#India- BSF devastated livelihood of a petty trader – #impunity


11th December 2012

 

To

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New Delhi-110001

 

Respected Sir,

 

We lodge this present complaint in the matter of the victim Mr. Abed Ali Gazi from district-North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, who is a businessman of selling eggs in different markets under Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat, a area near Indo-Bangladesh border. But recently all his business papers were forcibly taken from him by the perpetrator BSF man when he was returning home on the date of the incident. He made several attempt to get back his papers but failed. He lodged complaint before the local police station with an affirmation from the Head of the Gram Panchayat regarding the truth of the incident, but police did not take any step till date. He also sent written complaint to the IG, BSF, Kolkata but again there is no action as well as no response till date. Till date the victim did not get his documents relating to his business and at present he is jobless. He has to look after his family members but he is under insecurity considering the fact that he is deprived of his livelihood forcibly by the torturous and whimsical acts of the perpetrators. Our attached fact finding report gives details of the incident.

 

Hence we seek your urgent intervention in this matter in the following manner:-

  • ·         All the concerned authorities including Border Security Force must be directed to take immediate steps so that the victim can get back his papers relating to his busniess and restore his livelihood.
  • ·         The whole matter must be enquired into by one neutral enquiring authority.
  • ·         The perpetrator must be booked under law and punished accordingly for committing attrocity and torturous acts upon the victim.
  • ·         The victim must be provided with adequate compensation computing the days and sufferings on and from 22.9.2012 when his papers relating to his business were forcibly taken by the perpetrator.  

Thanking you

Yours truly

 

 

 

 

Kirity Roy

Secretary, MASUM

&

National Convener, PACTI  

  

 

 

 

 

Particulars of the victim:- Mr. Abed Ali Gazi, son of Safed Ali Gazi, aged about-23 years, by faith-Muslim, by occupation-at present unemployed, residing at village-Swarupdaha, Police Station-Swarupnagar, District-North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India.

 

Particulars of the perpetrators:- The involved BSF personnel of Hakimpur BSF(Border Security Force) Check Post and Mr. Akbar Khan(BSF man) of the said BSF Check Post under Police Station-Swarupnagar, District-North 24 Parganas.

 

Date & place of incident:- On 22.9.2012 at noon at Hakimpur BSF(Border Security Force) Check Post under Police Station-Swarupnagar, District-North 24 Parganas

 

Case Details:-

 

It is revealed during the fact finding that the victim is a businessman. He sells poultry-eggs in the local markets such as Bithari, Duttapara, Gunrajpur, Balti, Amudia, Nityanandakati, Tarali, Hakimpur and Swarupda markets under Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat. The victim runs his livelihood for himself and his family members by the income of the said business for last seven years and the said business is the only source of income of the victim.

 

On 22.9.2012 at noon the victim was returning after selling eggs in the local market but when he reached near to Hakimpur BSF Check Post on the way he was restrained by one BSF man namely Mr. Akbar Khan and he forcibly snatched all the papers of business from the victim without saying any reason. The said BSF man did not issue any paper regarding the seizure of the papers from the victim. The victim out of fear could not say anything at that time but two co-villagers of the victim namely Mr. Majibar Sardar and Mr. Kauchar Sardar were the eye-witnesses of the incident. Then after few days the victim went to Hakimpur BSF Check Post with Mr. Majibar Sardar and requested the said BSF man Mr. Akbar Khan to return the documents as the victim could not run his business without the said documents. But he refused to deliver the papers and on the contrary he blamed in threatening voice that those papers are fake and he would put the victim behind the bar for carrying business with fake papers. As a result the victim is yet to get back his papers relating to his business and in the absence of the papers he is not able to continue his business till date.

 

The victim finding no other way to get back his papers lodged written complaint in this matter before the Officer-in-Charge of Swarupnagar Police Station, North 24 Parganas and in the said written complaint the Prodhan (Head) of Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat and also one member of the said Gram Panchayat in writing affirmed that the complaint of the victim mentioning the incident above stated was true. But the police did not take any action till date though issued one GDE no. 1502 against the complaint of the victim. The victim also sent written complaint in this matter to the IG, BSF, Kolkata through registered post with A/D on 7.11.2012 but till date there is no response against his complaint.  

 

It is revealed during the fact finding that the victim has valid (till 31.3.2013) trade license from Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat, but due the arbitrary and torturous acts of the perpetrator BSF man, the victim is languishing in mental pain and trauma due to loss of his livelihood. The family of the victim is under complete insecurity and economic crisis.     

