been reporting Hindu citizens’ migration to India for security reasons for the last many years but the state functionaries did not pay any heed to address the situation.
The recent national media reports of the migration of Hindu families from Jacobabad, in large numbers, has suddenly caught the attention of the state machinery that is spending more energies on covering the issue than addressing it. The FIA, under the directives of the Federal Interior Minister, reportedly forcibly stopped over 150 Hindus at the Wagah border in Lahore. They were coerced to sign an affidavit committing a return to Pakistan.
These types of pressure tactics are not only a violation of the right to free movement of citizens, they will never help the exodus of the Hindu community that receives little support from the state in terms of security and well-being. The PDSN and the PPC called for serious measures to address the grievances of the Hindu community and all the non-Muslim members of the state.

 

Mumbai- Citizens for Justice and Peace Contribution to Police Welfare Fund


 

Police Inspector in Mumbai Police

Police Inspector in Mumbai Police (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

August 14 2012,

 

Press Release

 

 

The Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai has made a contribution of Rs 51,000 to the Commissioner of Police Welfare Fund towards the injury suffered by police women and men on duty during last Saturday’s (August 11, 2012) demonstration. The CJP while commending the restraint and maturity shown by top echelons of the Mumbai police and the repeated assurances that no innocents from any community would be booked, also appeals to other organisations in the city to come forward with gestures of solidarity and good faith (we are enclosing a list of names of police officials injured). As citizens who criticise the police when things go wrong, it is our duty to also express vocal appreciation when a situation is controlled effectively.

 

 

 

 CJP along with other women’s activists and organisations have also in a written complaint to the National Commission for Women urged that an investigation into allegations of mishandling and molestation of women police officers be undertaken. Attached is a copy of the complaint sent to the National Commission for Women today. Signatories to the complaint include Citizens for Justice and Peace, Forum Against Oppression of Women, Awaaz-e-Niswaan, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Sabrang, IIWA (Iqra International Women’s Alliance), WRAG (Women’s Research and Action Group).

  

Teesta Setalvad,

Secretary & Trustee

 

Date: 130.8.12 / 11.30 hrs

 

 

 

11-08-2012 Azad Maidan Riots Injured Police Officers/Police Staff given treatment and discharged

 

 

 

Sr. No

Injured Names

Designation

Name of Hospital

Discharge Timing

Inquiry Spot

1.

Padmakar Juikar

Sr. Inspector

MRA

St. George Hospital

12.08.12

11:00 hrs

Head and Left Leg got minorinjury

2.

Manohar Ramchandra Bhandari

Deputy Inspector

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

12:30 hrs

Shoulder and left hand thumbminor injury

3.

Sr. Fauzdar4219/Shridhar Sonu Thora

—– Naigaon

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

19:30 hrs

Head and backminor injury

4.

—- 18612/Manohar G Takekar

Santacruz Police Station

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

19:40 hrs

Chest minorinjury

5.

Police Constable 5124/Baburao Vithobha Patil

Marol Head office

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

20:30 hrs

Head minorinjury

6.

Police Sipai0900171/Pankaj Shamrao Sanap

——-

St. George Hospital

12.08.12

12:30 hrs

Chest and Face injured

7.

Police Constable 6482/Suryakanth Laxman Patil

Bandra Traffic Dept

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

12:30 hrs

Head and Leg glass injury

8.

Police Sipai 340/Yuvraj Sudam Chaudhry

Kurla Railway Police

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

12:30 hrs

Right hand thumb and Head injured

9.

— Manohar Gajanand Adke/58

SRPF Pune

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

23:00 hrs

Chest inquired

10.

—  Vithobha Shanker Sahil

SRPF Pune

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

23:30 hrs

Chest minor injury

11.

Police Sipai 06.1020/Asif Zamadar

Sr. Police Naigaon

St. George Hospital

12.08.12

11:15 hrs

Head inquiry

12.

Police Constable 2685/Yuraj Bhavaji Ghag/45

——–

St. George Hospital

11.08.12

19:30 hrs

Left shoulder inquired

13.

Shri Anil Ramchandra Awhad

Police Inspector Parimandal – 12

G T Hospital

12.08.12

00:45 hrs

Injury below the ear and Head and back injured

14.

Police Naik/29144/Sharad Shantaram Salekar

Azad Maidan

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Left after treatment

15.

Police Sipai/26471 Gurudas Mahadev Salgaokar

Azad Maidan

G T Hospital

11.08.12

19:30 hrs

Left after treatment

16.

Police Sipai/970663 Manoj Suraj Thakoor

Sr. Inspector Naigaon

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Got minor injury/ Left after treatment

17.

Police Sipai /081102 Deepak Pitambar Patil

Sr. Inspector Naigaon

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Got Scratched/left after treatment

18.

