#India-Jatland Of Haryana: A Rapists’ Republic #Vaw #Torture


pic courtesy fabio cicala

By Anand Teltumbde

03 November, 2012
Countercurrents.org

After the Manesar incident that exposed the unlawful labour practices being followed in the sunshine capitalist establishments that characterizes Harayana’s industrialization and also its patron, the state government, Haryana is again in the limelight, this time for its primal feudal traits. There have been 19 gang-rapes of Dalit girls, one more gruesome than the other, during a single month. While the government responses have been lethargic as usual, the notorious khap panchyats of the ruling Jats, with their pervasive influence have in a way justified these rapes by advising that the girls should be married off before they reached the age of puberty to avoid rapes. Important politicians unashamedly endorsed this shocking solution in public and some of them dismissing rapes as basically consensual matters turned sour. These are not one off examples of foolhardiness of some stray individuals; it verily represents an abiding pattern that makes the state a veritable hell for Dalits.

Roguery of the Rich

Haryana, the land of Jats that exemplifies the huge enrichment and empowerment of farming castes in the post-colonial India, has also been a representative of cohabitation of global capitalism and debauched feudalism. After separation from Punjab in 1966, as purely Hindu Jat state Haryana took rapid strides in development. Today with per capita income of Rs 92,327 (2011), it tops the list of the states except for Goa with Rs. 1,32,719. All these riches are obviously not shared by all. They have been disproportionately pocketed by a section of Jats, which with its power and pelf shelters rest of the community under its thralldom. Thanks to the feudal autocratic style of its leaders, it has emerged one of the major centres of manufacturing, business process outsourcing, agriculture and retail sectors. Gurgaon, with its glass and metal clad high rises housing MNC and TNC offices and families of their honchos perhaps best represents the development of Haryana. Even beyond Gurgaon, the general infrastructure in the state surely rivals the best anywhere. However, beyond this facade lies the Haryana of antiquity that is ruled by khap panchyats, that kills female fetuses, that executes honour killings, that practices rampant incests and that treats its Dalits as its slaves to be lynched, butchered and raped at will.

Recall, when on 16 October 2002 five Dalits were lynched to death by a large and violent mob on the main road outside the Dulina Police Post, near Jhajjar town in Haryana in front of the police and several senior district officials for being accused of skinning a cow, the killers were glorified as heroes who had avenged the cow “our mother”. Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), leader Parmanand Giri had openly stated that those who had killed the ‘gau-hatyare’ (killers of cow) must be honoured. The VHP President Giriraj Kishore justified killing saying, “the life of a cow is more precious than that of a human being.” Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Sarva-Khap Panchayats openly lent support to the killers and opposed any action against them. Such is the terror of the Jats, who pride by valor (read criminality), that the then District Commissioner of Jajjhar had expressed his helplessness to the PUDR team saying that no administration could function in the area without pacifying the sentiments of organisations like the VHP, and negotiating with the ‘Khap’ Panchayats. On 27 August 2005, 55 to 60 Dalit houses were burnt down by a violent mob of 1500 to 2000 Jats in Gohana with full support of local Police or on April 21, 2010, when two Dalits were killed in Mirchpur and their houses set ablaze or last year 70 Dalit families of Bhagana village in Hisar were ousted with the social boycott by Jats, there was similar arrogant support for the perpetrators of crime. The khap panchayats’ honour killing, its public justification by the Jat spokespersons and politicians; their resolution against the struggling Maruti workers’ union, and several such actions are nothing but the naked roguery of the rich Jats in Haryana.

Haplessness of Dalits

Dalits live in perpetual fear of Jats in Haryana. The sex starved Jats on account of acute shortage of women (there are just 877 women for each 1000, far below the national average of 940 as per census 2011) are known to indulge in incests with impunity. But when the khap panchyats issued its fatwa against the within-clan marriages, they turned to softer targets in Dalit girls. The National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB) reports shows how the rapes on Dalit girls/women have consistently gone up from 21 in 2007 to 56 in 2011. While the national rape on Dalit girl/woman went up by 15.41% over the period, the increase in Haryana was whooping 167 %. In a single month of September 2012, there have been 19 gangrapes on Dalit girls. Among these was a 16-year-old girl, who was gangraped by a dozen upper-caste men in Darba village of Haryana’s Hisar district on 9 September. The rapists had filmed the horrific act and circulated the video. Unable to cope with the situation, her father committed suicide. Another Dalit girl of the same age, who was also gangraped in the Sachcha Kheda village in Jind district, burnt herself to death. A 5-months pregnant Dalit woman was abducted and raped by two youths in Kalyat. Practically, the gangs of bahubalis with patronage of politicians can rape and kill Dalit girls without any fear. Haryana has seen such rape cases in several districts, including Rohtak, Hisar, Jind, Bhiwani, Yamunanagar, Panipat, Sonipat, Ambala, Karnal, Faridabad and Kaithal in the past one month.