 

 

 

#India-Never said Gujarat safer than Maharashtra: Father of girl arrested for Facebook post


Edited by Amit Chaturvedi | Updated: December 11, 2012 , NDTV

Never said Gujarat safer than Maharashtra: Father of girl arrested for Facebook post

NagpurFarukh Dhada, father of Shaheen Dhada, the girl who was arrested last month by over her Facebook post, has spoken out against what he says is Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi‘s misrepresentation of their views on comparative law and order in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Mr Dhada says he and his family never said Gujarat was better off than Maharashtra and that the family felt perfectly safe in Palghar area of Thane where they’d lived for decades.

“We never said any such thing. We have been living in Palghar for the past 27 years and we feel safe here. We went to Gujarat for a few days to see my ailing mother-in-law. Now we are back in Palghar and there is absolutely no problem. What Mr Modi said is his personal view,” he said today.

insecure” in BJP-ruled Gujarat, Mr Modi had over the weekend quoted the example of Shaheen Dhada in an election rally saying, “She prefers to stay in Gujarat over Maharashtra. You are trying to defame the state, but girls like Shaheen have proved you wrong.”

Last month month, Shaheen Dhada and her friend Rinu Shrinivasan were arrested for questioning on Facebook the shutdown of Mumbai for the funeral of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. The women were released on bail after a few hours; they had been charged with spreading hatred under the contentious section 66(A) of the IT Act. The case against them was dropped later.

The massive public backlash against the arrests in Maharashtra forced a new scrutiny of Internet laws with the state government saying it has issued new guidelines to control the misuse of Section 66(A), which is widely criticised for its vague wording.

 

London listed mining company #Vedanta caught before the Mountain of Law


by Samarendra Das on Monday, 10 December 2012 at 21:12 ·

The activities of  Vedanta Resources, a London listed FTSE-100  mining company outside the UK have had, and continue to have, adverse impacts on the ability of Indigenous Peoples to enjoy the rights recognised in the Convention and other relevant international human rights instruments, particularly the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (endorsed by the UK in 2007). The Dongira’s rights as an Indigenous People are being violated. Any future project affecting Niyamgiri would be subject by the Lenders’ Requirement to apply the Equator Principles and the IFC performance standards. This includes PF7, which states that the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples must be obtained. The Niyamgiri Hills form a mountainous area in the Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of Orissa, in the eastern part of India. They are populated by the indigenous community of the Dongria Kond, Majhi Konds, and Jharnias who consider the Hills sacred, as their daily lives have depended on them for several centuries. In December 2008, the Indian government, more particularly its Ministry of Environment and Forests, approved a project to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri Hills. 

 

This project was proposed and will be conducted by a joint venture corporation, the South-West Orissa Bauxite Mining Corporation, involving two major corporations: Sterlite Industries India Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc with 76% shares, and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation with 24% shares. 

 

The proposed project has faced a number of human rights and environmental objections, not the least important of which relates to the exercise of the right to water.These activities have occurred in the context of a regulatory framework that fails to ensure that the rights in the Convention are respected by companies subject to the jurisdiction of the UK. 

 

These include rights:-

 

(a) to security of person;

 

(b) to health;

 

( c ) to self-determination;

 

(d)  not to be subject to destruction of culture;

 

(e ) to own, use, develop and control traditional lands (as well as lands that have been otherwise acquired);

 

(f) not to be forcibly removed from lands or territories without free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)

 

(g) and the payment of just and fair compensation;

 

(h) to conservation of the environment and the productive capacity of territories and

resources;

 

(i) to be able to participate in, develop and pass on cultural and religious customs;

 

 

(j) to participate in decision-making in matters that would affect their rights.

 

 

———————————————————————————————–

 (A)The Convention, Article 5(b); UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by UNGA Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007 (“UNDRIP”), Article 7.

 

(B) UNDRIP, Article 24(2), which refers to the right of Indigenous Peoples to equal enjoyment of “the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. See also Article 29(3). See also the 1997 General Recommendation 23 (1997 General Recommendation), paragraph 4(c).

 

 ( C ) See the 1997 General Recommendation which calls on States parties to “recognize and protect the rights of indigenous peoples to own, develop, control and use their communal lands, territories and resources”, at paragraph See also UNDRIP, Articles 3, 4 and 5.

 

(D)1997 General Recommendation, paragraph 4(a); UNDRIP, Article 8, and see also Article 31 in

relation to preservation of cultural heritage and traditional knowledge.

