French lensman finds his photo on Delhi Commission for Women ads, sends notice


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‘The woman in the photograph may initiate separate action if she gets to know that her picture is being used this way’

Nandini Thilak , IE

A French photographer has served a legal notice to the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), for allegedly using an image clicked by him without his consent. The photographer has alleged that the DCW used the copyrighted picture on billboards advertising its rape victim’s cell. He has demanded Rs 50 lakh as damages.

Paris-based photographer Christophe Viseux has claimed that he was driving through Delhi in February this year when he noticed several posters bearing the copyrighted photograph on billboards put up the by the DCW, encouraging rape victims to use its helpline.

Viseux said he clicked the photograph of a partially veiled woman during a trip to Jaisalmer in January 2011 and had uploaded it on his blog. His lawyer said the picture may have been picked up from his blog and reproduced in the DCW advertisement. The respondents listed in the notice are the DCW, the National Commission for Women and the Delhi government.

Viseux’s lawyer, Dushyant Kumar Mahant said his client was awaiting response from those concerned before taking legal action.

“My client found this picture flashed all over Delhi in billboards. While I am representing him as his copyright and moral right to the picture has been infringed, the woman in the photograph may initiate separate action if she gets to know that her picture is being used this way,” Mahant said.

The notice has asked for a response within two weeks and has also asked for a full disclosure of the use of the picture.

In addition to paying Rs 50 lakh for copyright violation, Viseux has demanded that Rs 20 lakh be deposited with an Indian NGO of his choice, which works for women’s rights.

“The original picture was taken in January near Jaisalmer. (This is) just really unfair, especially coming from the government,” Viseux said.

Acknowledging the receipt of the legal notice from Viseux on Friday, the Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Barkha Singh said the commission had contacted its advertising agency for an explanation.

“We received the notice on Friday, and we have called the agency which made the advertisements,” Singh said.

“We are preparing a reply after receiving the notice. The responsibility in the case lies with the agency. We called for designs from a DAVP-approved agency (Directorate of Audio and Visual Publicity, under the Government of India Ministry of Information and Technology) and bought one from the designs submitted,” said Promila Mitra, Deputy Secretary, DCW.

 

Immediate Release – MONOGRAPH on UID @Nov28 #Delhi


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are most cordially invited to a meeting sponsored by ‘Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties’, ‘Grahak Shakti’, ‘The Fifth estate Trust’ and ‘Youth Against Corruption’ to release a Monograph on UID , on Nov 28th , at 2 PM at Indian Women’s Press Corps premises – 5, Windsor Place, Ashoka Road, New Delhi 110001.

We believe that the people of this country should know the truth about UID, masquerading under the brand name, “Aadhaar”. The deceit in promoting UID as a pro-poor initiative needs to be exposed.

The Monograph brings out startling revelations about UIDAI and its foreign contractors, which are hitherto hidden from, and hence unknown to, the people of India. Its purpose is to shine a torch into the dark secrets of the UID scheme, reveal facts so far hidden from the people, seek an investigation and call for an immediate halt to this nefarious scheme.

The issues raised in the Monograph are backed by solid documentary evidence. The evidence is made available in the Monograph. They are sufficient to warrant a further probe.

We hope that this would open the eyes of all nationalists, among elected representatives, government functionaries, media, politicians, political parties, civil activists and most importantly, all people who love their country.

Gopal Krishna, Somasekhar, V.K, Mathew Thomas and Sunil Bansal

RSVP: +919818089660; +9194498366360; +919880000401

Fact Finding-Killing of civilians at Bhaliaguda in Odisha


23-11-2012, Press Release

 

Following media reports of an encounter between the police and Maoists in Gajapathi district of Odisha on November 14 leading to the death of 5 Maoists, a team of the Human Rights Forum (HRF) enquired into the matter.

The team, consisting of HRF general secretary VS Krishna and writer and social activist Deba Ranjan Sarangi visited the villages of four of the deceased on November 21 and spoke with their relatives and the local people.  The names of those killed in the firing by the police are: (1) Aiba Padra (35) of Bujuli village in Gadhapur panchayat. (II) Shyamson Majhi (50) of Bhingiriguda in Saramuli panchayat. (III) Ghasiram Bagsingh (33) of Mardhipanka village, Saramuli panchayat and Sanathan Mallick (27) of Gaheju village in Hatimunda panchayat. All four villages are located in Daringabadi block of Kandhamal district and fall in the jurisdiction of the Brahmanigaon police station. For reasons of time we could not visit the village of the 5th deceased Laxmi Kanta Nayak which is Lujuramunda in Bahadasahi panchayat of block Bastingia in the limits of Tikabali police station. However, we spoke with his relatives and wife Basanthi over the phone.

On the basis of our enquiries we state emphatically that all five of the deceased are not armed Maoist cadre but civilians. They did not die in an encounter but were murdered by the police. The version of the police that a combing party of the Special Operations Group and District Voluntary Force were fired upon on the forenoon of November 14 by Maoists in the Bhaliaguda forest area of Gobindapur panchayat (on the Gajapati-Ganjam border) in the jurisdiction of the Mohana police station following which they returned the fire in self-defence resulting in the death of 5 Maoists is nothing but a blatant falsehood.

All five killed were civilians and unarmed. They were farmers who were leading completely over-ground lives. While three of them, Aiba Padra, Shyamson Majhi and Sanatan Mallick were adivasis of the Kondh tribe, Ghasiram Bagsingh and Laxmi Kanta Nayak were Scheduled Castes belonging to the Pano community. Interestingly, three of them, Ghasiram Bhagsingh, Shyamson Majhi and Aiba Padra were also social activists.

