#India- Haryana Horror- Minor alleges gang rape by 12 men #Vaw #WTFnews


Minor alleges rape by 12 men in Haryana

Published: Sunday, Nov 4, 2012, 23:08 IST
Place: Chandigarh | Agency: IANS

A teenaged girl from Karnal district in Haryana has alleged that she was raped by 12 men, police said on Sunday. An accused known to her was arrested.

The 16-year-old victim, who belongs to Tarwari area, was rescued by railway police personnel from the Karnal railway station, where she had been dumped by one of her tormentors.

She underwent a medical examination, police said.

The girl told police that she was taken by a man, who was her friend and had promised to marry her. She alleged that later, 11 other men came and raped her Friday and Saturday.

Police officials in Karnal, 130 km from here, said that the main accused, who was a friend of the victim, had been arrested.

Police sources said that most of the other accused had also been detained.

Haryana has seen a spurt in rape cases, especially against minor and Dalit girls, since September this year.

 

Bangladesh freedom fighter says war crimes trial will set an example for world


Dhaka , Sun, 04 Nov 2012ANI

Dhaka, Nov.4 (ANI): Bangladeshi freedom fighter and chairman of the country’s University Grants Commission A. K. Azad Chowdhury has said that the successful holding of the war crimes trial in his country would set an example for the rest of world.

War crimes tribunal, which was set in 2010, requires wrapping up investigations of all those who were accused, as the government aims to finish their trials before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s five-year term ends. She took charge of office in early 2009.

A former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh‘s biggest Islamic political party and the country’s top Islamist leader, Golan Azam, is on trial for helping the Pakistani army during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence when the then East Pakistan broke away to form Bangladesh.

Jamaat -e-Islami and its close ally the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party allege that the tribunal hearing the case takes orders from the government.

While talking reporters in Dhaka, the former freedom fighter stressed that holding of trial in a proper manner will project Bangladesh with a positive image.

“Why not there should be a justified trial to strengthen and bolster the human values, and give a teaching and lesson to the world that nobody can get away doing this sort of genocide and criminal activity and war crimes? This is more needed for the civilisation to uphold this sort of trial. It is not only Bangladesh’s cause, definitely Bangladesh has sore point in its heart,” said Chowdhury.

Chowdhury also added that the implementation of justice in this case will deter other tyrants in the world and will put an end to such acts of crime against humanity in future.

“The world at large should and will appreciate in such a manner that no other evil force in the world wherever it is will venture to commit crimes against humanity, to commit war crime. We are living in a civilised society though there are hotspots in the world. But systematic genocide and killing and such incidents are few and far behind. If this trial is properly done that will work as a deterrent to any other people who are conspiring or will be conspiring to commit genocide,” he said.

Chowdhury said that if anybody would try to defend the alleged war criminals, it would put the entire genocide undercover.

“This sort of trial should not prolong that much. Some people are bringing about all those defence with the objective to delay the whole process. This is in another word denial of the war crime trial. I expect the process will be expedited for the sake of humanity, for the sake of Bengali nation, for the sake of mankind,” he said.

Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, gained independence with India’s help in December 1971, following a nine-month war against Pakistan. Around 3 million people were killed.

The Islamist groups in Bangladesh want to scrap “secularism” as a state principle in the Muslim-majority country.

Jamaat-e-Islami opposed Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan and fought with the Pakistan army.

They were allegedly involved in war crimes and have thousands of militant followers, including in the Defence forces, analysts say.

Dozens of other Jamaat leaders including its chief Moulana Motiur Rahman Nizami and secretary-general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid are already in prison accused of war crimes.

A court in Bangladesh charged prominent opposition politician Moulana Delwar Hossain Sayedi with war crimes in the country’s 1971 war of independence.

Court officials said Sayedi was the first to be formally charged with war crimes, and others would be charged soon. (ANI)

Bachchu Razakar goes on trial
Sun, Nov 4th, 2012 7:18 pm BdST
Dhaka, Nov 4 (bdnews24.com)—The second war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh on Sunday ordered the start of the trial against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abul Kalam Azad, better known as ‘Bachchu Razakar’, on eight charges of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation Warin 1971.The three-judge International Crimes Tribunal–2 led by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir framed charges against Azad and set Nov 14 for witness deposition to start.

The court also threw away a plea by Azad’s counsels seeking his acquittal.

The prosecution on Sept 2 had submitted former charges linking him to crimes against humanity including genocide, murder, rape, arson, loot, abduction, deportation and persecution.

Prosecutor Shahidur Rahman had said the Pakistan Army entered Faridpur on Apr 21, 1971. On that day, Azad along with the Pakistan troops murdered eight people at Faridpur’s well-known Jagatbandhu Ashram and later killed Kolaron village Zamindar (landlord) Sudhanshu Mohon Roy and his son Monimoy Roy, he added.