Unlike Jats, Dalits are poor and sans protection. They can be easily scared by the upper castes, which exert pressure on the family of a rape victim not to report the matter to the police. If the family still approached police, the latter would dissuade it and would not easily register the case. Only under the public pressure the police seem to register crime against Dalits and arrest the culprits. When the case is registered most victim families are pressurized by the Jats to go in for an out-of-court settlement, and accusing it of destroying the village’s intercaste harmony if it refused to succumb. While the family incurs wrath of powerful Jats in village, the police in process do everything to weaken the case. Further the investigation is done in a motivated manner so as to pass it in weakest form possible to prosecution and judiciary. Provide for prosecution’s incapacity and judiciary’s bias and the aftermath after decades is invariably frustrating to victims. This is the general picture in the country; the case in Haryana can be left to imagination.

Options before Dalits

Traditionally Dalits have relied on the state as a neutral arbiter and hoped it would do them justice. The colonial state created this hope and the post-colonial state, pretending to conduct itself as per the constitution, which Dalits believed to be the code of Ambedkar, reinforced this reliance. Despite persistent disillusionment over the last six decades this trait appears intact, perhaps for the lack of any better alternative. The state has not only not cared for them; it has also been itself a perpetrator of atrocities. In every atrocity that came to limelight the complicit as well as active perpetrator’s role of the state is revealed. Besides, with policy as its weapon of mass destruction the state has consistently acted against poor of which the Dalits have been a preponderant part. In recent years, the security syndrome has come handy for the state to label them as naxalite and persecute. Leave apart being a benefactor, the state is completely exposed in its anti-Dalit role. The anti-people collusion between legislature and executive, even judiciary that held hope for people otherwise has failed to create confidence in Dalits with its biased judgements.

The entire system, with its much trumpeted social justice for Dalits, stands exposed as an intrigue intricately devised to ‘manage’ Dalits as it knew left unmanaged they could easily turn inflammable. The entire representational logic embedded in the reservation system had Macaulayan colonial strategy underneath. Their political representatives, sarkari intellectuals, and the entire middle class created by this logic are meant to ‘manage’ vast Dalit masses. Who will then take care of their interests? Who will do what to a Congress leader who rubs salt over Dalit injuries saying “90% girls go out of their own will”, the state president of the Congress, who dismisses it as a “conspiracy to malign the government”, Haryana’s khaps that prescribes how girls should dress so as not to provoke young men; the Sarva Khap Jat Panchayat, that says the marriage age for girls be lowered to curb rising incidents of rape in the state, and Om Prakash Chautala of INLD who endorses it in a shameless manner?

What should Dalits do? Ambedkar posed this problem way back in 1936 and had come out with a communitarian solution of merging into an existing religious community to overcome the intrinsic weakness of Dalits. He did convert two decades later, but to a religion which did not have any such community in India. The conversion as could be objectively seen made little dent to the condition of Dalits. Ambedkar’s vision of ‘annihilation of castes’ is eclipsed by the upsurge of sub-caste movements of Dalits. His construction of ‘Dalit’ as a quasi class of organic proletarians stands effectively demolished. Ambedkar is reduced to an identitarian icon devoid of any emancipatory content. Dalits reflect the same cultural strands that enslaved them for millennia. If the Jats have khaps, they too have their khaps; if others have their jat panchayats, Dalits have theirs, may be with a changed label. In this state, taking clue from Ambedkar’s diagnosis and vision, the only option that remains for Dalits is not a communitarian unity but a class unity. In Haryana, the Manesar episode shows that the young educated workforce is alienated from khap panchayats who have condemned their struggle against exploitative management. There is sizable progressive force, albeit fragmented, in Haryana, which should build the class unity encompassing Dalits to defeat the vile designs of the rapist regime.

It may sound utopian but it is surely doable. Haryana is the ideal land to make a beginning of this process.