Aiba Padra of Bujuli (located at about 2 km up a mountain) had some land on which he raised ginger and turmeric. His wife Ranjita is an anganwadi worker in the village and they have a 6 year old son who studies at the Good Shepherd School in Brahmanigaon. Aiba was employed with an NGO Orissa Health and Medical Research Institute for which he was filling in details of the government’s socio-economic and caste census. He was, according to residents of the village, quite concerned about the development of the area and took an active part in persuading his maternal uncle Lukosuna Majhi, a BJD functionary and that party’s contestant for the 2009 Assembly polls from G Udayagiri, to get a road laid to Bujuli. According to Ranjita, Aiba was driving her and their son on his motorbike from Brahmanigaon on November 12 when he said that there was some work he had to attend on and would be back the next day. He dropped them off enroute Bujuli and that was the last she saw him alive. She heard the news of his death from some residents of the village who had gone to Brahmanigaon to collect their pension.

Shyamson Majhi of Bhingiriguda was a much respected man. He was president, since 2004, of a local committee formed by the people and was quite active in issues like exposing panchayat raj corruption and laying of roads to remote villages. He had unsuccessfully contested for the Saramuli sarpanch’s post in 2006. He, along with several other activists, had met the Revenue Divisional Commissioner of southern region at Berhampur recently seeking electricity for his and other villages. Shyamson was also trying to get an NGO in the area to facilitate a potable drinking water scheme for Bhingiriguda.

Along with Ghasiram Bagsingh, (one of the others killed in the bogus encounter) Shyamson took active part in the anti-corruption movement in the panchayat that focused upon, among other things, the siphoning of rice meant for relief for the 2008 Khandamal riot-hit. The Saramuli sarpanch Kamala Patmajhi and her husband Karma Patmajhi and their associates were responsible for diverting a substantial part of the rice and were thus profiting. Because of the sustained movement this year against them, the sarpanch was arrested and remanded to judicial custody for about 2 weeks.

On November 13, Shyamson asked his brother Judhistir, a government teacher, for his motorcycle saying he had to go to Daringabadi to seek legal help for 11 of their associates who were being implicated in a false case by Karma Patmajhi and their associates. That was the last his wife Sikko Alu Majhi saw him. The couple have two sons, one of who is mentally challenged. They learnt of Shyamson’s death on the 15th of November from relatives.

Ghasiram Bagsingh (33) of Mardhipanka was by all accounts an exceptionally dynamic activist. He was elected panchayat samiti member in the 2006 polls and was quite well known in the area. Apart from some farming, he also did small construction contracts. He was the leader of the anti-corruption crusade in the panchayat that resulted in the sarpanch getting arrested. He, along with people like Shyamson Majhi took out an impressive rally at Daringabadi on October 12 seeking action against not just the sarpanch but all those who were involved in the rice misappropriation and other illegalities. Videos of this rally are available with shots of the Block Development Officer and tehsildar also who the agitationists petitioned on the occasion. Ghasiram was driving the bike with Shyamson pillion riding on November 13th when they left for Daringabadi. This is the last seen of both of them alive.

Ghasiram was the virtual head of the family after his father passed away in 1998. He took care of his 5 sisters and a brother. Ghasiram’s wife Laxmi is left with four children, two boys and two girls. His entire family and village residents are devastated.

Sanatan Mallick (28) of Gaheju was a farmer who raised ginger and paddy. He was also a pastor his village church. He and his wife Mamita, an anganwadi helper, also ran a small kirana shop in the village. They have two daughters. According to the village residents, he was a good man and of a helpful nature. He would often speak in terms of doing the right thing. The last time Mamita saw him alive was on November 13th when he left home in the morning saying he would return the next day.

While we could not visit Lujuramunda, the native village of Laxmi Kanta Nayak (38), we could gather some information over the phone. He and Basanti, his wife, have 2 daughters and a son. Nayak was a marginal farmer and wage labourer as well. He had left the village along with his cousin Junes Digal on November 13 for Daringabadi. They went to invite Digal’s uncle for a domestic function related to the recent birth of Digal’s second daughter. They even called up a relative Amit saying that they had finished inviting the uncle and would be back in the village. When they failed to return on the 14th, their relatives made enquiries in Daringabadi but to no avail. They learnt the next day that Nayak was no more.

In fact, we were told by several people that Junes Digal survived the firing by the police after which he was taken into their custody. The police kept him confined in illegal custody for almost a week and acknowledged his arrest only on November 20. Two more persons Samsan Mallick(25) of Dahugram and Arun Sunamajhi (22) of Goudugram, coming under Bahmanigaon police station, were produced before the court by the police on 22nd November after family members of both moved habeas corpus in Odisha High Court. They had gone missing after the Bhaliaguda encounter.

The insensitivity of the administration is evident in the fact that not a single one of the families was even informed about the deaths. It was only friends or relatives that gave them the news and they all rushed to the MKCG at Berhampur to pick up the bodies.

We reiterate that the five deceased are unarmed civilians and not underground functionaries of the Maoists as is being made out by the police. This fact can easily be verified from a visit to their villages. None of the 5 had any cases registered against them and they were all leading law-abiding lives.

There was no exchange of fire on the forenoon of November 14 but only unilateral firing by the police. The police, as is their wont, continue to assert that these 5 were armed Maoists who fired upon them thereby necessitating return fire in self-defence resulting in the deaths. This is a standard concoction of the police to explain away extra-judicial killings. After registering a case under section 307 of the IPC (relating to attempt to murder) against the deceased, the police seek to close the case. To allow this to happen would be plain mockery of the law.