 

(E) UNDRIP, Article 26 and Article 32(1).

 

(F) UNDRIP, Article 10 and Article 32(2). See also Articles 25 and 26 in relation to rights of access to traditionally-owned lands. See also 1997 General Recommendation, paragraph 4(d). See also UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“CESCR”), General Comment No. 21: Right of Everyone to Take Part in Cultural Life, 21 December 2009, paragraph 37.

 

(G) UNDRIP, Article 10, 11 and 28.

 

 

(H) UNDRIP, Article 29. See also Article 20 (right to security in the enjoyment of “means of subsistence  and development”).

 

(I) CERD, Article 5(e)(vi); UNDRIP, Articles 11, 12 and 13.

 

(J)  UNDRIP, Articles 18, 19 and Article 32(2); CERD, Article 5(c) (“political rights”)

 

 

 

Ref:

——- 

 

Cernic, Jernej Letnar (2011) : Corporate obligations under the human right to water, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy › Vol. 39 Nbr. 2.

 

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2004-10-06/news/27393483_1_bauxite-lanjigarh-alumina-project

 

http://orissa.gov.in/news/archive/2004/october/191004

 

“Govt. of Orissa decided in March, 1997 to develop the bauxite

deposits in Lanjigarh and Karlapat and a MoU with Sterlite Industries Ltd.

was executed during April, 1997 by OMC. After successful negotiation with

Sterlite for setting up an integrated aluminium project consisting of 1 million

tonne Alumina & 2.2 lakh tonne of Aluminium per year, the MoU was

converted into an agreement with M/s. Vedanta Alumina Ltd ( the arm of

M/s. Sterlite Industries for bauxite / Alumina Projects ) on October 5 , 2004

for the Lanjigarh deposit after obtaining due approvals. Govt. of India has

also approved the mining lease for the Lanjigarh bauxite deposits in favour

of OMC after being fully informed of the terms and conditions of the above

agreement.”

 

 

London Metal Exchange and Maikanch martyrs, Odisha, India

 

#India-As farmers suffer, NABARD offers soft loans to corporates


NEW DELHI, December 10, 2012

Shalini Singh, The Hindu

Private companies get loans at 6.5% with additional cash refunds; for farmers it is 7%
Private companies get loans at 6.5% with additional cash refunds; for farmers it is 7%

 The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), which is dedicated to promoting rural development by providing soft loans to State governments for social sector projects, has given hundreds of crores as loans to corporates on concessional terms.

In the Union Budget of 2011-12, Rs. 18,000 crore was allocated by the Centre to NABARD’s Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF), of which Rs. 2,000 crore was exclusively earmarked for the creation of warehousing facilities. While the allocation of Rs. 16,000 crore to the States was made by NABARD’s State Projects Department, the allocation of Rs. 2,000 crore towards warehousing was entrusted to a new team set up on the recommendation of global consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), after being awarded the mandate for a repositioning exercise.

In a circular of September 27, 2011, NABARD, making a significant deviation from its earlier policies, included private entities as eligible institutions without consulting the RBI. In another circular of December 23, 2011, NABARD further revised the scheme, again without consulting the RBI, to provide private firms an interest rate rebate of 1.5%. In violation of the regulated 8% rate levied by RIDF, an avenue was created for flow of funds to corporates and release of the interest rate rebate to the borrowers directly by NABARD.

According to documents available with The Hindu, a total of Rs. 759 crore was disbursed, including as refinance at 8% to various banks to fund 516 warehouses and cold storage projects of private entities in March 16-31, 2012. Shubham Logistics Ltd, a subsidiary of the over Rs. 6,000 crore Kalpataru Group, was handpicked for a rebate of 1.5%, allowing it to access Rs. 115 crore under a government scheme at a concessional 6.5% rate of interest. Shubham Logistics would have paid a 10.5% rate of interest had the funds been sourced from the market. The company, which was disbursed a total of Rs 180.87 crore, to set up 18 warehouses, became the beneficiary of a further 15% subsidy under another government scheme, entitling the company to a refund of over Rs. 20 crore.

The two schemes that were used to favour Shubham Logistics are Grameen Bhandaran Yojana which offers subsidy of 15% to 33.33% for construction of rural godowns. For corporates the subsidy is 15% of total financial outlay up to a maximum of Rs 28.12 lakh. Under the other scheme, ‘Warehousing scheme under RIDF’, banks are offered refinance at 8% which can be further reduced to 6.5% as an incentive for prompt repayment.