Dr Anand Teltumbde is a writer and civil rights activist with CPDR, Mumbai

 

#India-12th Plan will triple spending on health #Election #Vote #Joke


IANS  New Delhi, November 3, 2012 | UPDATED 22:54 IST

12th Plan will triple spending on health: PM

Manmohan Singh
Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singhon Saturday said the 12th Five Year Plan will enhance spending on health up to three times and that more medical and nursing colleges were needed to overcome a shortage of trained human resourcesin the sector.Speaking at the foundation stone laying of the Lady Hardinge Medical Collegeproject here, the prime minister also said that health indicators reflected a country’s overall well-being.”Recognising the need to provide for the complex challenges in the health sector, the allocation for health has been enhanced three times in the 12th Plan as compared with the 11th Plan allocation,” he said.He said the government was paying more attention to medical education. In the last three years, the number of MBBS seats in medical colleges rose by over 30 percent and the seats for post-graduate programmes by 51 percent.

“However, the availability of trained human resources remains a challenge. We need to set up more nursing and medical colleges to increase both undergraduate and postgraduate seats in the 12th Plan,” he said.

The prime minister said that nutrition, drinking water, sanitation, housing and education, particularly of the girl child, were increasingly being underlined as the social determinants of health.

He added that generic drugs would be made available free in all public hospitals across the country to help the poor reduce their out of pocket expenditure on health

 

#Invitation -Repeal AFSPA Save Democracy – #Irom Sharmila


Repeal AFSPA Save Democracy

We Want Citizen State Not Police State

Reach Raj Ghat, Delhi on 6 November 2012

12th Anniversary of Irom Shamila’s Fast

The lofty proclamations of liberal democracy – like: equality, liberty and right to life are the social contracts signed by the Modern Nation-State to legitimize itself, values as liberal democracy where citizens’ rights are sacrosanct, where individual rights are supposed to be the foundation in the structure of governance mechanisms including the force apparatus like army, paramilitary, and the police.

However, the reality is different. The existence of extremely draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, National Security Act, and various provisions in the Indian penal code like ‘sedition’ make a mockery of the claims of liberal democratic character of the Indian state.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) is one of the most draconian legislations used by the governments to enslave and oppress citizens under the garb of fighting separatism/terrorism. For the past sixty years the North-East and for almost two decades Jammu & Kashmir have been virtually under army rule leave apart police. This rule by the army has had a drastic effect on the daily life of the average citizens residing in the North-East and Jammu & Kashmir.

Irom Sharmila took the cudgels to challenge the might of the government and her method has always been Gandhian, shorn of violence, concrete in belief and consistent in perseverance. Irom Sharmila is a Gandhian of our times made of a unique metal. Irom Sharmila has been on hunger strike for the last 12 years but she has largely been unnoticed as she sought to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 with her peaceful protest.

On 6th Nov.2012 we the following adherents to democracy and peace have  planned a day-long fast in support of the movement of Irom Sharmila.

Program

Venue : Samata Sthal (opposite Raj Ghat)

Date : 6 November 2012

Time : 8 am to 5 pm

All are requested to join and support.

Socialist Yuvjan Sabha (SYS)

Yuva Bharat, Sarv Seva Sangh, Azadi Bachao Andolan, Bangladesh Bharat Pakistan Peoples Forum & Others.

Contact: Program Convener Dr. A. K. Arun, Mobile: 9868809602.

Other Contacts: 9716634603, 9871111387, 9899003100.

After Girish Karnad, Taslima Nasreen rips into V S Naipaul


Krishna Kumar   |   MAIL TODAY  |   New Delhi, November 3, 2012 |

Taslima Nasreen, V S Naipaul and Girish Karnad
Taslima Nasreen, V S Naipaul and Girish Karnad
Reverberations in the literary world are still being felt a day after playwrightGirish Karnad slammed Nobel laureate V S Naipaulon Friday. Karnad attacked the organisers of the Mumbai Literature Fest, slamming them for honouring Naipaul as Karnad accused the novelist of being ‘anti-Muslim’.While Karnad has been criticised by the organisers of the literary festival for targetting Naipaul, the playwright has found unexpected support from Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.

Nasreen on Saturday tweeted that Naipaul was an Islamophobe. “Girish Karnad is right, Naipaul is tone deaf, wrote nothing about Indian music in his big books on India. Naipaul is a mean Islamophobe writer,” the Bangladeshi writer posted on the micro-blogging website.

She also called Naipaul ‘a male chauvinistic pig’ for his earlier statement claiming that he found no woman worth his literary match. Responding to a tweet she claimed, while “Girish Karnad is neither a Hindu hater nor Muslim hater, Naipaul is definitely Muslim hater.” She added that Naipaul would not have been so famous if he had written his books in one of the regional languages of India. “If Naipaul wrote his books in one of the Indian regional languages, he would have been an unknown writer even in India,” she said.

Responding to some tweets from Naipaul’s fans after her tweet, Taslima said, “Literary giant? Because he got Nobel Prize? So many worthless dumbos got Nobel prize,” Taslima alleged.