A mandatory magisterial enquiry will no doubt be done by the administration but that is no substitute for criminal prosecution of those who perpetrated these killings. The law and the Constitution of India will not have it any other way. We demand that:

1.     The police officers/personnel who participated in the Bhaliaguda killings of November 14, 2012 must be charged under Section 302 of IPC relating to murder as well as other relevant provisions of the penal code and prosecuted.

2.     The investigation in the case must be done by the CBI or a criminal investigation team under the aegis of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

3.     Compensation of not less than Rs 10 lakh must be handed over without delay to the family members of all five killed.

4.     The government must seriously implement protective legislation for adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers in the 5thSchedule areas of the State.

5.     The State and Central governments must desist from treating the Maoist movement as an outbreak of mere criminality. They must acknowledge that the movement has roots in material deprivation, un-freedom and social oppression. The ongoing policy of brutal suppression must be stopped and that movement addressed politically.

 

VS Krishna                                                                            Deba Ranjan Sarangi

(General Secretary, HRF)                                              (Writer and Social Activist)

 

A Family’s Fight for Freedom-Lawyers Move to Block RFID Expulsion


 

Preliminary Injunction Sought in School RFID Tracking Badge Case

Melissa Melton
Infowars.com
November 20, 2012

Related: Student Expelled for Refusing Location Tracking RFID Badge

A Texas school district has come under legal fire after a student was expelled for failure to comply with the “School Locator Project,” an RFID chip tracking program currently being piloted in a San Antonio middle and high school.
Letter from John Jay High School withdrawing Andrea Hernandez for not submitting to the RFID tracking ID badges.

John Jay High School sophomore Andrea Hernandez was involuntarily withdrawn after protesting her school’s tracking badge policy for months. When appeals to respect her rights were repeatedly ignored, the family decided to fight back, seeking legal council.

In a just-released statement, civil liberties organization The Rutherford Institute, which represents the Hernandez family, has announced it will immediately seek a preliminary injunctionagainst the district to prevent Andrea from being moved to another school.

Under the “Smart ID” program, all 4,200 students are forced to wear an ID badge with an RFID tracking chip in it at all times to attend school. Due to her persistent refusal, the school’s administration finally offered Andrea a deal; she would comply with the project by wearing a program badge with the chip removed.

Not wanting to endorse the program in any way, Andrea refused. On November 13, the school sent Andrea’s father a letter expelling her because “all students are expected to comply with the Smart ID policy.”

This case is quickly setting a precedent that students can be kicked out of school for not complying with programs they feel violate their rights.

“I feel it is an invasion of my religious beliefs, I feel that it’s the implementation of the Mark of the Beast, I feel that it’s an invasion of my privacy and an invasion of all my rights as a citizen,” Andrea said at a school RFID protest shown in an Infowars report below.

“What we’re teaching kids is that they live in a total surveillance state and if they do not comply, they will be punished,” John Whitehead, constitutional attorney and Rutherford founder said in a telephone interview with Infowars. “There has to be a point at which schools have to show valid reasons why they’re doing this.”

On the district’s Student Locator Project website, it notes that “Northside ISD is harnessing the power of radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to make schools safer, know where our students are while at school, increase revenues, and provide a general purpose ‘smart’ ID card.” Although the district will pay $500,000 up front for the program, is expects to garner $1.7 million from the state government in increased attendance funds.

The district’s website also confirms the “smart” student ID cards are just the newest edition to the school’s surveillance grid. A letter to parents regarding the Smart ID project’s implementation mentions that digital cameras have been installed in all high and middle schools and all school buses. Whitehead noted that the schools have already been fitted with 290 surveillance cameras.

In addition, according to the district, the Smart ID will “provide access to the library and cafeteria” and “allow for the purchase of tickets to the schools’ extracurricular activities,” meaning students who refuse to comply with the program will not be allowed to access those facilities and activities. The school also makes the ambiguous statement, “Other uses [for the Smart IDs] will be rolled out during the pilot program.”

As Infowars previously pointed out, in addition to a vast privacy encroachment, the Hernandez’s feel the program is a direct violation of their Christian religious beliefs, as it bears a striking resemblance to Revelations 13: 16-18 warning of the Mark of the Beast:

“16. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17. and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or[a] the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” (New King James Version)

The Student Locator Card program is set to expand to all 112 schools in the San Antonio Northside Independent School District.

A student’s rights should not end simply because they set foot on school property. This big brother takeover in our schools is an alarming trend, as it would appear schools are attempting to condition the youngest members of our society to accept government intrusion into – and control over – their lives.

“Regimes are formulated in the schools. Every dictator – every regime-changer – has always implemented a dictatorship in the schools first,” Whitehead said. “The ramifications are really ominous: if you grow up in that environment all your life, it’s normal to you. We’re moving into a total compliance society

 

Shehla Masood murder case: Photographer deposes before CBI court


Nov 26, 2012, Firstpost


Indore
: A photographer, who had taken the photos at the murder spot of RTI activist Shehla Masood, today deposed before the Special CBI court here and was cross examined by defence counsels in the case.

Photographer S C Sharma, who accompanied the forensic science experts after Shehla was allegedly murdered outside her house in Bhopal on August 16, 2011, appeared before the Special CBI Court of Justice Anupam Srivastava.

During cross examination by defence counsel A J Bhojwani, Sharma told the court that while taking pictures, the bullet could not be spotted from outside.

Shehla Masood. Pic courtesy IBNLive.

The witness also showed the court 22 pictures that he took with a camera using a “roll” (not digital camera).