Maharashtra Police Sipai/091361 Chayya Vaman Nemane

Sr. Inspector Marol

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Foot injury/left after treatment

19.

Maharashtra Police Sipai/092982 Gopi Hari Shirsagar

 

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Back injury/left after treatment from OPD

20.

Police Sipai 32522/Nitin Bhaskar Khamkar/42

Sr. Inspector Marol

St. George

11.08.12

20:30 hrs

Right hand thumb and Head injured

21.

Police Naik 23367/Pradeep Ganpat Aadhav/46

Shahu Nagar Police Station

St. George

11.08.12

20:30 hrs

Stomach injured

22.

Police Constable 22600/Shivaji Gangaram Dongre/50

Sr. Inspector Marol

St. George

11.08.12

20:30 hrs

Back injured

23.

Police Sipai Driver 1607/Satish Laxman Sarvodaya

M T Dept

St. George

 

Chest, Head and Neck injured

24.

Maharashtra Police Sipai/0902290 Swati Kamle

Sr. Inspector Marol

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:30 hrs

Head injured got seven stitches, treatment going on in Ladies ward no 8

25.

Police Constable/148 Bhagwan Kesav Garje

—–

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:15 hrs

Head injury, minor body injury, treatment needed

26.

Police Constable/23859 Dileep Shanker Nimbalkar

Azad Maidan

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:15 hrs

Right Chest minor injury, treatment needed

27.

Police Constable/15390 Tanaji Sitaram Dhotre

RCP Platoon

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:15 hrs

Left ear injury, treatment needed

28.

Police Constable/180 Maneckrao Dadasaheb Surve

Reserved Police Pune

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:15 hrs

Left shoulder inquired

29.

Police Sipai/0902040 Viveek Dattu Jadhav

Sr. Police Tardeo

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:15 hrs

Censored portion injured

30.

Maharashtra Police Sipai/0902169 Vandana Ananda Salve

Sr. Inspector

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:30 hrs

Right Foot inquiry, treatment in OPD

31.

Police Constable/22357 Vijay Parshuram Kachre

Azad Maidan

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:15 hrs

Whole body minor injury

32.

Sr. Faujdar/18791 Sharifuddin Basluddin Shaikh

Colaba Police Station

G T Hospital

12.08.12

16:15 hrs

Left ear injury, Whole body injured bystones pelting

33.

Sr. Police InspectorDeepak Narsu Dhol

Azad Maidan Police Station

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Left after treatment

34.

Police Sipai Machindra Krushna  Gaikwad

———-

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Left after treatment

35.

Police Constable 99052/ Ramdas Govinda Charoskar

———-

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Left after treatment

36.

Police Naik/ Laxman R. Bhosale

————

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Left after treatment

37.

RTPC/Pankaj Dattaram Chalke – (Law and Order) his operator

 

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Left after treatment

38.

Police Naik 10336/ Madhukar Kisan Awhad

Azad Maidan Police Station

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Left after treatment

39.

Police Constable 22109/ Sunil Vishwanath Mungekar

Azad Maidan Police Station

G T Hospital

11.08.12

Left after treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.08.12 Azad Maidan Riots Injured Police Officers/Police Staff Names (under treatment)

 

 

 

Sr. No

Injured Name

Designation

Name of Hospital

Discharge Timing

Injury Spot

1.

Hanumant Rambhau Darekar/52

Sr. Inspector Azad Maidan

Bombay Hospital

 

Head injury and minor injury in the Left side of the Chest

2.

Sr. Police Inspector Jagtap

Sr. Police Inspector Azad Maidan

G T Hospital to Bombay Hospital

11.08.12

18:30 hrs

Both Shoulder and eyes minor injury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sr. No

Injured Name

Designation

Name of Hospital

Discharge Timing

Injury Spot

1.

Police Constable/21130 Hanumant Ganpati Mane

L T Marg

St. George Hospital

 

Head and Left cheek injured

2.

Police Sipai 07.1557/ Raju Turbhe

MT Dept

St. George Hospital

 

Right Hand and ear injured

3.

Police Sipai 6823/ Satyapal Ramlakhan Yadhav

RCP

St. George Hospital

 

Chest inquiry

4.

Police Sipai/1172 Arun Dattrya Sathe

SRPAF Group 1 Pune

St. George Hospital

 

Head, Neck, Nose and Ribs minor injury

5.

Police Sipai/26546 Zakir Amit Shaikh

Sr. Police Naigaon

St. George Hospital

 

Head injury and body minor injury

6.

Police Sipai 071318/ Bhagwan Dileep Sonawane

JJ Marg

St. George Hospital

 

Right side eyebrow minor injury

7.