How the whole tiff started:
On October 31, Mumbai Lit Fest organisers felicitated Naipaul with the Life Time achievement award.On October 2, Karnad who was supposed to talk in a sessions which focused on theatre and his life and work, however did not speak on the subject calling it ‘boring’ and instead went on target the organisers for felicitating Naipaul earlier.

Calling Naipaul ‘tone deaf’, Karnad said, “Now Mr Naipaul has written three books on India. If you read them, you find that not even one of them contains any reference to music. He has gone through the whole of India without responding to Indian music. I think that only means that he is tone deaf,”

He further claimed that Naipaul was anti-Muslim, “Now again, what he says is predictable, which is that the Muslims destroyed Indian architecture that everything went to pot. They were the raiders, they were the destroyers, and you have to look at any building to see what happened during the Muslim regime,” Karnad said.

In fact what could cause further controversy, she further ranted and also attacked Mother Teresa when she agreed with another tweeter who questioned Teresa getting a Nobel. “Teresa did everything to make her Jesus happy. She let patients suffer, didn’t give medicine,” Taslima said.

Taslima Nasreen’s comments are surely going to ensure that Karnad’s comments on Naipaul will be alive for a long while.

Meanwhile reacting to Karnad’s comments, festival director Anil Dharker released a statement slamming the playwright. “We were all taken aback by Girish Karnad’s attack on V S Naipaul. After all, we had invited him (Karnad) to speak about his journey in theatre, and Naipaul had nothing to do with that,” Dharker said.

Dharker refuted Karnad’s claim that Naipaul was anti-Muslim, “As for Naipaul being anti-Muslim, his wife Nadira is Muslim and her two children are being brought up as Muslims. Naipaul writes about how Muslim rulers and invaders of the past destroyed temples, monuments and so on. That’s historical fact, and who can argue against that? That does not make Naipaul anti-Muslim.”

“I also resent the implication that we, as organisers, are somehow not secular. I am a Trustee of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) led by Teesta Setalvad, and we have been fighting over 200 cases in court against (Narendra) Modi and his government over the 2002 Gujarat violence,” Dharker said in his

 

#Yemen: Security Forces Raiding Aden Hospitals


Forcible Arrests of Alleged Militants Threaten Health Care
OCTOBER 20, 2012
  • Saleh Amhad Abdullah, 16, in intensive care at Aden‘s al-Nabiq Hospital, two days after being shot in the head on October 7, 2012, during an exchange of gunfire while he was selling fruit outside the medical center.
    © 2012 Letta Tayler/Human Rights Watch
Gunfights in hospitals put patients and medical workers at grave risk and threaten to shut down health care in Aden. Both security forces and their opponents are showing callous indifference to human life.
Letta Tayler, senior Yemen researcher

(Aden) ­– Yemeni state security forces are threatening health care in Aden by forcibly removing wounded alleged militants from hospitals, exchanging fire with gunmen seeking to block the arrests, and beating medical staff. One hospital in that southern port city has suspended operations as a result.

Aden security forces describe the patients they have sought to arrest as suspects in serious crimes, including attacks against state security forces or armed robbery. Sources link most if not all of the wounded patients to Herak (“Southern Movement”), a coalition of groups seeking greater autonomy or independence for former South Yemen. Gunmen supporting and protecting the alleged militants have fueled the violence by firing at state security forces on hospital grounds.

“Gunfights in hospitals put patients and medical workers at grave risk and threaten to shut down health care in Aden,” said Letta Tayler, senior Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Both security forces and their opponents are showing callous indifference to human life.”

Government security forces have entered two hospitals in Aden at least five times in 2012 to arrest alleged militants, without warrants and despite warnings from doctors that the patients required continued hospitalization.

On October 7, 2012, state paramilitary forces allegedly beat hospital guards and shot a 16-year-old fruit vendor in the head during an exchange of gunfire with gunmen trying to block the arrest of two alleged militants being treated for gunshot wounds at Aden’s al-Naqib hospital.

“He had no gun. He was only selling fruit,” one of the teenager’s relatives told Human Rights Watch at the hospital two days later. “He was shot as he ducked to escape the bullets.” The international humanitarian organization Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) indefinitely suspended operations at its Aden hospital after a similar gunfight on September 27.

The Central Security Forces (CSF), a state paramilitary unit, has played a prominent role in the hospital raids, which took place at al-Naqib and the MSF hospital. CSF is commanded by Yahya Saleh, the nephew of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who left office in February after a yearlong uprising. In the October 7 incident at al-Naqib, the CSF carted off a seriously wounded patient from the intensive care unit after pulling out his drainage tubes, two witnesses and a senior hospital official told Human Rights Watch.