While being cross examined by defence counsel Sunil Srivastava, Sharma admitted that he had not entered the log book of his visit to the site, nor signed anywhere in the official register. Prints were made out of the negative film and were handed over to the competent authority, the photographer told the court.

Later, defence lawyer Sunil Srivastava told reporters that the photos were taken “illegally” by not observing official norms.

“The prosecution witness could not reply from where he brought the camera and roll. The film was developed either in an outside studio or private institution,” Srivastava alleged. The trial will now continue on December 13.

Zahida Pervez, an interior designer, has been named as the prime accused in the case by CBI along with four others.

Other accused are Zahida’s friend Saba Farooqui, and alleged shooters Irfan Ali, Tabish Khan, and Saquib Ali alias danger.

All the five charged with murder and criminal conspiracy were present in the court today.

Shehla was shot dead outside her house in Bhopal’s Koh-e-Fiza locality on August 16, 2011.

 

India–Caste control & FDI


The opening of the retail market for foreign entrepreneurs has invited sharp reactions from several quarters.

The main argument against it is that the livelihood of millions of small shop owners would be seriously affected as they would be handled by global marketing giants like Walmart and Tesco.

According to the opponents of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, the small marketing sector will be devastated and this would lead to massive unemployment and hunger.

And the supporters of FDI argue that the inflow of foreign funds would create a lot more jobs and the small shops would suffer only marginally.

I, for one, welcome FDI in retail even if it would disrupt the chain of small shops as that is appreciable from the point of view of the likely social change it will bring about.

Certain systems are so well-entrenched in this country that a serious shake-up is long overdue.

For one, if we look at the caste-wise presen­ce of people in the groce­ry (kirana) shop system that is spread over villages and urban areas, the locally entrenched baniyas and marwadis control the major chunk of the grocery business. In these shops, as a rule, they do not employ those from the lower strata of society.

Even in urban areas, when they need someone to supplement the role of their family members, caste comes into play.

They make sure dalits are kept out. The OBCs do have some space in the baniyas’ scheme of things, though this business is mostly run by family and clan members. They are, I noticed, casteists to the core.

One major character of the Indian retail market was or still is that it historically practised untou­chability vis-a-vis da­l­its.

The shudras, though not untouchables, were not supposed to engage in the retail business of essential food items in ancient and medieval times.

Even now, this rule applies to dalits. If a dalit opened a retail shop in a village, those from the higher castes would not buy things from the shop.

From village upwards, the baniyas (komatis and marwadis in An­dh­ra Pradesh) have, over generations, established their hegemony.

Rice, pulses, oil, turmeric and even salt were considered Hindu items and only a baniya was ex­pected to sell them in the village settings.

Meat, fish, ropes and other thi­n­gs were considered “un-Hindu” and were ne­ver sold in these sho­ps. Leather goods were completely banned and were sold by those cast­es and communities that manufactured them.

The fact remains that at the production level, even the Hindu goods, as raw materials, were/are produced by shudras and dalits only. Even at the milling and grinding level, they were/are at work.

But, once they reach the baniya shops as finished products, these commodities become untouchable for the communities that produced them.

In a baniya shop, these articles are considered spiritually pure but once sold to shudras and dalits, the same articles become impure.

This vicious cycle continues. In the process, the shop owners become kuberas (rich). As a result, a huge amount of black money gets accumulated and in many cases they bury that we­a­lth underground, whi­ch historically was kno­wn as guptdhan.

This process un­der­cut the growth of in­di­genous industrial de­velopment, in as far as that this buried wealth was not being re-invested.

The wholesale busine­ss of groceries used to take place mostly from urban settings and it us­ed to be completely un­der the control of bani­yas.

Till we attained In­dependence, the right to do business in retail and wholesale market was vested on the basis of the Varnadharma ideology.

The entry of Muslim tra­ders changed the caste-based trade relationshi­ps in some urban centr­es, as the Muslim tra­ders were not concerned about the caste or religious background of buyers and se­llers. But their influence on the Indian retail market was limited.

The baniya businessmen and Bri­tish officials colluded to sustain the Hindu market and tried to checkmate the expansion of Muslim trade in the co­u­ntry during the colonial period. However, it was the Muslim traders who initiated the process of decasteising market relations.

That process, however, was slowed do­­wn during the colonial and nationalist pe­r­i­ods. Indian nationali­sm did not play a very positive role in this respect.

In Independent India, market relations have substantially expanded. But the caste controls of markets survived dramatically.

The emergent capitalist growth also shared its bed very well with the modern mode of Varnadharma.

The emergence of Mahatma Gandhi, with an anti-industrialisation theory, saw to it that varna relations did not face odds in the market.

For, if the baniyas lost their control on the markets, they would have become unemployed and looked for different ways and means of survival.

But the Gandhian nationalism protected them with a shield of Varnadharma in the market. Though his emergence as an unchallenged leader created tension between brahmins and baniyas, that was overcome very soon. Between them, they accommodated and adjusted well.

Till the liberalisation process began in 1991, the Indian retail market was choked by caste controls and a lack of liberal creativity in the business structures themselves.

Hopefully, if the FDI in retail liberalises the caste-controlled ma­r­ket, a new relationship would begin to unfold in the Indian market system.

It is important that foreign investors res­pect the social diversity principle in the retail market and employ SC, ST, OBCs too in their chain of shops at least up to 50 per cent. That will create a business-experienced human resource base among these communities.

If the FDI system has to survive, it is imperative that a lot more money flows into the hands of the toiling masses. So that they too can become buyers in these shops.

The system of money transfer and MGNREGA resources, coupled with the new-found jobs in the market, might hopefully revolutionise their lives. In the process, if a few baniyas see their own exit from the market, that does not matter. Let the FDI come.