Police Sipai 080227 Mahesh Malgowda

Sr. Police Marol

St. George Hospital

 

Foot injured with glasses, Right hand minor injury

8.

09.00128/ Dattrya Shamrao Patil

Sr. Police Tardeo

St. George Hospital

 

Left Thigh and back minor injury

9.

Police Sipai —280/ Siddheshwar Bhimashanker Jadhav

Sr. Police Worli

St. George Hospital

 

Chest minor injury

10.

Police Constable 21885/ Bhagwan Dhondu Fale

Sr. police – 3 Worli

G T Hospital

 

Chin injured

11.

Police Naik/25469 Shivaji Tukaram Chavan

Yellow Gate

G T Hospital

 

Head injured with iron rod, treatment needed

12.

Police Sipai/0902837 Anil Dattu Chavan

Sr. Police Marol

G T Hospital

 

Censored portion minor injury, Head injured, treatment needed

13.

Police Sipai/092918 Digambar Sheshrao Hundekar

Sr. Police Marol

G T Hospital

 

Right eye, back, neck and hand injured, treatment needed

14.

Police Sipai/080123 Yogesh Arjun Bodke

Sr. Police Naigon

G T Hospital

 

Nose, Bone fracture, back, hand, waist minor injury

15.

Police Sipai/070361 Kundan Sinh Kamal Sinh Thakoor

Wadala

G T Hospital

 

Right jaws injured, Left hand and Right hand both fingers fractured

16.

Police Sipai/0903068 Bhushan KishorPatharvad

Sr. Police Worli

G T Hospital

 

Both foot injured by stone and sticks, treatment needed

17.

Police Sipai/246 Anug Jalander Lokekar

Sr. Inspector Marol

G T Hospital

 

Hands injured, Treatment going on in OPD

18.

Maharashtra Police Sipai/092348 Tejashree Hanumant Athawale

Sr. InspectorTardeo

G T Hospital

 

Left foot fractured

19.

Police Sipai 97.007/ Prakash Vikram Patil

Sr. Inspector Worli

GT Hospital

 

Hand fractured

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details

 

 

 

 

Police Officers

Police Workers/Staff

Total Police Workers/Staff

Fire Birgade Staff

Injured Citizens

Dead Citizens

Admitted

6

54

60

2

6

2

Discharged

4

35

39

2

2

 

Treatment going on

2

19

21

0

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Injured Staff person of Fire Brigade at Azad Maidan Riots

 

 

 

Sr. No

Injured Person Name

Hospital

Discharge Date and Time

1.

Sunil Kashiram Gamre/42

Nair Hospital

11.08.12 / 20:00 hrs

2.

Ravindra Anand Dharma Adhikari/44

Nair Hospital

11.08.12 / 20:00 hrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name of the Citizens injured at Azad Maidan Riots

 

 

 

Sr. No

Injured Name

Hospital

Discharge Date and Time

1.

Prashant Vishnu Sawant/50 (Photographer Sakal News Group)

St. George Hospital

12.08.12 / 11:00 hrs

2.

Taufique Mohammed Yusuf Muslim/18

G T Hospital

12.08.12 / 11:00 hrs

3.

Naza Mohammed Noor Mohammed Siddique

J J Hospital

 

4.

Junaid Rasheed Shaikh

J J Hospital

 

5.

Rajendra Yadhav

J J Hospital

 

6.

Akbar Rohit Ali Khan/27

J J Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citizens Names dead at Azad Maidan Riots

 

 

 

Sr. No

Dead Person Name

Residence Place

Hospital

1.

Mohammed Umar Ansar Ul Shaikh/22

Garib Nagar, Slum Area, Terminal Road, Bandra (E), Mumbai

St. George Hospital

2.

Aftab Faizal Khan/18

Wazir B Chawl, Lal Taki, Nr. Roshan Masjid, Qureshi Nagar, Kurla (E), Mum

S

 

 

Independence Day: O God, put out this fire for us #mustread


nwar Iqbal, the Dawn
“Yesterday I went to Gujranwala and found the house where you were born. The house where you left behind your parents, drenched in their own blood,” wrote Mohammad Riaz in an e-mail he sent to his friend Mahinder Singh in Burke, Virginia.

“Now a family of Muslims from Jullunder lives in your house and their story is not much different from your story. So together we lit a candle for your martyrs in the house where you left behind your parents soaked in their blood,” he wrote.

Listen, when you go to India now, do visit the village where my sisters jumped into a well to save themselves from a marauding crowd.

“There, in the darkness of that well, you light a candle too for my martyrs.”

Mahinder wrote back, promising to do what his friend had done and said: “Once I illuminate the dark depths of that well, we will get together in Virginia and pray, for your martyrs and mine.”