For fear of similar attacks, medical officials told Human Rights Watch nearly all hospitals in Aden except al-Naqib now generally refuse to admit politically sensitive patients.

Governor Waheed Rasheed of Aden, in an interview with Human Rights Watch, described the wounded patients as “dangerous militants.”

Local sources say the majority if not all of the patients sought by the authorities were members of Herak. Herak was formed in 2007to obtain more resources for South Yemen, an independent state until unification with the north in 1990. Herak includes many non-violent groups but also armed separatist factions. State security forces have repeatedly used excessive and often deadly force against largely peaceful Herak protests. Since the 2011 uprising and particularly since Saleh left office, armed Herak members have attacked state security forces and other government targets, Yemeni government authorities and independent political observers say.

The Yemeni government is responsible for ensuring the security of hospitals and other medical facilities. Consistent with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, security forces acting in a law enforcement capacity “shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms.” Whenever the use of force is unavoidable, security forces shall “[e]xercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved.”

Patients in hospitals are not immune from lawful arrest. However, they retain their right to health care as provided under international law. The forcible removal of seriously wounded patients from a hospital, placing their lives or health at risk, violates this right.

Human Rights Watch called on Yemeni authorities to take immediate measures to protect patients and medical workers from the excessive use of force and arbitrary arrests by security personnel. Governor Rasheed told Human Rights Watch that the government is committed to protecting patients and medical staff.

The armed men who try to prevent the security forces from making arrests in hospitals are also seriously risking the lives of patients and medical personnel, Human Rights Watch said.

“Whatever their agendas, gunmen should not turn hospitals into shooting galleries,” Tayler said. “At the same time, the government should minimize risks to patients and hospital staff and stop depriving alleged militants of their right to medical treatment.”

For more details on the attack, please see the below text.

Attacks on al-Naqib
At 5 a.m. on October 7, about 10 armed members of the Central Security Forces (CSF) stormed al-Naqib Hospital and forcibly removed two wounded alleged militants, hospital staff members who witnessed the incident told Human Rights Watch. The security forces told hospital officials that the two patients had attacked a local CSF post two days earlier. About 20 additional members of various security forces surrounded the hospital, the staff members said.

The CSF members beat two hospital guards with Kalashnikov assault rifles and a gurney, dislocating one guard’s shoulder, the staff members said. The CSF members grabbed cell phones from patients and hospital staff, tore out the telephone landlines when staff tried to call the hospital’s managers, and charged into rooms searching for the alleged militants, they said.

“We were terrified,” one hospital worker told Human Rights Watch. “They were shouting and cursing at us and pointing their Kalashnikovs at anyone in their path.”

Gunmen who were linked to the alleged militants opened fire on the CSF members from outside the hospital, starting a gunfight, hospital staff said. Two days later, hospital staff showed Human Rights Watch four bullet holes in the ground-floor pharmacy, one in the intensive-care unit and several in the front of the building that they said were from the shootout.

One bullet hit Salah Ahmad Abdullah, the 16-year-old who had been selling fruit outside the hospital. Medical staff said witnesses told them that a CSF member shot the boy as he ducked between his fruit stand and a passing van to avoid the gunfire. The bullet entered Abdullah’s skull and exited the back of his head.

Two days after the shooting, Human Rights Watch saw Abdullah in intensive care at the hospital, unable to speak. Doctors said the bullet removed some of his brain tissue.

The CSF members removed one alleged militant from al-Naqib’s intensive care unit, where he was recovering from surgery after being shot in the lungs, according to two hospital staff members who said they witnessed the incident. Ignoring repeated objections from medical staff, the CSF members pulled out the two tubes draining liquid from the patient’s lungs, then removed him in a government ambulance with no medical staff aboard.

CSF and other security forces have on several occasions forcibly removed wounded alleged militants and activists, including known Herak members, from al-Naqib hospital without arrest warrants and against doctors’ orders since 2007, including at least two other times in 2012, medical staff said. In February 2011, masked security forces stormed the hospital and detained a Herak leader, Hassan Baoum, and his son Fawaz. The former Yemeni government held the two men without charge for 10 months, half of that time incommunicado.

Shootings at MSF Hospital
On September 27, security forces and gunmen trying to stop the arrests of two alleged militants undergoing medical treatment engaged in a five-hour standoff that included two protracted exchanges of gunfire at the MSF hospital in Aden, two witnesses and a third source who investigated the incident told Human Rights Watch.