The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

 

Man killed after exposing khaps on TV, wife fears she will be killed #SatyamevJayate #AamirKhan #Honorkilling


S Raju, Hindustan Times and Dainik Bhaskar, CNNIBN
Meerut, November 26, 2012

Casual labourer Abdul Hakim, 29, who exposed the ugly face of khap panchayats against lovers in Aamir Khan’s TV show Satyamev Jayate earlier this year was eliminated in full public glare in his remote native village Adoli in western UP’s Bulandshahar districton Thursday. HT learnt on  Sunday that five armed men shot Hakim dead in full public view when he was on his way to the village doctor’s clinic to get medicines for his pregnant wife, Mehawish, 25.

 Speaking to CNN-IBN, she also said that she feared for her life. “They have killed my husband, they will kill me now. I am 9 months pregnant. My husband would have been alive if police protection was provided,” the woman, Mehwish, said.

Aamir Khan, the host of popular television series Satyamev Jayate that was aired every Sunday at 11am on Star Plus, was shocked to hear the news about the killing of Abdul Hakim, a participant in the talk show.

On June 3, 2012 Aamir tried to question the means of the Khap panchayat and the ways in which they try to discourage love marriages in the same gotra. Honour killing was one of the salient features of this discussion. And it was the example of Abdul Hakim and his wife Mehawish who had eloped from Merut to get married in November 2010 that was brought forward.

On November 22, almost five months after that episode was aired, the 28-year-old Hakim was shot dead in Bulandshahr. On hearing this, Aamir said, “Will speak to the government authorities in UP (Uttar Pradesh) to help and ensure the family is safe. The culprits must be brought to the book. The case is registered on the basis of right facts.”

Abdul’s wife said, “They have killed my husband, they will kill me now. I am nine months pregnant. My husband would have been alive if police protection was provided.”

According to Abdul’s brother, the assailants shot Hakim in full view of the public. But the police officials are of the opinion that he was killed as a result of some personal feud.

We hope the family gets speedy justice.

“They ambushed him outside the clinic and pumped several bullets into him,” said the victim’s elder brother Yusuf Hakim.

Abdul and Mehawish eloped in November 2010 and got married in Meerut before moving to Delhi. A panchayat decreed death for the couple and terrorised Abdul’s family as a result of which young family members left the village, sources said.

Actor Aamir Khan expressed grief over the killing of Abdul Hakim, the casual labourer who exposed the Khap panchayat on the TV show ‘Satyamev Jayate’.
On June 3, 2012 Aamir tried to question the means of the Khap panchayat and the ways in which they try to discourage love marriages in the same gotra. Honour killing was one of the salient features of this discussion. And it was the example of Abdul Hakim and his wife Mehawish who had eloped from Meerut to get married in November 2010 that was brought forward.

On November 22, almost five months after that episode was aired, the 28-year-old Hakim was shot dead in Bulandshahr. On hearing this, Aamir said, “Will speak to the government authorities in UP (Uttar Pradesh) to help and ensure the family is safe. The culprits must be brought to the book. The case is registered on the basis of right facts.”

Abdul’s wife said, “They have killed my husband, they will kill me now. I am nine months pregnant. My husband would have been alive if police protection was provided.”

According to Abdul’s brother, the assailants shot Hakim in full view of the public. But the police officials are of the opinion that he was killed as a result of some personal feud.

We hope the family gets speedy justice.

Terming the incident as unfortunate, Aamir Khan said, “Will speak to the government authorities in UP to help and ensure the family is safe. The culprits must be brought to the book. The case is registered on the basis of right facts.”
Hakim was killed in cold blood in full public view on Thursday.
According to media reports, five armed men shot Hakim when he was going to the village doctor’s clinic to get medicines for his pregnant wife, Mehawish.
Talking to the media, Hakim’s brother said the assailants pumped several bullets into him.
However, the police claimed that it was not a case of honour killing as none of the accused named in the FIR by the deceased’s brother was from Mahvish side.
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Poor UID enrolments have authorities tweaking targets


By , TNN | Nov 25, 2012, 05.54 AM IST

PUNE: The city administration is a hopeful body. When it launched its second phase for Aadharenrolments in July this year, it hoped that 80 % of the city residents would register for the ambitious scheme by December. A month away from the deadline it had set for itself, officials did a quick reality check and brought down the registrationtarget to 60 %. However, even now less than 50 % of the city’s residents have registered for Aadhar even as those who did register last year await their unique identification numbers.In fact, a recent report on registrations indicates that enrolments haven’t picked momentum even in the cantonments, municipal councils and rural parts of Pune district. Only 54 % registrations have been completed in municipal areas and 30% in cantonments and the 13 talukas that fall under Pune district. The district’s overall scorecard on enrolments thus paints a grim picture__ a good 65 % of Pune district’s citizens are not yet registered.