So when Riaz returned to Burke, he went to a temple with Mahinder and later took him to a mosque in Springfield, Virginia. In both places, they said the same prayers.

“O God of all humans, forgive us. Forgive us because we have shed so much blood in your name that it has darkened the face of the earth. Our sins have defamed you.

“The seeds we sowed have turned our land into a volcano. The venom and hate it spits out is burning down everything,” they prayed.

“Forgive us and put out this fire for us. Our hearts are still full of hate, so we cannot put out this fire,” they said to God.

“Come and grow so many flowers in our garden that their aroma overcomes the stench of blood which still permeates our land.”

I heard about these two men, their e-mails and their prayers some months ago but I was saving this story for the Independence Day week, hoping to share this message of hope with those hundreds of millions of people who will celebrate their independence on Aug. 14 and 15.

But I almost gave up the idea when I read about 60 Hindu families from Balochistan and Sindh migrating to India because they no longer felt safe in Pakistan.

While looking for something else to write about, I discovered a little note of a conversation I had with a 10-year old Pakistani visitor last year.

“You know uncle, today I discovered that many people in this city are not Muslims,” he said. “But why did you expect them to be Muslims?” I asked. “Because most people in my city are Muslims,” he said.

I asked him how he felt meeting so many people non-Muslims. “Some of them were very nice,” he said, paused, and added: “Not all the Muslims in my city were nice.”

And I thought if a visit to Washington could convince a child that people of other faiths could be nice too, Mahinder and Riaz’s story could also have a positive impact on someone somewhere.

So here is a story that can only happen outside the Subcontinent because back home Indians and Pakistanis do not meet each other. They spend their entire lives believing in whatever they are told about each other.

Mahinder also believed that there were hardly any good people in Pakistan. Although he was a child, he never forgot how his brother and he had left their dead parents in the haveli in Gujranwala.

But most of his memories about the partition and the riots that followed were based on what he learned from his relatives and family friends, who also had suffered similar losses in the riots.

Although he had heard that Muslims too were killed in the riots, he had never met one who had lost parents, like he did. Not until he met Riaz.

It was a graduation ceremony for the daughter of an American friend where he met Riaz. Mahinder did not smoke. So when some people started smoking, he came out on the deck, holding a cup of tea. He noticed another man, sharing the deck with him.

The man was standing at an angle that the light from a nearby lamp exposed his hands. Mahinder noticed that his right hand had no fingers. It seemed as if they had been carved out by a surgeon. He wanted to but did not ask how the man lost his fingers.

But later in the evening, he saw the man talking to Brajesh, one of Mahinder’s close friends. So when the man left, he asked Brajesh why the man had no fingers in his right hand.

“Oh, they were chopped off,” said Brajesh. “Chopped off? How, when?” asked Mahinder. “He is a Pakistan Punjabi and he lost his fingers during the riots, in 1947,” said Brajesh.

“Sad,” he said to himself. “But still not comparable to losing your parents.”

The next morning he told his wife he had met a man who lost his fingers in the riots. The wife showed no interest and he too forgot about Riaz until he met him again, this time on the metro.

Like many commuters, Mahinder did not like driving to Washington during rush hours. So he parks his car at a metro station close to his home and rides the metro.

The man saw him and smiled. Mahinder smiled back, so the man came to him and said: “Riaz, Mohammed Riaz.” “Mahinder Singh,” said Mahinder.

They were speaking Punjabi, so Riaz said to him, “I can guess from your accent that you are from West Punjab.” Now Mahinder also noticed that the man had an East Punjabi accent and told him so.

They both laughed but the conversation did not go further.

A week after this brief encounter, Brajesh invited Mahinder to his restaurant for a business lunch. Mahinder was a car dealer and Brajesh wanted to buy a delivery van for his restaurant.

His restaurant was in an area with a large Muslim population. So Brajesh, being a good businessman, served only halal meat. Mahinder often made fun of Brajesh, a Hindu from Delhi, for being more particular than Muslims about halal and haram.

Brajesh always laughed and said: “Business, yaar, business.”

While eating, Brajesh said: “I am still very South Asian, never do business with strangers. You are my car dealer and Riaz is my property dealer.”

“Now that you have mentioned him, what else you know about this man, about his lost his fingers?” asked Mahinder.

“Not much,” said Brajesh. “Like you, he also lost his father, a brother and two sisters in the riots but I do not know the details.”

This was quite a shock for Mahinder. He had always believed that the Muslims did not suffer as much as the Hindus and Sikhs during the riots.

Whenever he came across a book or a newspaper article that contradicted his beliefs, he simply ignored them. There was no room for doubts in his world. “Muslims were aggressors, period,” he often said to his family.