‘Bachchu Razakar’ is said to have been an accomplice of Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed in Faridpur district during the war.

He was a member of Jamaat’s student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha when he was a student of Rajendra College in Faridpur in 1971.

After Mar 25, 1971, Azad formed a group of his own which committed crimes against humanity in different places in Faridpur during the war.

The ICT-2 on Sept 9 accepted charges and ordered his arrest and production by Sept 23.

The arrest warrant for him was issued in April, police failed to find him after raids on his office and residence. He is believed to have fled to Pakistan.

The tribunal on Oct 7 decided to continue trial in Azad’s absentia as he did not turn up even after public notice was issued for his appearance.

bdnews24.com/eh/shs/bd/1900h

 

#India-Stories of survival from Kudankulam, Vilappilsala


STAFF REPORTER, Nov 4, 2012, The Hindu

The Young Women’s Christian Association hall (YWCA) here, on Saturday, rang with passionate voices of solidarity and an undaunted spirit of protest as women involved in agitations against the concrete manifestations of ‘development’ in Kudankulam and Vilappilsala gathered for a day of sharing their ‘Stories of Survival.’

With the tagline ‘Kudankulam muthal Vilappilsala verae,’ the programme was led by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Focussing on a woman’s perspective, the programme highlighted the travails of those who lived in the troubled zones.

Support sought

Speakers during the session stressed that women, being the most victimised, needed to pledge support for each other, irrespective of the specific cause. As Sugathakumari, poet, said, “The men may be silent, but the lakhs of women in Kerala need to at least speak against the situation at Kudankulam.”

“The Union government, people’s representatives, business and industrial leaders do not seem to understand what a flawed definition of development they are following. Or they pretend not to,” Ms. Sugathakumari said.

She criticised the responses of political representatives and scientists who have said that the nuclear power plant at Kudankulam will function safely.

“Only God can tell when the system will fail. How can we predict natural catastrophes? There is also such a thing as man-made error. How can we completely rule out the possibility of something like this happening?” she said.

Touching upon various projects in the State itself that threatened the existence of paddy fields, she said even if complete self-sufficiency could not be attained, there must be an attempt to produce essential commodities required by our people.

Jameela Prakasam, MLA, who was present, lauded the strength of the women to carry on their protests. Organisers said that more such meetings, involving various women’s rights and environmental organisations, would be held.

Poster exhibition

A poster exhibition was held as part of the function, along with the screening of a recently released documentary ‘Daughters of the Sea – Voices from Kudankulam.’

The session began with a demonstration led by six women who came from Kudankulam and five, including Vilapilsala panchayat president, Shobana Kumari, from Vilappilsala. Nearly 150 women participated in the march from the YWCA till the Secretariat.

Keywords: YWCAKudankulamVilappilsala

 

UN wants prostitution decriminalized to help curb spread of HIV #sexwork


October 23rd, 2012 | News | 


By Gian C. Geronimo/GMANEWS - If the United Nations will have its way, soliciting sex or paying for it in the Asia and the Pacific region will no longer risk imprisonment.

In a recent report, the UN recommended the decriminalization of the world’s oldest profession to help curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV.

“Removing legal penalties for sex work assists HIV prevention and treatment programmes to reach sex workers and their clients,” the UN said in its report titled “Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific.”

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, known to condemn prostitution, cannot be reached for comment on the subject, as the organization’s secretariat said the bishops authorized to talk about the issue are out of town on official business. But at least one bishop has blamed prostitution for the spread of HIV and has urged a crackdown on the illicit livelihood.

The UN report makes the opposite argument. By legalizing prostitution, the government can make sex work safer, extend health services to sex workers and thus slow the spread of the virus.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said in a briefing Friday that it will leave the issue of legalization of sex work to the country’s legislators.

“We have no comment. We would rather leave it to our legislators,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte at a press briefing.

But Valte stressed that Philippine laws make prostitution in any form illegal. “Primarily, that’s illegal. Under our present laws that’s illegal which is why the LGUs are also in charge of cracking down and making sure that hindi lang doon sa establishments but rather people who traffic [are also apprehended].”

Susceptibility to HIV

The UN said the criminalization of sex-related jobs increases workers’ susceptibility to HIV by “fuelling stigma and discrimination, limiting access to sexual health services, condoms and harm reduction services; and adversely affecting the self esteem of sex workers and their ability to make informed choices about their health.”

The recommendation is also a move to stop the exploitation of sex workers and to give them basic rights by suggesting that their jobs, too, should have typical workplace standards in line with the law and government.