Authorities blame dearth of centres, trained manpower as well as citizen apathy towards the project in general as the key reason for poor enrolments. District collector Vikas Deshmukh, who is now taking steps to expedite registrations said that as many as 200 additional centers will be set up and 200 additional machines installed in the city and rural parts in the near future. “As per the plan, 80 % UID registrations were expected to be done by December 2011, which is now a difficult target. However, we are now planning to touch a 60% mark by December. Arrangements are being made for this. The locations for the new centres have been identified,” he said

 

Bal Thackeray ruled Mumbai like no other, he also divided the city like no other


AMIT HARALKAR
King Toon Thackeray ruled Mumbai like no other. He also divided the city like no other.
OUTLOOK MAGAZINE | DEC 03, 2012
Tooth And Claw
Whoever Thackeray or the Sena clawed, bled, be they south Indians, north Indians, Leftists, Dalits, artists and Muslims
Prachi Pinglay-Plumber

The cover of Bal Keshav Thackeray’s book of cartoons, Fatkare (literally ‘strokes’ but could mean whacks too!), has a tiger paw tearing up a bloody red background. A telling image if there ever was one. Whoever he or the Shiv Sena clawed, bled. Even before the Sena was launched, he had made his politics clear—rule of law was secondary to the notion of fighting for the pride of the Bhoomiputra (sons of the soil). The Sena has targeted south Indians, north Indians, Leftists, Dalits, artists and Muslims in different—and at times simultaneous—phases in the past 45 years. In each campaign, they also managed to marginalise a section of the victims, and make a lasting impact on Mumbai’s very nature. Interviews by Prachi Pinglay-Plumber.

South Indians

K.K. Ganapathy had a leather business in the 1960s. The retired businessman was a victim of  the Sena’s ’60s anti-Madrasi campaign.

“They attacked me, ripped off my dhoti…it was part of the  ‘bhagao lungi’ campaign.”

K.K. Ganapathy, 85

I had briefly known Thackeray when he was with the Free Press Journal. He was an ordinary man then. But I lost touch with him after that. I had even attended some of his speeches. He was very dogged on the issue of Marathi pride and Maharashtrians. Later on, people told him about how south Indians were occupying important positions in P&T, banking, BARC etc. Which is when he started his campaigns against us. They didn’t factor in the fact that the south Indians were getting these jobs because they were well educated. Anyway, once I was walking to the Portuguese church in Dadar when some Sena activists attacked me and ripped off my dhoti. At the time they were running a campaign against south Indians wearing lungis/mundus.  (The Sena had launched a vicious campaign, “Bajao pungi, bhagao lungi”, basically targeting Tamilians, Malayalis and the Shetty community running the Udupi restaurants in Bombay.) A friend staying with me who didn’t know Marathi was also attacked near my residence in Worli. He wanted to file a police complaint, but I told him there was no point.

My next encounter with the Sena was in the late 1960s when I had started a leather business with an office at Nana Chowk. I had kept a north Indian as our office peon. A few days later, some Sena workers came and threatened me, asking why I was not employing Marathis. I told them my peon was a hard worker, and it wasn’t about where he was from. They asked me to keep two of their people. I tried to argue but eventually relented and kept one of them. He used to ask for increments every two months and even threatened me as well. Later, others from the party came around and threatened that they would shut down my office.

Eventually, I wrote a letter to Balasaheb explaining the situation to him. I asked that he stop his men from attacking and threatening me. I don’t know whether it was because of the letter but after a few days I got a call from some Sena people and they said they would not bother me anymore.


Muslims

Tariq Wagle, 62, and Farooq Mapkar, 46, victims of the 1992-93 Bombay riots

“My 17-year-old son was shot dead. I don’t know how I should feel about Thackeray’s death.”

Tariq Wagle, 62

My son was shot at point blank range by a policeman during the riots. He was just 17 years old. It’s too painful to talk about it. Even the Srikrishna Commission recommended investigation in the incident against the policemen. Since then, I don’t know how many complaints and reports I have filed to anyone and everyone who could help. We have been complaining but so far nothing has happened. What if the cases don’t stand in court? End of the day, all this will be of any consequence only if the courts uphold it. What is the use of me narrating it before you? I am 62 now. But we are still trying. My wife is also with me in this. I don’t know how I feel about Thackeray’s death. I know one thing—that I will fight for justice for my son till I can. How can I give up? I can’t, I won’t.

Farooq Mapkar, 46

During the riots, we saw the police firing at Hari masjid. I was shot at too. People were inside the masjid when the police fired at Muslims and even arrested some (including me). When they were carrying me to the police station, the Sainiks were standing around abusing us. At the Srikrishna Commission, MLAs had given statements indicting Thackeray, saying he had called them and ordered them to get Muslims killed. Later on, even the Mahanagar newspaper office was attacked. But nothing came of those depositions and submissions. He was never tried. No one was punished. My grievance is that the government helped them. It’s this ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’ thing. Although the Sena influence is waning, the government always takes them along because they don’t want trouble.


Dalits
Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson was a first-hand witness to many Dalit-Shiv Sena clashes in ’70s-80s

“The Sena-Dalit Panthers fights were very violent.”

Prakash Ambedkar, 58

Bal Thackeray opposed different people and communities at different stages—starting with writer and activist Acharya Atre (he drew a cartoon of a pig and called it Atre). That antagonism remained his plank till the end. In the 1970s, the fight was between the Dalit Panthers and Shiv Sena on issues like reservations and the atrocities on Dalits. In the early 1970s, incidents like Bhagwat Jadhav’s death, the Worli riots etc had a major impact on the city. The fights were violent with people using knives, stones etc. Thackeray openly said that Dalit houses should be burnt down. But one must understand that they were supported by the Congress. They took a stand that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s book, Riddles in Hinduism, should not be published. It was a bad struggle and finally we had to reach some compromise. Mumbai was tense for almost four months and I met Thackeray during those days. We told him we have to end this; otherwise it would go out of control from our side. There was a risk of uncontrolled violence and thousands would have died. Chhagan Bhujbal was the main troublemaker. I don’t believe Thackeray left behind any legacy. He was always pro-capitalist. What did he do for the Marathi people when the Sena controlled the bmc? Contracts were always given to non-Marathis. In this country, the Hindutva vote will always count for something. The pseudo-Hindutva followers, unsure about themselves and feeling threatened by the other, will always support his sort of politics. Thackeray flourished because of this mentality.