But it was difficult to ignore Riaz. Here was a man who had not only lost his family in the riots but also a carried reminder of that tragedy with him, a hand without fingers.

So he asked Brajesh to invite Riaz and him to tea at his restaurant.

Brajesh did. But Riaz and Brajesh did most of the talking. Mahinder was mostly quiet. When they were leaving, he said to Riaz, pointing at his hand: “I am sorry about your fingers.”

“Oh, I do not always notice their absence,” he said. “This happened when I was a child.” Mahinder did not ask how and Riaz did not explain.

But when he met Riaz again in the metro, Mahinder asked him to have dinner at his home.

On the agreed day, Riaz came early, as Mahinder had suggested. He took him straight to his deck and asked his family not to disturb them.

While making tea for Riaz, he said: “Look, we are both Punjabis and Punjabis are straightforward people. So let me tell you why I invited you. I want you to share with me all that happened to you in 1947.”

“I guessed that much,” said Riaz, smiling. “Had you asked me before I came to America, it would have upset me. Not anymore,” he said.

Then he asked, “When did you come to America?” “Five years ago. My in-laws sponsored us,” said Mahinder.

“OK, so you have not yet met enough Pakistanis to overcome the pains of the past,” said Riaz. “I have been here 20 years and have met enough nice Indians to forget the past.”

He then explained how an Indian physician saved his daughter’s life when he was new in America and could not afford health insurance. “He charged no fees, gave us free medicine and even paid  a specialist to see her.”

Riaz then told Mahinder everything about his village in Gurdaspur, about how a mob attacked his home and killed his father and brother, how his mother hid him under the quilts before the mob came, how his sisters jumped into a well to protect themselves from the mob.

He told Mahinder how his entire household was helping him hide and how everybody was dead when he came out. Everybody except his mother who was left injured because the mob presumed she was dead.

Although he was a child, he knew he should not cry as it would draw attention but at night he heard someone crying, ran out and saw his mother crying with pain.

His father, who was a school teacher, also served as a part time physician. So he had some medicines and bandages at home that her mother used to cover her wounds.

He told him how the two of them walked out of the village after midnight and later joined a group of Muslim refugees going to Pakistan.

How a mob attacked the group, killed many, and how one of them chopped off his fingers with a machete. The story ended when Riaz and his mother made it safely to Pakistan.

Mahinder got up and hugged Riaz for what seemed like eternity.

Wiping their tears, they went to the dining room where they hardly said anything to each other.

When Riaz was leaving, Mahinder hugged him again.

Tribal weapons ban in Indian state of #Chhattisgarh


 

By Salman RaviBBC News, Raipur

Maoists in Chhattisgarh (July 2012)Chhattisgarh is a hotbed of India’s Maoist insurrection

Tribal or indigenous people in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh are to be banned from carrying traditional weapons such as sickles, axes and bows and arrows, police say.

They say that the move is necessary because of increasing attacks on police and civilians by Maoist insurgents with tribal weapons in public places.

The move has drawn criticism from tribal bodies and political parties.

They argue that it curtails the rights of tribal people.

Maoists are active in more than a third of India’s 600-odd districts. They say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and labourers.

Chhattisgarh is one of the Indian states worst affected by Maoist violence.

Rebels in its Narayanpur district have established a “liberated zone” over an area of 4,000 sq km (2,485 sq miles).

Boards, written in Hindi and local dialects, have been erected by police throughout the state warning of “legal action” if anyone is found to be carrying traditional weapons in public places, especially in markets.

A police spokesman in Narayanpur told the BBC that Maoists were targeting villagers and police in market places.

“They are taking advantage of the tribal tradition and it becomes difficult to differentiate between a Maoist and a tribal in such places. This is the reason we have decided to restrict carrying traditional weapons in public places,” Superintendent Mayank Srivastava said.

Such has been the criticism against the initiative, however, that police say they may soon alter the ban so that it applies only to the carrying of bows and arrows by tribal people.

Ramesh Thakur, a spokesman for the tribal group Sarva Adivasi Sabha, said that the move violated the rights of tribal people to carry weapons as guaranteed by the Indian constitution.

“The authorities have failed to counter the Maoists in this belt and so they are venting out their ire on the local populace,” he said

 

“ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH”-Response to story #SoniSori in Indian Express- WSS


 

We are deeply shocked and dismayed at Ashutosh Bhardwaj’s (AB) report  “Soni’s Story” published in the Sunday Express on 5th August..  The reporter has not bothered to cross-check any of the “facts” given to him byhis unnamed sources, and relies entirely on innuendo and unproven assertions to discredit a woman who is currently imprisoned and in no position to clarify and defend herself.   AB employs dubious techniques to gain access to sensitive information, yet ends up completely missing out on the real story unfolding in Dantewada, where a dysfunctional criminal justice system, coupled with a vicious law enforcement machinery, iscriminalizing an entire community and generation of adivasis.