Decriminalization enables sex workers to organize within their communities and register their organizations, obtain identification documents so that they can fully access services and entitlements, engage in advocacy and respond to the health and safety needs of their peers,” the UN said.

The UN noted that, with the exception of New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia, all countries in Asia and the Pacific criminalize sex work or associated activities.

In the Philippines, for one, sex work and soliciting sex work are illegal, as well as the establishment of brothels.

According to the Revised Penal Code, vagrancy is an offense, with the code defining prostitutes as vagrants. Sex workers caught may be fined up to six months in prison under the code’s vagrancy provision.

Valte said the government is continuously fighting prostitution and trafficking in the Philippines. “It is a point of concern which is why the IACAT (Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking) continues to work on improving ‘yung mga conviction when it comes to trafficking in persons. We continue to work with—or the member-agencies in ensuring na nababawasan at mawawala po ‘yung mga ganitong kaso.”

Condoms

The UN study said in the Philippines, despite the government’s support for efforts to promote condom use among sex workers, many people in the sex industry still steer clear of condoms for fear that it may be used by the police as evidence against them once they are arrested.

The UN report referenced a 2003 study that found that many street-based sex workers refused free condoms offered by outreach workers because of the police issue.

“Police impeded their access to HIV prevention services by confiscating condoms, using possession of condoms as evidence of sex work, or arresting them for vagrancy,” the UN report said.

Ways to decriminalize sex work

The UN listed ways to decriminalize sex work.

“To enable the sex industry to be regulated as a legitimate form of work requires removal of the range of laws that criminalize activities associated with sex work, including removal of offences relating to soliciting, living on the earnings of sex work, procuring, pimping, the management and operation of brothels, and advertising,” it said.

Its report also debunked claims that countries in Asia and the Pacific where sex work is illegal have low HIV rates and prevented the epidemic to spread among sex workers and their clients.

In fact, the study said evidence suggests areas that decriminalized sex work have “very high” condom use rates and increased access to sexual health services. —

with Patricia Denise Chiu/KBK/RSJ/HS, GMA News

What the Bible Says About #Rape #Gender #Vaw


Christians of many stripes are scrambling to distance themselves and their religion from Republican comments about rape. But a literal interpretation of the Bible is quite disturbing.
November 1, 2012  |

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (left) and U.S. Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock greet supporters at a campaign event at Stepto’s Bar B Q Shack on August 4 in Evansville, Indiana.

Christians of many stripes are scrambling to distance themselves, their religion, or their God from Republican comments about rape. The latest furor is about Washington State congressional candidate John Koster, who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest and added for good measure that “incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare.”  Before that, it was Indiana candidate Richard Mourdock, who said, “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen” backed up by Texas senator John Cornyn insisting that “life is a gift from God.” These men share the January sentiment of Rick Santorum:  “the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.”

Those Christians who see the Bible as a human, historical document have the right to distance themselves. Those who see the Bible as the unique and perfect revelation of the Divine, essentially dictated by God to the writers, do not. The fact is, the perspective that God intends rape babies and that such pregnancies should be allowed to run their course is perfectly biblical.

I am not going to argue here that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. It doesn’t. The Bible writers had no concept of conception, and no Bible writer values the life of a fetus on par with the life of an infant or an older child. One does say that God knows us while we are developing in the womb, but another says he knows us even before. Levitical law prescribes a fine for a man who accidentally triggers a miscarriage. It is not the same as the penalty for manslaughter. Therapeutic abortion is never mentioned, nor is the status of the fetus that spontaneously aborts. Under Jewish law, a newborn isn’t circumcised and blessed until he is eight days old, having clearly survived the high mortality peri-natal period. For centuries the Catholic Church believed that “ensoulment” occurred and a fetus became a person at the time of quickening or first movement, sometime during the second trimester.

However, if we take the viewpoint of biblical literalists and treat the Good Book as if it were authored by a single perfect, unchanging Deity, then a man is on solid ground thinking that rape babies are part of God’s intentions. Consider the following Bible teachings:

The Bible never teaches that women should have a choice about sex. The Bible makes a clear distinction between forcible stranger rape and other forms of nonconsensual sex, condemning the former while sanctioning the latter in many, many circumstances. The fact that conservative Christians – or politicians who are pandering to a Conservative Christian base–keep fumbling with these distinctions is no accident. According to the commands of Yahweh, a man can give his daughters in marriage, keep concubines, have sex with his wife’s servants, or claim a desirable war captive as his own sexual property after a series of rituals to purify her. In no case, including in the New Testament, is the woman’s consent required for sexual contact.