The attack prompted MSF to evacuate all 24 patients and close the facility the following day. Since opening in April, the 40-bed MSF hospital had treated hundreds of patients, including Herak members, government forces, landmine victims, and residents wounded in nearby Abyan governorate, where the Yemeni government with United States support is fighting Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The security forces accused the two patients of crimes including armed robbery. One of the patients was recovering from abdominal surgery for bullet wounds and was under medical orders to remain hospitalized for at least 24 hours.

During the afternoon, personnel from the CSF, the Central Investigations Division, and General Security – the regular police force – entered the MSF hospital without arrest warrants, demanding that staff hand over one or both wounded suspects, the witnesses said. Some security force members beat and threatened two hospital guards, the witnesses said.

Around 6 p.m., another six CSF members entered the hospital to arrest the two patients, while four carloads of reinforcements waited outside. Soon after, gunmen supporting one or both alleged militants converged on the hospital and began shooting at the CSF forces that were then at the hospital door. The CSF members took cover inside the hospital and began returning fire. Three bullets entered the hospital ward and one hit the office manager’s office, the witnesses said.

“Gunfire was entering the building from two directions, and those of us inside the hospital were caught in the middle,” one witness told Human Rights Watch. “We took refuge in a corridor, hoping the bullets wouldn’t reach us.”

One CSF member was wounded during the shooting and was stabilized inside the hospital as the gunfight continued, the witnesses said.

After several hours of negotiations, the state security forces and gunmen withdrew and the Yemeni authorities removed the two wounded alleged militants. The Yemeni forces transferred the patient who had just undergone surgery by ambulance to the medical center at Aden’s General Security prison. On October 4, one week after MSF closed the hospital following the incident, CSF personnel showed up at the MSF office in Aden with the same patient, saying that his condition had deteriorated and that he needed emergency care but that no hospital would admit him.

“The security forces were asking, ‘Can’t you help him?’” a witness told Human Rights Watch. “The MSF members replied, ‘We can’t treat him because we had to close our hospital.’” Ultimately the authorities transferred the patient to another hospital.

On June 18, 2012, government security forces stormed the MSF hospital to arrest another alleged militant who was recovering from surgery for a bullet wound, prompting the hospital to suspend operations for three days. Tensions were running high because of numerous Herak protests in the preceding days and a suicide bombing in Aden earlier that day that had killed the Yemeni army commander for the southern region, Gen. Salem Ali Qatan. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for that bombing.

The security forces included CSF members, who terrified staff and patients as they demanded custody of the alleged militant, witnesses said. “They were heavily armed and acting crazed,” one witness told Human Rights Watch.

MSF eventually negotiated the transfer of the alleged militant to a state-run hospital in a government ambulance. En route, supporters of the patient ambushed the ambulance and escaped with the patient, sources told Human Rights Watch.

Displaced villagers lock Tata Kalinganagar Nagar plant gates


FRIDAY, 02 NOVEMBER 2012 18:56PNS | JAJPUR

At least 1,200 displaced villagers on Thursday forcibly locked all the three gates, including the main gate, of the Tata Steel plant at Kalinga Nagar in protest against the slipshod attitudes of the officials of the company in providing jobs and other facilities to them.

They demanded that the company implement the Odisha Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Policy, 2006 in letter and spirit and also consider youth above 18 years of age as separate families.

“As per Section-2 of the R&R Policy, an 18-year-old male member is entitled to getting separate family status. A major son irrespective of his marital status, an unmarried daughter or sister of more than 30 years of age, a physically and mentally-challenged person irrespective of age and sex, a mentally challenged person suffering from more than 40 per cent permanent disability, a minor orphan who has lost both his or her parents and a widow or a woman divorcee are considered as separate families as per the policy. But the Tata company is yet to consider 18-year-old youth as separate families; as a result many youth are not getting jobs and other benefits,” said Ramachandra Badara, a displaced tribal.

When contacted, Senior Manager of Corporate Communication of the company JK Padhi said, “984 families were displaced in 2005 for the steel plant. We provide all types of helps to them. January 1, 2005 was the cutoff date to consider any displaced person as a family by the company. After 2005, the company cannot consider any person above 18 years of age as a separate family.”

Tatas claim that they have ‘purchased’ all the Adivasis of Kalinganagar. But listen to this news. For a history of the Kalinganagar struggle please see this

 

#India – Now, a Rs 6,000-cr tribal scheme #scam in Maharashtra


Court finds prima facie evidence, asks state govt to submit all files relating to purchases

Sanjay Jog / Mumbai Nov 03, 2012, 00:07 IST,Buisness Standard

It’s a season of scams in Maharashtra. After a series of irregularities — first in the irrigation sector, then in toll recovery and construction of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, the Bombay High Court has found prima facie evidence of a “Rs 6,000-crore corruption” in purchase of materials for tribal development schemes.