Factual Inaccuracies

The reporter takes great pains to cast doubts over Soni Sori’s claims of custodial sexual torture at the hands of Chhattisgarh police.   And this is done without having talked to the victim herself.

1)      First, he suggests that the X-ray images taken in Chhattisgarh hospitals right after her torture show that there were no stones in her vagina or rectum.  It should be noted that the State of Chhattisgarh itself makes far more modest claims in its defense before the Supreme Court than these clumsy ones made by AB. Quoting the Head of the Radio-diagnosis of the Raipur Hospital where these tests were conducted, the State has admitted before the apex court that “In the CT scan, the vaginal part is not included…”  All the Chhattisgarh state has claimed in court is that “No foreign body is visible for the part of the rectum for which the CT scan was done.” [Annexure 5, Submission on behalf of the Respondent State of Chhattisgarh in Writ Petition 206 of 2011, Supreme Court of India].  Elementary knowledge of human anatomy wouldsuffice to illustrate that CT spinal scans do not cover the majority of the rectum; they leave out the lower rectum.

2)      AB deliberately downplays the horror of the discovery of stones in Ms. Sori’s private parts by the NRS Hospital in Kolkata by suggesting that the report sent by the hospital, described as “four-page confidential report, a copy of which is with The Sunday Express,” does not confirm torture charges. It may interest AB to know that hospital did not file a 4-page report, but a 39-page report, which was madeavailable to Ms. Sori’s lawyers by the Supreme Court.  Which 4 pages of this report were read by AB is impossible to guess, but his conclusion that the hospital did not confirm the torture charges is absurd.  Themedical board not only conducted a thorough gynecological and rectal examination – the first since Soni Sori was taken into police custody – but uncovered physical evidence in the form of stones from her private parts, which were physically sent to the Supreme Court along with the report.  Shoving of stones into one’s private parts may not conform to Mr. Bhardwaj’s definition of “torture”, but it does seem to satisfy the Supreme Court of India.

3)      Mr. Bhardwaj then seeks to discredit the Kolkata hospital’s report further by suggesting that even the Supreme Court entertains doubts about the accuracy of this report, and hence has ordered Soni Sori’s re-examination at AIIMS.  Again, if he had only bothered to read the Supreme Court order of 2nd May 2012, publicly available on its website, he would have easily learned that the examination and treatment at AIIMS was ordered by the apex court to provide Soni Sori with medical treatment that was deliberately being withheld from her by the Chhattisgarh authorities.  It was not at all to “re-examine” the torture evidence.  In any case, what medical evidence of torture does AB imagine would still be present in the body eight months after the incident?!   The problems of abnormal vaginal discharge and other associatedgynecological, urological problems, raised by a private practitioner whom AB has talked to, which AB insinuates in his article as being mysteriously absent, have all been painstakingly documented before the Supreme Court, if only Mr. Bhardwaj had bothered to acquaint himself with the documents of this case. In fact, it was on the basis of these that urgent medical treatment was being repeatedly requested by Ms. Soni’s counsel in three different interim applications to the Supreme Court, and it is this prayer of Ms. Sori’s counsel which the Supreme Court answered in its May 2nd order.

4)      What is perhaps most distasteful in the report is the zeal with which AB attacks the authenticity of Soni’s letters from prison.  Again, he has no tangible argument to show any kind of discrepancy, and indeed, even the State of Chhattisgarh has not challenged the authenticity of these letters filed before the Supreme Court.  When AB confronts Soni herself with these letters, she also affirms that she isindeed sending them from prison.  Undeterred, AB tells the reader that he is unable confirm that these letters are indeed in Soni Sori’s handwriting, and he cannot find how they are being sent from prison. One wonders whether this has more to do with Mr. Bhardwaj’s competence as an investigative journalist, rather than the authenticity of letters. For instance, did he try to get a handwriting sample of Soni tocompare the various letters? Did he know that on 5/10/2011, the day after being arrested in Delhi, Soni Sori had submitted IN PERSON a handwritten letter to the Saket Courts, which is now an integral part of the court record and a public document, which can be easily used for the purpose of comparing handwritings? If AB had only bothered to do some primary research, maybe his investigative abilities would have improved dramatically.  Further, it is unclear why he expects either Soni or anyone else to give him specific information about how the letters are being sent to Delhi.  Does he not know what happened to Dr. Binayak Sen charged with similar allegations of carrying letters for an alleged Naxalite?