Documents reveal that the RBI has questioned NABARD’s interest rate manipulations in financing warehousing projects without its permission and demanded a recall of the Rs. 759 crore allocated to private firms. Compliance with this directive means that NABARD will have to return the money to the RBI and raise debt from the market to honour its commitments. This is likely to hit NABARD’s balance sheet by roughly Rs. 150 crore. The Ministry of Agriculture has further questioned irregularities in Shubham Logistics storage projects in Deesa, Banaskantha, pointing out that the project is ineligible for sanction of the subsidy.

Meanwhile, Aditya Bafna, Executive Director of Shubham Logistics Ltd (SSLL), a subsidiary of Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd was appointed Director on the board of NABARD Consultancy Services Private Ltd (NABCONS) — a wholly owned subsidiary of NABARD — on January 15, 2010. He refused to comment on either the allegations of special favours or the conflict of interest arising from his appointment on the NABCONS Board.

NABARD’s response to a RTI query reveals that it released Rs 13.3 crore BCG for a ‘repositioning’ report that it admits has never been submitted. Sources in NABARD allege that an additional payment of Rs. 9 crore has also been released to “rollout the recommendations”. NABARD Chairman Prakash Bakshi, under whose leadership these transactions were sanctioned, did not respond to detailed questions that were emailed to him on December 3, including on the fresh release of Rs 9 crore to BCG or what hit NABARD’s balance sheet was likely to take after the repayment to RBI of the unauthorised fund transfers to corporates.

BCG’s Chairman, Asia Pacific, Janmejaya Sinha did not respond to detailed questions regarding whether the firm had any exposure to working with any developmental financial institution prior to its consulting assignment with NABARD, especially in the Asia Pacific region, the terms of reference and payment for the assignment or whether it was true that BCG was scouting for fresh business opportunities with the RBI.

 

#Vedanta ropes in IBM to enable strong business growth


The company has tied up with IBM to create a robust infrastructure for the resource planning system of its power business InformationWeek, December 11, 2012

IBM today announced that Vedanta, a global natural resources group, has tied up with IBM to create a robust infrastructure for the resource planning system of their power business. IBM has leveraged its BladeCenter and System X storage portfolio to help Vedanta enhance its overall management system and reduce costs.

Vedanta, primarily engaged in the copper, zinc, silver, aluminium, iron ore as well as power businesses, works across India, Zambia, Namibia, Africa, Liberia, Ireland and Australia, among others. The IBM implementation has been done at their center in Jharsuguda in Odisha. The solution stack offered to Vedanta in Odisha includes BladeCenter Chasis, Blade Server and Disk Storage. The solution offered by IBM is said to augment the hardware infrastructure of Vedanta, while reducing the total cost of ownership.

“We have partnered with IBM from the inception of our plant in Jharsuguda and Lanjigarh. While we have worked with other vendors, we are seeing strong benefits from working with IBM technology. This has helped us in reducing data center costs of power and server footprint, while facilitating ease of management,” said Subrata Banerjee, CIO, Vedanta Aluminum.

Given that in India, local businesses have been very keen on overhauling their traditional system to incorporate a robust IT set-up, IBM is looking to bring in world-class technology to remote regions. IBM also has a major programme of geo expansion in places across India to increase its presence in smaller, rapidly developing cities and their new office in Odisha is a part of their expansion plans.

“Odisha is an important region for IBM, and the company is focused on growing its presence in the region to help businesses transform themselves and succeed in a dynamic environment,” Vivek Malhotra, Regional Territory Executive, IBM General Business, India/ South Asia said.

 

SAD aka GOONDA DAL leaders thrash Punjab Singer for not performing at a wedding #WTFnews


Punjabi singer allegedly thrashed by supporters of Akali Dal

PIC- COURTESY ndtv

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) has been hogging the limelight for all the wrong reasons these days.

After the murder of a police officerand assault on another policeman allegedly by its members recently, the party’s leaders and their supporters thrashed a local singer at a marriage party in the state.

Punjabi singer Subhash Sharma was thrashed at the wedding of a relative of senior SAD leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia. Sharma alleged that he was beaten up by the party leaders for not performing at the function.

“There was a function of my friend who is a sitting MLA. He had organised a programme. Some people forced me to sing and when I refused I was thrashed badly. They also told me that they will see me,” Sharma alleged.

“I read in newspaper about misrule in Punjab and I confirm this today. I have not joined any political party. Earlier I was an Akali supporter, but now I don’t support it.”