Trade Unions
Former trade union member Bajaj was in the front row as the Sena railroaded the labour movement

“I remember getting beaten up by them, but it was still us who landed up in jail.”

K.L. Bajaj, 75

Frankly, when Thackeray started out, we never thought he would become so big. Most of the unions were left-oriented and each union had a four-tier democratic set-up. We used to get workers’ demands sorted through negotiations, strikes and talks. All that changed after the Shiv Sena came on the scene. Before Thackeray, there had been a Borkardada, who had tried to break the unions but he did not succeed. So we assumed it was just another one of those blackleg attempts. However, Thackeray came up with something no one had imagined before—the concept of the ‘Marathi Manoos’. He attracted the lower classes, uniting large sections of the Marathis, for he spoke their language, even had their mannerisms. Unemployment levels were anyway high, and the disgruntled youth joined Thackeray in droves. (The high class, upper-caste Marathi people anyway had their own allegiances.)

It was also a bad time for industries. If a worker loses confidence in the strike, then it is easy to break him or draw him to the other side. That is what the Shiv Sena succeeding in doing. But of the 2,75,000 people who lost their jobs when the factories shut down, 95 per cent were Marathi. What did the Sena do for them? And every time our workers lost jobs owing to the strikes, Sena men would be hired in their place. They were not good workers like ours, but they had the support of the managements.

Often, when we would be protesting or striking, the Shiv Sena men would come in vehicles, followed by a police vehicle, and disrupt the strike. I remember getting beaten up by them, but it was still us who ended up in jail. Often, we were detained randomly. As it is, the Communists were looked upon with suspicion those days, for it was after 1962, when we had lost the war against China. We were in jail for 2-4 months but the Sena workers always got away scot-free. The fights were always very violent, but that was how things were at that time.

Things changed for the worse after union leader and CPI MLA Krishna Desai’s murder. I knew him personally, he had a huge following. However, nothing came of the case, though the people who were arrested were said to be Sainiks. People think Balasaheb did all this single-handedly, which is not true. The party had the support of the state administration, police, the Congress party and the goondas. The managements provided money for the party activities. In fact, I remember him telling the workers, “Tata, Birla hamare anna data hai,” which proves that he was never once opposed to the management.

I agree that he caught the imagination of the Marathi people, that he came to be their representative but what did his campaign or party achieve? From thousands of mills and factories, now Mumbai has a handful of factories that employ some 1,000-plus workers. How did that help anyone?


Bhaiyyas
A north Indian bhelpuri seller, Manoj was a victim of Sena breakaway MNS’s goons

“I can still feel the shame and sting of that slap. Sometimes I think about it, and I feel humiliated.”

Manoj, 45

If the attack on us bhaiyyas happens again, I am prepared. I will not run away from this city but I will also not be foolish enough not to hide. Last time, when the MNS decided to attack north Indians, I was out in the streets. I thought they wouldn’t attack me. I was in Borivili going towards my usual spot on the main road to set up my stall. Suddenly out of nowhere a big group of men arrived, asked me what I was doing there. One of them asked me, “You don’t know you are not supposed to be here? Aren’t you a bhaiyya?” Even before he had finished speaking, another man slapped me. I can still feel the sting of that slap. Sometimes when I think about it, I still feel humiliated. But I try not to think about it. The past few years have been peaceful and I don’t think a thing like that can happen again. I just put my head down and do my work. There’s no point trying to prove anything. We have to feed our families. My parents, children, siblings are all dependent on me. There isn’t enough work back home to feed everyone. My brother has gone to Fatehpur (UP). He was beaten up twice during his stay here. He got scared and ran away. I told him that things would change in some time. But the second time he was beaten up even after paying protection money by boys from the same outfit. Once that happened, he was convinced nothing could save him. He took a train back home. There were no tickets available, yet he boarded one and went back for good. He’s scared of Mumbai and says he never coming back.

A lot of people I know went back home during that time. In Borivili, there were many from my state who pay money to the MNS to allow them to continue working in Mumbai. The whole air had been poisoned. There’s fear and it’s made us watchful and wary. I will not trust anything I am told here ever again. Last week, when Balasaheb passed away, I stayed at home. So did most of my friends. It’s better to be careful.


Lest We Forget
The violent legacy of Thackeray that neither the crowds nor the TV adulation can hide