Hearing a public interest suit, a division bench on Thursday observed that the irregularities happened during 2006 and 2009, when Nationalist Congress Party leader, Vijaykumar Gavit, was the minister.

The purchases under scanner were made to curb malnutrition, distribution of cows and buffaloes, supply of diesel engine and pipes, etc. The petitioner, Bahiram Popatrao Motiram, a tribal from Nashik district, has pleaded for constitution of a special team to probe the multi-crore scam. The state government, besides seven others, is the lead respondent.

ANOTHER SCANDAL?
  • Maharashtra tribal development dept has special budget of Rs 4,000 cr for fy13
  • Benefits don’t reach to genuine beneficiaries due to alleged unholy nexus among politicians, officers 
  • Malnutrition continues to grow among tribal infested districts despite slew of welfare schemes
  • Government now wakes up to refute court’s corruption observations

The court has also directed the state government to immediately submit to the registrar general the necessary files pertaining to various purchases made by the tribal development department and its undertakings. The court rejected the government’s plea for giving time to copy those files.

The petitioner alleged the tribal development department, on the last day of March 2006, procured liquid protein without following the procurement procedure or floating tenders. Also, the liquid protein bottles were not distributed, though the amount was disbursed. Further, the department sanctioned and disbursed Rs 6.30 crore on March 31, 2006, for supply of mats to Ashram School students. The petitioner said the record had been created by authorities for the supply of mats. Against the price of Rs 200-300 per mat in the open market, Rs 1,930 per mat was quoted.

There has also been an alleged corruption in the distribution of cows and buffaloes to tribals, besides many other cases like fraud in the supply of diesel engines to farmers in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

The court’s observations come at a time when Gavit is busy campaigning for civic elections in his home district. He took some time out of the election process and told Business Standard: “There is no corruption. The purchases are sanctioned by a committee comprising seven or more IAS officers. The Central Bureau of Investigation has inquired into the case and closed it.”

Gavit’s successor and the current tribal development minister, Babanrao Pachpute, said he had convened a meeting with senior officials comprising state chief secretary, law secretary and tribal development secretary on Saturday to chart the future course of action. He, too, ruled out any corruption.

HIV and the Law-Risks, Rights & Health


Thursday, 25 October 2012, IFHHRO

Earlier this year, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law published a report presenting the available evidence on human rights and legal issues relating to HIV: HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health.

The Global Commission on HIV and the Law consisted of fourteen individuals who advocate on issues of HIV, public health, law and development. Some of the Commission’s findings include:

  • 123 countries have legislation to outlaw discrimination based on HIV, and 112 legally protect at least some populations based on their vulnerability to HIV. However, these laws are often ignored or badly enforced.
  • In over 60 countries it is a crime to expose another person to HIV or to transmit it, especially through sex. At least 600 individuals living with HIV in 24 countries have been convicted under HIV-specific or general criminal laws.
  • In many countries, the law dehumanises many of those at highest risk for HIV: sex workers, transgender people, men who have sex with men (MSM), people who use drugs, prisoners and migrants. Rather than providing protection, the law renders these “key populations” all the more vulnerable to HIV. The criminalisation of sex work, drug use and harm reduction measures create climates in which civilian and police violence is rife and legal redress for victims impossible.
  • 78 countries make same-sex activity a criminal offence, with penalties ranging from whipping to execution.
  • A growing body of international trade law and the over-reach of intellectual property (IP) protections are impeding the production and distribution of low-cost generic drugs. IP protection is supposed to provide an incentive for innovation but experience has shown that the current laws are failing to promote innovation that serves the medical needs of the poor. The fallout from these regulations—in particular the TRIPS framework—has exposed the central role of excessive IP protections in exacerbating the lack of access to HIV treatment and other essential medicines.

Reason for hope

Notwithstanding these problems, the Commission has found reason for hope: “There are instances where legal and justice systems have played constructive roles in responding to HIV, by respecting, protecting and fulfi lling human rights. To some such an approach may seem a paradox—the AIDS paradox. But compelling evidence shows that it is the way to reduce the toll of HIV.” Examples given are police cooperation with community workers who assist sex workers; the promotion of harm reduction programmes for injecting drug users; effective legal aid for people living with HIV; and court actions and legislative initiatives promoting the rights of sexual minorities, women and young people. Despite international pressures to prioritise trade over public health, some governments
and civil society groups are using the law to ensure access to affordable medicines, while exploring new incentives for medical research and development.