“As a man and a voter I am saying that there is rowdy rule in Punjab,” he added blaming SAD for the growing incidents of violence in the state.

Earlier, a SAD activist had assaulted a constable in Gurdaspur district on December 8. The same day, nephews of an Akali leader opened fire in Muktsar district over a property dispute.

They fired several rounds at two people against whom they had a grudge.

Just a couple of days before these incidents an Akali leader had allegedly killed an assistant sub-inspector in Amritsar as the latter attempted to prevent his daughter from being harassed by the leader and his friends.

 

Goodbye Mr Thackeray, you taught me how to love


November 20, 2012 , rediff.com

‘I write this piece,’ says Javed Iqbal, ‘not just to come to terms with my childhood, but to speak about those who were once Shiv SenaImages ] loyalists, whose dreams did not die with the passing away of Bal ThackerayImages ], but were dead long before he was gone.’

It took the madness of 1992 and images of mangled corpses being brought out of buses and markets in 1993 to forever lay down memories in my mind that made me wonder as a child: Why?

It was the first memory in my life that showed me what human suffering looked like. Growing up, you can have your first kiss, your first fight, your first job, you lose your virginity, the first time you get drunk, but we never wonder when was the first time we were taught empathy.

Today, I am a journalist. I document human rights abuses in central India [ Images ] committed by the State and the Maoists, and when I am back home in MumbaiImages ], I document the demolition of slums, the demolition of the homes of those people who I was once taught to fear.

Most of the people who I work with, with whom I have developed the strongest relationships across class, religion and gender, were once Shiv Sena loyalists who, over time, I realise were the most misrepresented people in the city.

Today, I write this piece, not just to come to terms with my childhood, but to speak about their present predicament, their dreams that did not die with the passing away of Bal Thackeray, but were dead long before he was gone.

A long time ago, it took an eight-year-old child with innocence situated at a time in history when this country was losing again what it meant to be a community: The hundred rumours of police firings, burnings, stabbings, and smoke spread across the sky, Hindu neighbours who shaved their beards, Muslim neighbours who left home to live with us, ‘Don’t tell your name to any stranger’; I sat watching anxiety get cut with a knife in my living room as every story of a stabbing filtered across the lanes.

I was an introverted child, confused, and I still remember March 12, 1993, when we were sent home early from school because of the bomb blasts.

Saleem, a man from Bharatnagar in Bandra East, whose slum lost 11 people on December 7, 1992, when the police chased them back into their homes and fired at them, was the first to tell me that there were blasts across the city.

I still remember him walking up to me that day and telling me what had happened, yet I never asked him about what happened in Bharatnagar.

‘How was it that day?’ I had asked him when I was much older.

‘What time is it?’ He asked me.

‘It’s three in the afternoon.’

‘Well,’ he said nonchalantly, ‘If you were shot at three in the afternoon now, you’d only get admitted in a hospital at three in the afternoon tomorrow. That’s how big the lines were.’

After the blasts of ’93, I was looking at the photos of body parts in the newspaper. Mangled. Burnt. Dismembered. These were once human beings. I was glad nothing was censored. And today a verse written over 500 years ago by Kabir is a much closer description of what I felt when I saw it all.

‘It’s a heavy confusion.
Veda, Quran, holiness, hell, woman, man,
A clay pot shot with air and sperm….
When the pot falls apart, what do you call it?
…Numskull! You’ve missed the point.

It’s all one skin and bone, one piss and shit,
one blood, one meat.
From one drop, a universe.’

And the pots kept falling. Over the years, this city has seen enough anxiety with every unattended package left in the corner of a busy street.

And the pots kept falling. One group of fanatics wished to teach another group of fanatics a lesson. Bomb blasts in Malegaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai again and again, Delhi [ Images ], and the rampages of Gujarat, 2002. Yet are the victims fanatics?

The police firing at Vikhroli’s Ramabai Nagar on July 11, 1997, the killing of 11 Dalits, and how was it told to us in school when they asked us to go home early? ‘Some Dalits went on a rampage after they found slippers on a statue of Ambedkar.’ Rampage. The word massacre was not used when the police had gone into the slum and fired and killed innocent people. When a young boy’s head was blown apart by a .303.

1992 was just the blade that cut through that pot of my skull: My memory. And as I grew older, it all started pouring in: In 1984 the Sikh massacres, the Nellie massacre in Assam, the mass killing fields of Dalits who fought for their rights in Bihar, the Kilvenmani massacre in Tamil Nadu when 42 were burnt alive, and yes, Kashmir [ Images ] through the decades, to today, where my own work took me from village after village, massacre after massacre in Dantewada, committed by our own security forces and the Maoists as well.