  • October 30, 1966 Thackeray’s first Dusshera rally. A mob leaves the rally later to attack and burn south Indian shops and restaurants. The rally was also addressed by Congress leader Ramrao Adik. Attacks on south Indians were with the backing of CM Vasantrao Naik.
  • Mumbai 1968 Hindi films brought out by south Indian producers are stopped by Thackeray’s Shiv Sainiks.
  • February 1969 Thackeray unleashes his goons against Kannadigas. 59 dead, 274 wounded, 151 cops injured in week of riots.
  • June 6, 1970 CPI MLA and trade unionist Krishna Desai murdered in first political assassination in the city since 1947.
  • January 1974 Dalit Panther leader Bhagwat Jadhav brutally killed by Thackeray’s men, sparks off war with Dalits.
  • 1975-76 Thackeray shocks colleagues, praises Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency. By 1977, changes tack.
  • Jan 1982 Thackeray supports Congress in Great Textile Strike. Breaks ties under duress, goes back three years later.
  • From 1984 Shiv Sena carries out attacks on Dalit farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada, destroying crops, burning huts.
  • 1985 Thackeray calls for expulsion of ‘outsiders’, proposes 1972 as cut-off date for having moved to Maharashtra.
  • 1985 Cong CM Vasantdada Patil connives to help Shiv Sena win BMC polls with ‘Bombay part of Maharashtra’ issue.
  • March 1988 The wonderful “saviour of Sikhs” Thackeray calls for a boycott of Sikh businesses in Maharashtra.
  • 1988 Thackeray’s ‘boycott of Sikhs businesses’ idea is quietly abandoned after extorting crores from Sikhs in Mumbai.
  • Post 1989 + Mandal riots Thackeray finds a more convenient target for his political purposes: Indian Muslims.
  • October 1991 Thackeray’s thugs attack journalists, fracturing one woman’s (Manimala) skull with a crowbar.
  • 1991 Thackeray takes it one step further, threatens a local judge who had ruled against his goons with blinding.
  • 1991 Thackeray’s Dopahar ka Saamna editorial very sweetly compares women journalists to prostitutes.
  • 1995 Thackeray: “If they have their Dawood, then we have our Arun Gawli.” Because all politicos need a personal mafia.
  • July 1996 The Ramesh Kini murder after long term intimidation. SS-BJP state govt tries to bury investigation.
  • 1997 Kini’s wife accuses Raj Thackeray of his murder. HC asked CBI to investigate but Mumbai police destroys evidence.
  • July 11, 1997 Ten Dalits are killed and over 30 wounded at the Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar massacre. None were armed.
  • Republic Day, 1997 Two adivasi youths murdered. Adivasi women sexually assaulted by police and SS workers at Talasari.
  • Late 1990s SS-BJP goverment summarily withdraws over 1,100 cases of atrocities against Dalits in Marathwada.

Gujarat’s Dalits: Nobody’s babies even in election time


Last Updated: Saturday, November 24, 2012, 14:00, zeenews

 

Ahmedabad: As the poll battle intensifies in Gujarat, the tussle is on for support of the Dalit community, perceived to have moved from the Congress to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but neglected by both with discrimination continuing as it has for decades.

 

“The Narendra Modi government has not implemented any schemes for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes (SC) like educational scholarships, employment schemes, financial aid and reservation at the promotional level,” said social activist Father William.

 

“Atrocities against Dalits are still rife in Gujarat. According to a survey by Dalit NGO Navsarjan Trust, untouchability still exists as does manual scavenging,” he told a news agency.

 

The Congress, trying desperately to wrest control of Gujarat after having lost two successive elections, says the BJP regime has been anti-Dalit but admits that it has done little to win the Dalits, who form seven to eight percent of the state’s 60 million population.

 

“Modi’s rule and before that Keshubhai’s ((Keshubhai Patel’s) government have been anti-Dalit,” said Ishwar Makwana, president of the Congress’ SC Morcha.

 

What about his own party?

 

“I agree that in recent years, the Congress has drifted away from Dalits.

But we are rectifying that,” said Makwana.

 

The BJP of course rejects the allegations.

“The Modi regime cares for Dalits. We have provided the community with reservations in jobs, loans, assistance in businesses and justice from atrocities,” Jivraj Chauhan, president of the Gujarat BJP’s SC wing, told a news agency.

 

As the election fever catches on – polls for the 182-member assembly are due on Dec 13 and 17 – the parties would do well not to neglect the Dalit vote, say analysts.

 

“The Dalit vote, though small, is significant. Dalits can influence the outcome of the elections in seven-eight constituencies. Also, 13 constituencies are reserved for the Scheduled Castes,” Manu H Makwana, head of the sociology department in Ahmedabad’s Gujarat University told a news agency.

 

Dalits in Gujarat are divided into four major subcastes: Vankars, Chamars, Garodas, and Valmikis. Gujarati Dalits are found in both the Hindu and Christian communities.

 

Dalits in the state have been traditional Congress supporters since Gujarat was formed in 1960. In the 1970s and 1980s, the community was part of Congress’ ‘KHAM’ (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslim) formula.

 

But with the rise of the BJP and the polarising work of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, many Dalits turned to the right. Indeed, Sangh outfits have often been accused in the past of brainwashing young Dalits and provoking them to attack Muslims in many riots, including that of 2002.

 

The results seem to prove that the Dalits have embraced the Hindu right. In 2007, just two of the 13 reserved seats went to the Congress with the BJP taking the rest. In the 2009 general elections, both the reserved seats (Kutch and Ahmedabad) went to the BJP.

 

Dalit activists and intellectuals bemoan the turn to the right by some sections of the community.

“The new generation of Dalits in most urban areas of the state have not seen the terrible sufferings borne by previous generations, especially in the rural areas. They are loyal to the BJP as they see the party as a stepping stone to political power,” said Makwana.

 

“Modi has only favoured landlords and big business. He has done nothing for the socio-economic uplift of Dalits,” he added.

 

According to a Dalit government official, Dalits who vote for the BJP “do not know history.”

 

“In 1981 and 1985, when there were strident anti-reservation campaigns in Gujarat, it was the BJP’s predecessor, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, that had taken a lead in supporting these campaigns,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

 

The problem is that the Dalit community does not have too many options other than the BJP and the Congress.

 

The Republican Party of India does have some presence in Gujarat as does the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Lok Janshakti Party. But, as a Dalit activist pointed out, they don’t have grassroots support.

 

“Plus, the Gujarat BSP and LJP are led by a Brahmin and a Gurjar respectively. Why will Dalits vote for them?” he asked.

 

The next government must implement various schemes for the SC, offer protection from atrocities and remove untouchability, community leaders say.

 

Can the Congress and the BJP make up for lost time and focus on the community’s needs, for votes if nothing else?