Male female relationships in the Bible are determined by a property ethic. The punishments for rape have to do not with compassion or trauma to the woman herself but with honor, tribal purity, and a sense that a used woman is damaged goods. A woman herself may be killed for voluntarily giving up her purity. A rapist can be forced, essentially, to buy her. In the Ten Commandments, the prohibition against coveting a neighbor’s wife is part of a broader prohibition against coveting property that belongs to another man: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17NIV).

God’s purpose for women in the Bible is childbearing. Martin Luther, who brought us the concept of “sola scritura” meaning Christianity based solely on the authority of the Bible, had this to say: “Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear and bring up children. If a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing; she is there to do it.”  He drew his scripturally informed opinion from the biblical record broadly but most specifically from the words of Paul’s letter to Timothy: “Women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (1 Tm. 2:15).

Virtually all Bible books, like almost all Hollywood movies fail to pass the Bechdel Test (Are there two named female characters who talk with each other about anything other than men?). In the Bible, as in Hollywood, women exist largely as props in plotlines about male protagonists. Biblical plotlines are even more homogenous than Hollywood, however, in that the vast preponderance of females exist simply for the purpose of producing male offspring. It all starts with Eve, who, after she defies Yahweh and eats from the Tree of Knowledge, is punished thus:“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). After Eve’s curse, we encounter Abraham’s wife Sarah and the slave girl Hagar who Sarah sends to “lie with” her husband when she herself cannot conceive. Then come the pathetic deflowered daughters of Lot who get him drunk and have sex with him so they can fulfill their purpose. Then come the archetypal bitch sisters Rachel and Leah who compete over Jacob’s bed and pump out the twelve tribes of Israel with the help of a few mandrake roots. The New Testament leads with the story of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist who is barren in her old age until an angel promises her the best thing that can happen to a woman. Her unborn son leaps in her womb when the pregnant Mary comes into her house, prompting one of the most repeated songs of joy in the whole Bible, the Magnificat (Luke 1:40-55). And then, of course, there is the Virgin Mary herself. They are made to do it. It is as God intended.

In the Bible, children are counted as assets belonging to men. Children, like women, in the Bible are treated primarily according to a property ethic. In the Old Testament stories of Jepthah’s daughter and the sacrifice of Isaac, scholars glimpse a residual of child sacrifice in the early Hebrew religion. This in turn leads to the New Testament notion of God giving his only begotten son as a sacrifice—all of which make sense only when we think of children as property which a father can dispose of as he pleases.  When Yahweh is pleased with men he multiplies their flocks and their offspring. When he is displeased, he may kill their firstborn sons, as he does to the Egyptians in the Moses story. When Yahweh and Satan agree to play out their cosmic competition in the life of Job, Satan tests Job’s loyalty to Yahweh by taking away is riches including his livestock, children and wives, and Yahweh later replaces them with new ones.

There is no sense, ever, in the Bible, that a woman might prefer a choice about having a child; that wise parents might think about when is best to bring another child into their family or how many children they can nurture; or even less that bringing a child into the world should be an matter of thoughtful and mutual decision making. The only Bible story in which someone declines to produce a child is the one about Onan refusing to father a son for his deceased brother. He spills his seed on the ground instead, and God kills him for it. Whether the widow wanted the seed inside her plays no part in the account whatsoever.

The Bible is loaded with divinely sanctioned rape babies. The Bible both depicts and scriptsa world in which women have no choice about who they are given to. Daughters can be given in marriage or sold outright, slaves can be sent by their mistresses to bear proxy babies, virgin war captives can be claimed as wives, widows can be forced to submit to humping by their brothers-in-law until they produce sons. Presumably any of these women can be laid at any time, at a man’s discretion, much as is the case in parts of Afghanistan or analogous Iron Age tribal cultures today. In such a world, a significant portion of babies conceived will be the product of non-consensual sex. In other words, rape.

Christians who like to retroactively sanitize the Biblical record because they insist that it is the literally perfect word of God often sanitize it quite literally. They want to think of these women as willing participants in sexual unions with benevolent, high status patriarchs. What slave girl wouldn’t want one? In reality we are talking about forced sex with primitive desert tribesmen whose cleansing rituals mostly focused on their hands and feet rather than their genitals, armpits or teeth. Airbrushing the Bible to the point that it doesn’t condone rape requires that we deny much of what we know about human history and biology.

If we are ever going to move on from Iron Age conflicts, it is imperative that people understand the Bible in its own context, not as a literally perfect prescription for how we should live today but as a record of our very imperfect ancestors struggling to live in community with each other, instinctively seeking patterns that worked within a given ecological and technological context to create a stable, functional society in which men, women, and children could thrive.