I had to imagine India, this subcontinent, to look at her, to love her through the looking glass of atrocities and massacres. Indian democracy is hot metal searing through the burning flesh of resistance. Indian democracy is machine-gunned silence.

Civilisation is repression. Civilisation is a boot crushing dissent, a status quo on the neck of a hungry man who asked why.

Indian democracy is the extra-judicial killing of the man in the forest, murdered with the last thoughts of being the loneliest man in the country. Nobody knows you shall die in the forest, nobody knows what you said.

Indian democracy becomes a long hard impossible journey towards human justice, any kind of it. To love within the history of these borders, it becomes, an unconditional love.

And yet the right-wing tendencies of the middle class grew with liberalisation. There always had to be the ‘other’, an enemy to fear, to destroy, to completely annihilate, while completely forgetting everything across the horizon.

The power of the majority would further be bequeathed on men of strength who only knew the politics of violence and hatred, who used the repression of the population, to commit crimes, to steal the heroes and symbols of the oppressed, to believe in pride, the greatest killer of all communities.

You can’t be equal with someone who demands superiority.

Once upon a time, a French anarchist had said property is theft, but to our times, identity is murder. Good fences do not make good neighbours when we have nuclear missiles and Molotov cocktails.

In 1992, I was made to believe I was victimised. And I refused to over time. No South Indians were stealing my job, no Communists were ruining business in my city, and no Muslims were trying to put Sharia law in my home.

No Dalits were stealing my seat in college, no woman existed whose sexuality was a threat to me being a man or a lover.

I refused to be a victim, thus I was not searching for an identity. I was not afraid, and my privilege was the capacity to question authority — Everyone’s. From the State, to the school, my own family whose own biases I would begin to question. And it all started when I was beginning to be aware that human suffering is universal, and it started in 1992.

And while the memory of this city changes with the flutter of butterfly wings on a fired bullet, goodbye, Mr Thackeray, your hate taught me how to love. Goodbye, Mr Thackeray, your hate taught me a love that millions of people like you can never rob from me.

The Past from the Present Past

I have been documenting the demolition of homes in Golibar in Santacruz East, especially in a stronghold of the Shiv Sena for decades.

The residents are protesting against a builder who they claim took their consent for the project through fraudulent means. They have been facing demolition drives that have often led to lathi-charges, police cases, and everyone from the State to the courts have almost refused to listen.

Golibar was also a site of violent skirmishes and police violence on December 7, 1992, just a day after the demolition of the Babri Masjid [ Images ]. In a report by the Lokshahi Hakk Sanghatana and the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, there were 12 people stabbed to death, seven who died in police firing, eight shops and garages burned down, while numerous hutments, four vehicles, six handcarts were burnt.

According to its report, The Bombay Riots: The Myths and Realities, ‘At V N Desai Hospital, doctors pointed out a polio patient and epileptic from Nirmal Nagar, Golibar Kabristan, with abdominal bullet wounds. One woman who was brought dead had been shot on the top of her head.’

‘This is where they came from,’ says S, a Muslim resident, ‘to attack those who were going to the mosque.’

‘The very people who you are sitting with today, are the ones who we fought with, in 1992,’ he continued.

‘When did things change?’

‘When all of this started. The irony being it’s these builders who’ve united us.’

On November 24, 2010, the state officials along with the police had come to break down the homes of Allahuddin Abbas and Mohammed Afzal. Almost all of its residents came to their defence.

They didn’t let the police touch a single brick, and didn’t leave their neighbours, who stood before their doors, as the women of the society, almost all Hindus and Christians, screamed at the police and officials from the narrow corridors leading to their homes.

‘I was coming home with my family that day in 1992,’ says Aba Tandel, one of the main organisers of the people’s resistance at Golibar, and an old Shiv Sena loyalist, ‘They were burning a man right outside the railway station. And we quietly walked into the gully and went home.’

Today, the Shiv Sena in Golibar is invisible. They won the local elections when they convinced a local to not run as an Independent as he would cut into its voting base. They would promise to support their movement, and individual members of the party have often slipped information down the ladder that ‘demolitions will take place, be prepared.’ Yet apart from that or an occasional mention in Saamna, there’s nothing.