Questionable Ethics of this “Journalism of Courage”

It has been brought to our notice that in his zeal to find out how these letters are being sent from the prison, AB accosted her young children and badgered them to find out whether they could recognize Soni’s handwriting in the letters, whether Soni was passing off the letters to them when they visited her, and whether they knew how she was sending these letters to Delhi.  AB never once approached either Soni’s lawyers in Delhi, or any of the doctors who examined her, or the women’s rights and civil liberties activists, who he insinuates are “using her” (to what ends and purpose only he can shed light on). Instead, he tried to obtain sensitive information out of children, clearly violating all ethical boundaries of “investigative journalism”. Considering that the youngest of Soni’s children is only 6 years old, we strongly protest at thishighly questionable and rather “courageous” way of trying to elicit information from children about their mother.

It is common knowledge that most instances of custodial torture, especially sexual torture, go unpunished and unrecorded simply because it is nearly impossible to establish the claims. This is what makes it all the more shameful for The Sunday Express to go out of its way to discredit the one solitary instance of brutal torture that has actually been corroborated by hard, incontrovertible medical evidence – by employing the dubious techniques of innuendos and mis-statement of facts.  By questioning the sexual torture claims, this report ends up giving credence to the similar line of arguments of the State.   Is it really that difficult for IE’s editors and journalists to understand why an imprisoned adivasi woman, from a conflict-ridden region, whose husband and nephew are also imprisoned by the police, and who has herself been threatened with even more dire consequences to her family, may take a few days to overcome her fear and the trauma of her brutal sexual torture, and only then be able to talk of the gory details?

(Ir)Responsible Journalism?

While appalling factual inaccuracies and selective presenting of pieces information does great damage to the reporter’s credibility, what is perhaps most worrisome and reprehensible in this story is the story he chooses to ignore, to not to report on.

AB mentions in an off-hand manner that there is evidence to show that neither Soni, nor her husband (who has been in jail for over two years now) were involved in the attack on Mr. Avadhesh Gautam’s house, in which both of them are charged.  He also reports that even the police admit that the other cases against Soni (eight of them altogether) are all false cases.  But then does not highlight or discuss the grave implications of this explosive piece of information.

He probably knows that the FIR lodged by Mr. Avadhesh Gautam after the attack on his house, in which he named Soni and her husband, also named 65 other adivasis of the local villages. As in the case of Soni and her husband, it is open knowledge in the villages that the other 65 names are also figments of someone’s overactive imagination.  Yet dozens of them continue to be in jail even today, as their trial drags on endlessly and they are unable to obtain bail.  But somehow, AB, in possession of all these facts, could not be bothered less in reporting on this epidemic of coerced criminality that seems to be sweeping across the adivasi belt.

AB also fails to inform the readers that in this case, the reason why so many adivasis are languishing in jail in an admittedly fabricated case is that for over a year Mr. Avadhesh Gautam, the main complainant, hasnot answered his summons to appear in court to give testimony.  For over a year, the court has been making (half-hearted) attempts to get him to come so that the trial can proceed. But for over a year, the deliverer of summons simply cannot find Avadhesh Gautam in the village. But Avadhesh Gautam is not in hiding– he lives in his house, attends to his business, everyone in the village knows his whereabouts, and even AB had no problem nailing him down for this story.  Only the court cannot seem to find him to deliver summons to him.

But this does not seem to bother Mr. Bhardwaj.  In his enthusiasm to get Mr. Gautam’s opinion on Ms. Sori’s character, he conveniently lays aside the *real* story–that so many adivasis continue to languish in jail for over two years simply because Mr Gautam cannot take the trouble to appear in the court to give his testimony, What makes Mr. Avadhesh Gautam, who has admittedly falsely implicated Soni and her family in a criminal case, the ideal person to provide insights into Ms. Soni’s condition escapes us. But what is even more distressing is that AB does not find it worthwhile to investigate why a whole generation of adivasis is being put behind bars on the basis of such false cases, why it is taking years and their entire family’s savings to get them out.  Instead, his way of “responsible journalism” leads him to cast aspersions and doubts on the custodial torture of one woman, who has dared to question this dismal state of affairs in a constitutional democracy, and on the concerns being raised by democratic rights activists.

 

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) is a non-funded effort started in November 2009, to put an end to the violence perpetrated upon our bodies and societies. We are a nationwide network of women from diverse political and social movements comprising of women’s organizations, mass organizations, civil liberty organizations, student and youth organizations, mass movements and individuals. We unequivocally condemn state repression and sexual violence on women by any perpetrator (s)

 

 

Complaint to NCW-molestation of 10-15 women police officers #VAW


 

August 14, 2012

To,

Smt. Mamta Sharma,

Chairperson,

National Commission for Women

Dear Smt. Sharma,

We are extremely concerned about the widespread reports of deliberate mishandling and molestation of 10-15 women police officers of the Mumbai Police while on regular bandobast duty to ensure public order at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Saturday, August 11.