As we now know, many traditional gender scripts and sexual rules once served to ensure that men could invest their energy in their own genetic offspring. The saying, “mama’s baby, papa’s maybe” reflects the reality that humans are only partially monogamous, that both men and women have reason to cheat, and that at the level of evolutionary biology males gain advantage if they can control the sexual behavior of females in whose offspring they will then invest their time and energy. The Abrahamic virginity code, which evolved before the time of contraception and paternity tests, ensured a greater degree of confidence that men were in fact raising their own children. A woman who bled on her wedding night was unlikely to be carrying another man’s sperm or fetus or to have formed an emotional bond that would result in an ongoing extramarital liaison. By increasing male confidence that the offspring of their wives were their own, the virginity code may have increased the investment of men in pregnant women and dependent children, helping both to survive in a harsh desert environment where producing food was hard work.

The harshness of this environment and human frailty within it probably contributed to another aspect of the Mourdock mentality that so plagues many Abrahamic adherents. From the time we humans have first been able to understand our plight as suffering, mortal creatures we have struggled to transcend it. But much of life’s hardship cannot be transcended; it must simply be endured. In the time before modern science this was even more true than it is today. Consequently all of the world’s great religions cultivate acceptance or resignation as a virtue. Islam literally means submission. Buddhism centers itself on the absence of desire, on “living into” what is. Christianity teaches that God’s actions are not for us to question. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.” “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” Submit, accept, don’t question. In all cases, submission has a hierarchy: men are to submit themselves to the will of God or to the divine flow; women are to submit both to the will of God and to the will of men.

In a world where what’s done is done, accepting a rape pregnancy and falling in love with the resulting child is an unmitigated good. Seeing all pregnancy as God-intended and all childbirth as a blessing from a loving heavenly father helps to make this possible. But we live in a world where we have far more knowledge and choices than did our Iron Age ancestors. And with knowledge and choices comes responsibility. We now have the ability to stop a rape from developing into a pregnancy or an early pregnancy from developing into a person. Consequently, we also have a responsibility in this situation to activate such moral virtues ascompassionforethought, discernment, and, where appropriate, action—just as our ancestors had a moral responsibility to employ these same virtues in situations where they were equally empowered. As the popular Serenity Prayer reminds us, what we should do depends in part on what we can do: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.  As conditions change, our responsibilities change. The kind of resignation or submission that once enabled women and children to flourish may now be a barrier to flourishing; a virtue applied wrongly, out of time, can become a vice.

This is where John Koster, Richard Mourdock, Rick Santorum, anti-contraception Bishops, and so many other devout conservatives have gone wrong. They have elevated a virtue, devotion, in this case devotion to a sacred text and tradition, to the point that it appears a vice to everyone but those who are caught in their retrogressive thought spiral. The consequences are there for all to see:  Instead of pointing the way toward wisdom—humility, prudence, discernment, kindness, insight, knowledge, and effectiveness—their devotion to the traditional subjugation of woman under man under Church under God (as embodied in a Golden Calf known as the Bible), simply makes them cruel.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder ofWisdom Commons. She is the author of “Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light” and “Deas and Other Imaginings.” Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.

 

Immediate Release-Medha Patkar and Activists Detained in Chindwada, Start Satyagraha


Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Intensifies Agitation; Support Pours in From Across Country

Chindwada, November 4 : The situation in Chindwada continues to remain tense with heavy police presence deployed to intimidate the farmers, labourers and adivasis protesting illegal commencement of work on the Pench Water Diversion Project.

Medha Patkar, National Convener, NAPM who travelled from Indore and Chindwada and reached in the wee hours today was stopped and checked at virtually every station by the police and also surrounded by 50 police men at the Chindwada station, where the Tehsildar and other officials tried to restrain her from proceeding further, insisting that she must go to the Circuit House.

She was told that Sec 144 has been imposed in Chindwada and the entry of people in three tehsils of Chhindwada, Amarwada and Chouri has been prohibited from October 30th – orders have been issued. When asked for the copy of the same she was denied that. This is baseless and illegal, since on Novembr 3rdShri Sartaj Singh, Forest Minister, GoMP held a public programme distributing tendu patta bonus, same day BJP Kisan Morcha also held a convention in Chourai. At the same time Deen Dayal Antyodaya Mela was organised as well as adventure sports programme was organised too in Tamiya. “Is the Section 144 for only for activists going to Bamanwara?” asked Medha Patkar.

A huge police force has gheraoed the house of Adv. Aradhana Bhargava, leader of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, who was arrested on false charges under Sec 151 IPC on November 3rd itself and has been sent to judicial custody. Today police also arrestedBrajkishore Chaurasia, Yuva Kranti Dal and Dr. Rajkumar Sanodia of KSS.