Yet this city, and especially these people, have seen the power of the Shiv Sena. They have faced over five brutal demolition drives, yet the only people trying to stop the demolition are their neighbours, or supporters from other slums who are fighting the same issue.

There is no Shiv Sena. There is no Marathi pride. There are no mobs. There the only people fighting for justice are themselves.

‘In 1995, Balasaheb had sold us a dream of a house,’ said Dutta Mane, another loyalist, and he on Sunday, the day of Balasaheb’s funeral, hasn’t gone to Shivaji Park, but had gone to do his own work at Nallasopara, a township close to Mumbai.

Dutta Mane had even travelled with me to the site of the blasts on July 13, 2011, and by the end of our work, Dutta was a tired man, and as we were walking away from the site, he looked back at the press vans, the reporters at the barricade, and he asked me about all the homeless that were sleeping on the pavement, just 10 seconds away, on a diagonally connected road: ‘Inka photo kaun le raha hai?’ (Who will take their photo?)

It was ridiculously apt. A man whose home is facing demolition is asking a reporter-friend of his, why the press doesn’t care about the homeless.

In the next morning’s paper, the photograph of a sleeping bloodied body strewn apart by a bomb, reminded me of those sleeping peacefully at Opera House or Zaveri Bazaar at three in the morning.

Dutta was a betrayed man.

With him, I would also travel to Ambujwadi and slums on the dumping grounds of Mumbai, who are a class separate from Golibar, who are the poorest of the poor, where a majority of Muslims live and face repeated demolition drives, and I ask them too: ‘Do any Muslim groups ever come and give you support? Anything like the Raza Academy? Any maulanas? Anyone?’

Their answer is always unanimous: No.

Javed Iqbal is a Mumbai-based journalist.

Javed Iqbal

 

#India- #Justice for 15year old Tuba Tabassum #acidattack victim


I am Mohd. Arif Ashraf, Tuba Tabassum’s father.

On 26th September 2012, my daughter Tuba, busy with her preparations for the 10th board exams, was returning home after her tuitions, when four deviants threw acid on her.

The acid which was poured on her body, left her skin severely burnt and deformed her face beyond recognition. All of 15, she has now lost her vision from the left eye. She can’t even talk because of the immense physical pain that she is currently enduring.

The reason for the acid attack – the four accused, wanted to strike a conversation with Tuba but she flatly refused. This triggered their minds to harm my kid in such a grievous manner. The four boys were taken into custody by the Patna Police. They are now trying to get a relief using Juvenile status by presenting fake certificates of being minors, which they are not.

On the day of the attack, I rushed to a local hospital in Siwan to get treatment for my daughter. They referred us to Apollo Patna, where Tuba received treatment for 15 days. From there we came to Delhi on October 11 and since then she is admitted in Safdarjung Hospital. I work as a petition-writer in the local court and Tuba’s mother, Tabassum Perween is an anganwadi teacher. We haven’t been able to resume our duties since the day of the attack.

We have spent all that we could for our daughter’s treatment and now we are left with nothing to continue her treatment. Tuba’s medical records state that she has lost vision in the left eye, has chemical burns on face, neck, left shoulder and arm, back, and has patchy area over left breast, right arm and leg, and thigh. My daughter is in extreme pain and I am not able to put all that here in words.

My family really needs your support both financially and emotionally like you all helped Sonali Mukherjee. It is from there that I gathered all the courage and saw a bright ray of hope for my daughter.

Please help us so that we could continue my daughter’s treatment and fight for justice for her. If you want to help us monetarily or in any other way, send your donations to

Allahabad Bank, Siwan

A/C Number:  50101335011

Contact Numbers

 Mohd. Arif: 9818101303 / 9973555320

Please forward this to as many people as you can and help save my daughter.

 

PLEASE SIGN PETITION HERE

 

NA adopts resolution to declare #Malala ‘Daughter of Pakistan’


APP9 hrs ago

Malala Yousufzai-2

ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution asking the government to declare Malala Yousufzai the ‘Daughter of Pakistan’. The resolution was moved by Pakistan People’s Party’s Robina Saadat Qaimkhani, who said Malala had become a role model for child education across the world. “This House gives great importance and significance to the sacrifice made by Malala Yousufzai for the sake of education. This House, therefore, recommends that Malala Yousufzai may be declared the Daughter of Pakistan,” the resolution said. Qaimkhani said owing to her struggle for promotion of peace and girls’ education, Malala deserved an applause and a special recognition from parliament. She also lauded the role of President Asif Ali Zardari in promoting child education in the country.