The report is available in English, Spanish,French and Russian.

Download HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health

 

Orissa imposes penalty on ‘errant miners’



Debabrata Mohanty : New Delhi, Fri Nov 02 2012, 00:35 hrs

After Karnataka and Goa, Orissa has emerged as the third state to crack down on alleged cases of mining irregularities. With the MB Shah Commission now looking into multi-crore mining scam in the state, the Orissa steel and mines department has slapped a penalty of Rs 23,904 crore on 27 miners in just one mining circle of the mineral-rich Keonjhar district for extraction of ore beyond the permissible limits.

Among those who have been slapped with the penalty notices are Tata Steel, Aditya Birla-owned Essel Mining and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation.

The deputy director of Joda mining circle, Ballabh Nayak said the Tata Steel is the biggest violator among all leaseholders and has been asked to pay Rs 6,265 crore. Others who have been charged are Essel Mining (Rs 4,530 crore), RP Sao (Rs 3,872 crore), Sarada Mines (Rs 2,845 crore), KJS Ahluwalia (Rs 2,022 crore), Serajuddin & Co (Rs 1,983 crore).

The penalty would be recovered within 30 days of the notice issued by the mines department. The companies would also have to pay simple interest at the rate of 24 per cent per annum on the sum towards the price until they fully pay the price of the minerals. Officials said after Joda, such penalty amounts would be raised in other mining circles of the state.

There was no reaction from any of the leaseholders about the penalities imposed on them, but a senior mines department official said the order would “not be tenable”. “It would be challenged in court as previously such orders have not passed muster,” he said.

After being accused of “inaction” for last 3 years after the mining scam broke way back in 2009, the steel and mines department in July this year had first issued notices to 190 companies, seeking the value of the ore extracted over and above the permissible limit.

 

Goa Illegal Mining Battle now in Supreme Court


Panaji, Nov 3 (IANS): Away from the mining dust-lined bowels of the Goan hinterland, the fight against mining will now be fought in the stately interiors of the Supreme Court of India. This is a battle that promises to be gritty.

Nearly a month after imposing a month-long ban on mining in Goa, the Supreme Court Friday began to hear arguments that will go towards deciding the fate of mining in Goa, which has been beset with controversy for the last few years.

The ban on mining in the state followed a petition by civil society activist Prashant Bhushan and Claude Alvares, who runs the Goa Foundation, an NGO that focusses on environmental issues.

The petitioners said that a sympathetic administration was allowing illegal mining to continue, despite the fact that a judicial commission headed by former Supreme Court judge M.B. Shah had nailed a Rs.35,000 crore scam in Goa.

“The failure of the state to control illegal mining has led to large-scale destruction of both forest and non-forest land and as such has adversely affected the livelihood of local people, especially the rural poor,” the petition said.

The mining lobby, represented by the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), is also in the process of filing an intervention petition before the Supreme Court.

Shivanand Salgaocar, a leading mining operator and president of the GMOEA, claims that they have been wrongly painted as “villains” in the illegal mining saga.

“Each passing day, more and more missiles are fired at us. So it is imperative that we offer clarification of the notional loss of Rs.35,000 crore to the state government that has been attributed to us by the Shah Commission,” said Salgaocar, whose mining company has also been indicted in the Shah Commission report for encroaching on government property.

With the ban on mining stretching over a month now, employees of mining companies have also decided to take matters to the apex court seeking nationalisation of Goa’s mining industry.

The newly formed Goa Mining Labour Workers Union (GMLWU) has also filed an intervention petition “seeking an order from the court to direct the state government to take over the mines and form a government-operated corporation to run the same”.

“These scams are a result of corporate greed. The Goa government should be made to form a corporation which will run the mines. This will give job security to the workers, who are at present in suspense over the future of their employment,” union general secretary Christopher Fonseca said.

The Bharatiya Janata party-led government, which has been accused by the opposition and anti-mining activists of being close to the mining lobby, is also expected to file an affidavit in court seeking early resumption of legal mining in the state.

“Legal mining should not be hampered. Let the culprits responsible for illegal mining be investigated and punished. But those who have been working legally should be allowed to carry on with their activity,” a senior official said, even as the Shah Commission report said that nearly all mines in Goa were operating without the necessary permission and clearances.

Meanwhile, a central empowered committee (CEC) appointed by the Supreme Court to probe illegal mining in Goa returned to Delhi Tuesday after a three-day field trip here.

The CEC had been mandated by the apex court in October to probe evidence related to illegal mining in Goa for a month before submitting a report.