The farmers and people are not being allowed to meet Medha Patkar and others by the police. Protesting the high handedness of the district administration Medha Patkar along with Mukesh Bagoria, Rahul Yadav of Narmada Bachao AndolanAdvocate Sushma Prajapati, Akhil Bhartiya Gondwana Kisan Mahapanchayat, National Vice President; Devaki Marawi and Rajesh Tiwari of Bargi and Bheemgarh Bandh Visthapit Sangh; Jameel Khan of KSS and other representatives of the Pench Project and Adani Power Project affected families have sat on Satyagraha, until they are allowed to proceed to the villages.

It needs to be noted that for past few days police has been spreading canards and terrorizing them too. Even then villagers have been protesting at Vamanwada, 3 kms away from Machagora and have been on a peaceful sit in. More than a thousand police men are surrounding the dharna site. The agitation will continue until the forceful and illegal eviction and acquisition of land is stopped.

NAPM has decided to extend complete support to the struggle and in absence of Dr. Sunilam and Aradhana Bhargava, (both are NAPM Conveners) Medha Patkar and others will lead the struggle in Chindwara and Multai and fight for the rights of farmers and farm workers.

Support has been pouring in from different movements across the country. Hind Mazdoor Kisan Panchayat, State Advocate D K Prajapati,Madhya Pradesh Pensioners Association, State Secretary T M R Naidu, Samta Party State President Suresh Sharma, Akhil Bhartiya Gondwana Kisan Mahapanchayat President Shri Chand Chauriya, Azadi Bachao Andolan, Chindwara J L Mishra, Ashok Choudhary and Roma from NFFPFW, Anurag Modi of Jan Sangharsh Morcha, Madhya Pradesh and others have condemned the incidence and lent their support to the movement.

Background : It needs to be noted that agitation against these two project Pench Water Diversion Project (PWDP) and Adani Pench Power Project (APPP), Chindwara has been ongoing in a peaceful manner since 2004. PWDP involves construction of a 51 meter dam on Pench river, submerging 5600 Hectares of land of 31 villages. The project planned in 80s got a one page clearance from Department of Environment in 1984 (MoEF was not there then) for irrigation purposes. The clearance is no longer valid and requires a fresh clearance under Environment Protection Act 1986 and also under EIA notifications. Acquisition process was started back then, some farmers were given throw away compensation but acquisition process was never completed since the work didn’t start. Till today farmers continue to cultivate and grow 2-3 crops in a year from the fertile land.

After the agitation, the compensation was increased to nearly a lakh rupee an acre but 90 percent of the farmers have refused to accept it and are not willing to part their land. In 2011, May Dr,. Sunilam and Adv Aradhana Bhargava were attacked by the goons which they survived but the administration failed to take any action. Many of the farmers in fact along with Aradhana Bhargava spent more than a week in jail on false charges of arson, loot and obstructing public officials.

PWDP today is to be constructed for supplying water to the APPP, diverting water meant for the farmers. Last year KSS along with NAPM met Environment Minister, Ms. Jayanti Natarajan , who informed the delegation that no clearance has been granted to the PWDP and under the law they are supposed to have prior Environment Clearance. The PWDP is going to threaten the forests of Pench National Park and Tiger Project too. So, in all senses it makes no sense to be constructing this but even then MoEF has not taken any actionMr. Kamal Nath, MP and Union Minister from Chindwara has been personally involved in ensuring that the project goes on and been supporting the APPP as well. Madhya Pradesh Government on the other hand has been in complete hand in glove with Mr. Kamal Nath. It is no wonder that Dr. Sunilam and other activists of KSS got life sentence in a case where 24 farmers were killed by police on January 12, 1998. None of the police officers have been punished till date, not a single FIR has been filed in that case. It is a clear case of conspiracy and collusion between BJP and Congress in the interest of Adani.

 

For details call NAPM : 9818905316 or 9179617513

 

Healthcare Models in the Era of Medical Neo-liberalism #mustread


A Study of Aarogyasri in Andhra Pradesh, EPW

By-N Purendra Prasad (purendra.prasad@gmail.com) teaches at the department of sociology, University of Hyderabad

and P Raghavendra (raghavendra868@gmail.com) is a research scholar in the department of sociology, University of Hyderabad.

The experiment in restructuring the healthcare sector through the Aarogyasri community health insurance
scheme in Andhra Pradesh has received wide attention across the country, prompting several states
governments to replicate this “innovative” model, especially because it supposedly generates rich electoral
dividends . However, after a critical scrutiny of this neo-liberal model of healthcare delivery, this paper
concludes that the scheme is only the construction of a new system that supplants the severely underfunded
state healthcare system. It is also a classic example of promoting the interests of the corporate health
industry through tertiary hospitals in the public and private sectors.