 

Don’t we have the right to get married too? #disability


Source : SIFY
Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012
Bhagya
Bhagya (name changed) falters as she tells me what happened when she said she wanted to get married.

“Do you know what my parents asked me? They said, ‘Yevan irrukkan unnai kattikrathuku?’ (Who is there to marry you?) I was so upset. I went into a long depression,” she recalls, over tea.

Bhagya has a disability. She has cerebral palsy. Still, she completed her school and college education. She says her parents have always been supportive – her father quit his job to take care of her — but she cannot get over how they reacted when she expressed her interest in marriage.

“They just started using bad language and getting frustrated with me. I am talking to them about something important in my life. Who else will I speak to about this?” she asks.

Bhagya’s experience is not unusual.

“The view of disabled women is as asexual beings,” S.S. Smitha, the co-founder of Tejas (an advocacy group of disabled women), explains. “Caregivers of so many women do not even consider marriage for them and often treat the woman as a child,” she says.

The result of this attitude is often a profound lack of information and knowledge about the woman’s own sexuality.
Even Smitha, a 32-year-old well-travelled activist, did not consider the issue of sexual health and well-being until she attended a session on the subject at the Women’s Institute of Leadership in Disability earlier this year. The experience inspired her to organise a cross-disability workshop on sexuality and women’s rights in Chennai early this week. Bhagya was one of the 25 disabled women who participated.

At the workshop, others echoed Bhagya’s views. Punitha Suresh, from The Banyan, spoke of how women with mental illness were dissuaded from getting married.

The reasons given for these attitudes of the caregivers often seemed to stem from a flawed belief that the children of persons with disabilities will also be born disabled.

Then there is the overprotective concern of some caregivers who worried that the woman will not be looked after well, or will be ill-treated.

Chaitali (name changed) pointed out that the caregivers often viewed the young women as still little girls or children. “Other than asking who will marry us, even when we do have male friends, people tend to frame that relationship in terms of a brother-sister bond,” she said.

This of course is once a male friend has been found – Bhagya had earlier raised the question of how disabled women were supposed to socialise and meet people to begin with.

Ranjini K Moorthy, an activist, who was facilitating the session on reproductive and sexual health summed up the situation: “We are seen as sexless human beings who are expected to live life without experiencing sexuality, dissuaded from marriage, socialisation is not encouraged and our relationships are desexualised.”

Life is not rosy for married disabled women either. One hearing impaired woman said her husband found her gestures embarrassing and refused to visit public places with her.

Another said her husband had married her for her money. “We are told not to marry disabled men but when we marry an able-bodied person, there are gaps in understanding and the marriage doesn’t work out,” a woman said.

The belief that their children too might be born with a disability had led at least one participant to be forced into an abortion.

Ranjini and others said they had heard of disabled women being given hysterectomies, sometimes without their informed consent.

To underline how prevalent this view of disabled women as asexual was, Smitha later told me that some parents and caregivers left with their wards when they were told the sessions were for the women alone – even though the women themselves were interested in attending.

“The question is one of information. Crucial information is not reaching disabled women because we are seen as asexual. The view is ‘this information is not applicable to my daughter’s life’,” she said. (Another barrier to information reaching the women is accessibility, something that Tejas tried to address with material in braille or as visuals, etc.)

Disabled women, especially in India, already have to make their peace with having a limited control over their bodies and lives. Some have to get accustomed to being carried, sometimes by strangers.

Some are not allowed to grow their hair to make life simpler for their caregivers. Many choose not to do things that interest them so that their caregivers are not inconvenienced.

But perhaps one of the greatest of indignities that women with disabilities endure has to be friends, family, doctors, teachers making assessments of and decisions for them on the most personal and intimate aspects of their lives: “Can she have a relationship? Will anyone want to marry her? Can she have children? How will she take care of them?”

Image credit: thebanyan.org


Ranjitha Gunasekaran studied English and Mass Communications before joining The New Indian Express reporting team in 2006, covering urban local bodies and heritage. She left the paper to help the Communications department of The Banyan, an NGO which works with destitute mentally ill women before rejoining the Express Weekend section. She covered gender, mental health, development and edited the paper’s Sexualities section, the first of its kind in the country. She headed the Weekend section from August 2010 to April 2011 before leaving to help ideate on and launch a daily school edition of the newspaper. She loves dogs and food and has written about the latter for the Express lifestyle magazine, Indulge, from 2009. She quit her job in October to focus on her writing.