Policewomen, as all women in public administrative functions are particularly vulnerable to such incidents of gender violence and hence it is necessary for the NCW to not just investigate this complaint but look into the wider issue of the vulnerabilities of women in public spaces and suggest sensitisation in this regard.

We, as citizens of Mumbai and representatives of womens’ organisations would urge that the National Commission for Women (NCW) conducts a Investigation under Section 10(a)(f) and (j) of the National Commission for Women’s Act, 1990 into the reports and allegations and makes public its recommendations in a time bound manner. Sensitisation of the public on conduct during protests and demonstrations is a must as also the acknowledgement and assertion that such behaviour cannot be condoned.

Ma’am do ensure a swift decision in this regard.

Your browser may not support display of this image.

Teesta Setalvad, Citizens for Justice and Peace (Mobile 09821314172)

Hasina Khan Awaaz-e-Niswaan

Sandhya Gokhale Forum Against Oppression of Women
Noorjahan Safia Niaz, Convenor Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan

Uzma Naheed, IIWA, Iqra International Women’s Alliance

Noorjahan Shaikh, KHOJ, Sabrang

Naseem Contractor, WRAG

 

1,200 tonnes of wheat rot in scarcity-hit Gujarat #Narendramodi #Indiashining


A bag of wheat, often used as an adjunct

A bag of wheat, often used as an adjunct (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TNN | Aug 13, 2012, 04.35AM IST

VADODARA: Wheat enough to feed more than 5,000 people for more than a year has been left to rot at the Vadodara railway station even as the current spell of monsoon showers hit the city. The foodgrain has been allowed to turn to waste less than a week after more than half of Gujarat was declared scarcity-hit.

Some 1,200 tonnes of wheat, packed in 24,000 bags, was lying in the open at the Vadodara railway yard when a TOI team reached there on Sunday afternoon. The foodgrain had poured out of the bags and had become a free lunch for stray cattle.

The wheat sent by Food Corporation of India was to be sent to Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC’s) godown in Vadodara within 36 hours. It was meant for both poor people to be given through the public distribution system as well as for sale in the open market. It was wasted only because the contractor didn’t pick up the bags in time apparently because he didn’t have enough labour to do the job.

“This is unfortunate,” said economist and former Union minister Y K Alalgh. “Such a waste can’t be allowed in our country simply because there is a lack of coordination between various agencies, including the railways and the FCI. The guilty should be brought to book.”

Vadodara collector Vinod Rao and BJP MP Balkrishna Shukla rushed to the spot as word on the issue spread.

CWC officials, however, downplayed the issue, saying that it was a minor hitch. “The contractor was expected to pick up the entire stock from the railway yard. However, he couldn’t do so as the stock was large. Usually, the stock is not offloaded when it is raining. But when the stock was offloaded three days ago, it wasn’t raining. The contractor had moved many bags from the yard to the godown,” said CWC regional manager V K Tyagi.

“Many foodgrain bags have become wet, but we can salvage them and use them again. The lack of infrastructure in the railways, too, led to the situation. We will take action against the contractor and penalize him for the damage,” Tyagi added.

FCI regional manager N Mohan said out of 54,000 bags, 30,000 had been shifted.

Thane tribal girl’s film wins award in New York #goodnews


PTI | ,Aug 13,2012

Thane, Aug 13 (PTI) A documentary film made by fifteen year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade, a tribal girl from Wada taluka of Thane district, has won an award in the Asian American Film Festival held in New York recently. Jayashree, who studies in Eklavya Parivartan Vidyalaya here, made the 27-minute-long documentary– ‘Fire in our Hearts’ on the lives of the children in the brick kiln owners. In 2003, when she was eight, Jayshree had to quit school.

fire in our hearts unitions nations film

After her mother’s death, she had to tend to her three younger brothers while her father worked at a brick kiln. In the film, which won the ‘One to Watch’ award at the festival, Jayshree documented her family and village as well as the tenacious efforts of the tribal union for the equal rights to education. “It shows that if tribal girls are given an opportunity, they can excel. However, the sorry state is that they have been ignored by the society and it is high time we bring them into the main stream,” Vivek Pandit, chief of the Shramajivi Sanghatana said.

It was the story of the girl’s struggle that made documentary filmmaker Joyce Chopra of New York-based NGO, By Kids, approach Jayshree. A two-member team flew down from New York in February this year and stayed for a month in the boarding school to teach Jayshree to handle the camera. After a week of lessons on how to handle the camera, the girl marched to her village in Wada to document the story of her life.

The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is produced by Asian CineVision (ACV), a nonprofit media arts organization devoted to the development, promotion and preservation of Asian and Asian American film and video. PTI CORR