Medical neo-liberalism is characterised by the commodification of health that transforms individuals
from patients to consumers. Unlike patients, consumers who seek healthcare bear the responsibility for the
choices they make or fail to make regarding their health. As consumers are positioned to make choices about healthcare,
they also have the obligation to utilise products and services that are available to ensure good health or to treat illness and
disease. Fisher (2007) points out that patients as consumers have embraced the neo-liberal logic of healthcare so that they
too see illness in reductionist terms and seek pharmaceuticals as targeted magic bullets. With growth in customised products
and medical costs, access and affordability to healthcare has become a key issue across the world.
In the Indian context, the increased disease burden on the poor along with rapidly growing healthcare costs has been the
subject of debate for sometime now. Services in government healthcare institutions have declined over the past two decades
at the primary and secondary level, leaving the sick-poor with no option but seek private healthcare services. Several
studies have pointed out that rising expenditure on health and education is one of the main contributory factors to high
indebtedness and subsequent suicides among peasants in different parts of the country in the last 10 years (Sarma 2004;
Ghosh 2006).
Clearly, healthcare has assumed huge political signifi cance for the neo-liberal state with new and innovative (populist)
healthcare programmes being launched in several states in different forms. Among these, Rajiv Aarogyasri, a community
health insurance scheme introduced by the Government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) on a pilot basis in 2007 and implemented
in 2008 is being hailed by many experts as a model to be emulated – the scheme covers 6.55 crore people belonging to
183 lakh below the poverty line (BPL) families.Aarogyasri needs special attention as it is supposed to have mobilised a large number of voters for the ruling Congress Party during the 2009 assembly elections who helped it return
to power for a second term. This scheme’s popularity is so huge that several delegations from different states in India have
been regularly studying its logic in order to replicate it and reap similar political benefi ts. States such as Kerala, Tamil
Nadu (Kalaignar Scheme), Delhi (Apka Swasthya Bima Yojana), and Karnataka have already formulated a similar template
and are in the process of implementing it. The Maharashtra  government too announced the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana, a free medical care scheme for the poor in 2011, committing Rs 800 crore in the fi rst phase to benefi tnearly 50 lakh families earning below Rs 1 lakh per annum ineight districts.

A national social health insurance scheme called the Rashtriya Swashthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) waslaunched as a centrally-sponsored scheme in 2008 to cover 2.3 crore families and seven crore benefi ciaries. The AP government has already announced that Aarogyasri will soon become a  universal health scheme and cover non-BPL families as well.

Given the pre-eminence of the scheme, it is important to assess the scheme by locating it in the historical evolution of healthcare systems in India in the context of its underlying socioeconomic and political dynamics.

Read full article here

 

Pakistan’s human rights review: Internet censorship comes under scrutiny


Published: November 3, 2012

Netherlands asks Islamabad to remove restrictions on internet access. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: As part of a review of Pakistan’s human rights standing, the Netherlands has recommended that Pakistan remove restrictions on internet access.

The recommendation is part of a draft report of the UN Human Rights Council working group on the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan.

In the draft report, released on November 2, the working group has listed this demand along with 163 other recommendations on the country’s rights record.

The video sharing site, YouTube, has been suspended in Pakistan since September 17, 2012.

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf ordered the ban over a blasphemous movie trailer that incited protests around the world.

It is the fourth time the site has been banned since 2008.

Second review

Pakistan presented its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report in the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, October 30. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar defended Pakistan’s progress since the last review in 2008. The Review, created in 2006, takes place every four years and is a state-driven process.

Pakistan will have to respond to the recommendations by March 2013 at the 22nd session of the Council. The response will then be included in the outcome report adopted by the Council in that session.

“It is a great opportunity as it is now part of UN Human Rights Council’s recommendations to the government and we can continue to build pressure on the government to do better on net freedom in the country,” said Shahzad Ahmad from Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan, a human rights organisation that focuses on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for social justice and development in the country.

Ahmad presented a shadow report along with two UN accredited international NGOs, Association for Progressive Communications and Freedom House.

“This is first time ever that a shadow report on internet rights in Pakistan was submitted and a UN member state picked it up and put it as a recommendation for the government to improve internet rights in the country,” he wrote to The Express Tribune in an email from Geneva.

Internet-based human rights

Netherlands made the recommendation that Pakistan “(r)emove restrictions on accessing internet in the country, which runs counter to the criteria of the ICCPR [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights] and the principle of proportionality.”

Internet-based human right issues were not part of Pakistan’s first review in 2008. President Asif Ali Zardari signed the ICCPR in June 2010 and made Pakistan signatory to the law which commits it to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to a fair trial.

 

 

#India- Dress code: Kerala teacher can’t join work #Wtfnews #Gender


T P Nijish TNN , NOv 4, 2012

Malappuram:The Sullamussalam Oriental High School (Areekode) refused to let a teacher, who was allegedly suspended for not abiding by a dress code, to resume work on Saturday despite the district education officer (DEO) revoking her suspension.
Mathematics teacher Kollathodi Jameela, who was allegedly handed a 15-day suspension for wearing a white overcoat instead of a green one mandated by the management to avoid “students’ prying eyes”, was told that her suspension ended only on Saturday evening and, thus, she couldn’t resume working yet.
Jameela had approached the state human rights commission after she was suspended by the school management on October 20. The suspension order said Jameela refused to follow the dress code and she had been suspended on charges of “indiscipline and disobedience”. The DEO’s order, which came on Friday evening, said the management had failed to prove the charges against the teacher.

‘Green coat’ school mgmt runs for cover

T P Nijish, TNN Oct 30, 2012,
MALAPPURAM: After its decision to impose a dress code – a green overcoat – for teachers triggered a controversy, the management of Sullamussalam Oriental High School in Areekode is considering revoking its decision.

The school management has approached the teacher, who was suspended recently for not following its dress code diktats for compromise. The management has said that it is considering to introduce an overcoat in another colour, which is acceptable for all the teachers in the school.

Kerala teacher moves rights panel against ‘dress code’

Oct 24th, 20112

K Jameela, a mathematics teacher in the school was suspended on October 20 for 15 days for “grave charges of indiscipline and disobedience”. Earlier, the teacher had informed the school management that she is willing to wear an overcoat of any other colour. Though the management denied all allegations saying that the colour of the overcoat introduced in school was not green, but dark grey, the teacher had pointed out that the showcause notice issued by the management clearly mentioned that the colour of overcoat should be ‘light green‘.

However, now the management has admitted that it was a mistake on its part to mention ‘light green’ in the showcause notice and that it is ready for a compromise in order to snuff out the controversy. “We have informed Jameela about our interest in reaching a compromise,” said N V Zacharia, management committee member.

A woman teacher, who was suspended for a fortnight from an aided higher secondary school in Malappuram district for allegedly refusing to fall in line with the management’s diktat to wear a “light green” overcoat, has approached the State Human Rights Commission, seeking justice.

Authorities of Sullamssalam Oriental High School at Areekode in Malappuram in north Kerala, however, disputed the teacher’s contention that the ‘dress code’ had been enforced by them.

On the contrary, it was a collective decision of the teachers of the school, school authorities claimed.
Jameela K, a mathematics teacher, was placed under suspension for 15 days last week for turning up at the school without wearing the overcoat in the prescribed colour.

Jameela alleged that though she wore a white over-coat, the management insisted she don the “green” outfit.

According to SHRC member Prof KE Gangadharan, the Deputy Director of Education had been asked to probe the matter and submit a report.

“Let us wait for the report. If it is true that the management had enforced the dress code, that would be an infringement on individual’s freedom,” Gangadharan told PTI.

If the allegation is found true, the Government would be directed to take proper action, he said.

The management disputed Jameela’s charge holding that the colour suggested was not “green” but “asparagus”. Teachers had been given the choice to wear either a black pardha or “asparagus”, which is light green, not the deep green which is associated with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), whose nominee is the education minister.

“This is an unnecessary controversy. Some people are trying to give a political colour to the whole issue”, management sources said.

 

Maharashtra- Aadhaar Card SCAM #UID #Biometrics


KDMC ‘Corporators’ are issuing Aadhar Cards in Kalyan!

By अजिंक्य भातंब्रेकर | ajinkya.bhatambrekar@jaimaharashtranews.com | 03 Nov Sat, 2012 | Updated 4:30 pm IST

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Kalyan: Aadhar card, which is the photo identity proof of your citizenship is being made illegally in Kalyan and Dombivali. Shockingly, Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation’s (KDMC) corporators are interfering in this whole illegal process. And more shockingly, KDMC deputy commissioner agreed this fact. But he clarified that corporators doesn’t have any right or authority to give the Aadhar card to the citizens.

Our Jai Maharashtra’s reporter got the wind of this shocking matter which was being operated at Kalyan’s Beturkar Pada area. When he went there and inquired about the whole incident, some shocking revelations came out. People, who doesn’t have the adequate proofs of their residential area were being given these Aadhar Cards by merely showing the Corporators’ reference application.

About this incident, our reporter asked a question to KDMC deputy commissioner Ganesh Deshmukh. And Deshmukh agreed that this kind of incidents are happening in that area. But Deshmukh also told that, “corporators are not allowed to authorise such kind of important identity proofs without KDMC’s consent. It is totally illegal.”

That is how Jai Maharashtra revealed all these illegal wrongdoings were done by the KDMC corporators. These corporators are doing these things just to secure their vote bank, which is very sad. But something needs to be done about this as soon as possible.