Trinamool MP against media censorship


Icon for censorship

 

 

 

Ananya Dutta, The Hindu, Jan 13, 2013

 

In the 20 months since the Trinamool Congress came to power in West Bengal, the government has been mired in controversies regarding suppression of freedom of expression, so senior party MP Saugata Roy’s remarks that he did not believe in censorship of the media here on Saturday appeared to be in a contrarian vein.

“I think the media should be left alone. That is why I am strongly against any form of censorship of the media,” Mr. Roy said at a panel discussion on “Has the media failed the people?” moderated by journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta.

Mr. Roy said that he did not think that media controls voters and he was not among those politicians to have “a love-hate relationship with the media.”

“When a person goes out to vote, he votes on the basis of his own experience, not on the basis of what is written in the press or what is broadcast in the media,” he added.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has often spoken against a section of the media, on occasion specifying television channels that she believes spread lies and canards about her government.

Her government has come under scrutiny for a notification that prescribed a limited list of newspapers that public libraries could subscribe to, even as allegations were made that certain papers are being denied government advertisements.

At the panel discussion, there was no consensus on whether the media had failed the people with Mr. Roy believing that it had “by and large failed the country” on the one hand and the editor of Aaj Tak and Headlines Today Rahul Khanwal proposing that it had not, largely because it is a “self-correcting animal.”

Admitting that “the media is guilty of a lot of sins” in recent times, from poor language to the cancer of paid news, Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of The Hindu argued “that the Indian media today does a far better job of informing the Indian public than it used to do thirty or forty years ago.”

He also pointed out that there are several other institutions which are also failing the people, citing the example of an expose of a fake encounter in Jammu and Kashmir that was conducted in March 2000. But a decade later, the trials of guilty soldiers were yet to commence.

“At the end of the day if you don’t trigger correction at the judicial level, at the political level or at the level of civil society, then there is only so much we can do,” he said.

Actor Rahul Bose turned the argument on its head questioning whether it was the people of India who had failed their media.

“After we finished collectively exulting at Ram Leela Maidan or lighting candles at India Gate or collectively shouting ourselves hoarse in some public forum we wait for the next problem to burst. Do we sustain the pressure? Do we support, recognise, encourage or fund organisations that have been fighting for those very causes for decades? Do we change attitudes within us,” he asked.

While Mr. Roy spoke at length about the change in the media from pre-Independence days to present times, Rudranghshu Mukherjee, editor of the editorial pages of The Telegraph, argued that the fall in ethical standards among politicians had been far greater than that among journalists.

Civil society activist Anjali Bhardwaj described at length the expectations that civil society has from the media and the extent to which it had fulfilled them. The session was organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce

 

Justice Sachar alleges pvt water companies getting undue benefits


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 12, 2013

Continuing his attack on ‘privatisation’ of water supply in Delhi, Justice (retired) Rajinder Sachar has questioned the role of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) in such policy decisions. He has also alleged that private companies were being given undue benefit in the name of 24×7 water supply programmes under public private participation (PPP) model.

A patron of water privatisation and commercialisation resistance committee, Justice Sachar had first written to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in November, raising pertinent issues vis-à-vis privatisation attempts by the DJB. However, instead of Dikshit, he received a reply from Jal board’s CEO Debashree Mukherjee. “Bureaucrats are not in the position to respond to constitutional and policy matters raised by me in the earlier letter,” Sachar has pointed out to Dikshit in another letter sent this week.

The DJB had in 2012 launched three pilot programmes for 24×7 water supply under the PPP model to improve the water distribution system in Malviya Nagar, Nangloi, Vasant Vihar and Mehrauli.

Sachar has pointed out that the DJB has referred to reduction of the non-revenue water (NRW) but the contract agreement signed by the Nangloi project shows that the private operator will not be required to reduce NRW for the first four years.

“This shows that the NRW is not an issue except for justifying privatisation,” he alleged.

Sachar also called for an independent tribunal, which will decide on the water tariffs and the changes required in them, with full public participation. “Despite an automatic 10 % hike incorporated in the cycle, the DJB has failed to guarantee that there would be no mid-term revision,” he alleged.

After the CM’s instructions, DJB has not affected its annual 10 % hike in tariff applicable from January 1. “We reassessed that the privatisation of water services will have serious ramifications for the people. I have drawn your attention to the latest anti-privatisation trends in the world (and), would like you to directly deal with the issue,” Sachar has appealed to the CM.

Despite repeated attempts, the CM remained unavailable for comments.

 

PRESS RELEASE-Appeal from Civil `Society of Poonch to Govt of #India and #Pakistan



*APPEAL * *FROM THE CIVIL SOCIETY OF POONCH TO THE GOVT. OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN*

Peace process means different things for the people living
in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. For the people residing alongside
103km long LOC in Poonch region, ceasefire of 26 November 2003 had brought
peace,securityand created conducive atmosphere fordevelopment in border
areas. This was important as this region and   the people and their
socio-economic needs had remained neglectedfor 58 years,due to continues
firing and shelling across the LOC. These conditions had subjected people
to limitless pain and sorrow, Death and injuries and filled their life with
miseries and tension before ceasefire. *

*However  in November  2003, For the first time after 58 years, the people
of border areas got relief from war like situation. When the LOC CBMs were
introduced in 2005, and the cross LOC bus service started. It provided
opportunities for the divided families to meet their relatives after
decades. In 2008 tradersfrom both side of the LOC were able to
establishtrade relations. Thus an atmosphere of peace and hope was created
during the past ten years and the people residing alongside the LOC started
the journey of progress and prosperity.*

*                However in last few days this peaceful atmosphere has been
disturbed due to unfortunate incidents of firing and brutalkillings across
the LOC at various places in Poonch and Uri areas. These incidents have
shaken the confidence of the people. There is a lot of tension and panic
among the public.We the people of border areas who have enjoyed the fruit
of peace and the LOC CBMs following  the ceasefire on the LOC donot want
the escalation of the situation and lives being disturbed as a result
ofmore killings.*

*The members of civil society of Poonch would like to make a humble appeal
to Governments of India and Pakistan to take immediate steps towards the
restoration of peace on the LOC and implement in letter and spirit the
ceasefire agreement of November 26, 2003.

We urge that all efforts be made to defuse the tension on the LOC and restore trade venture and weekly bus
servicefrom Poonch –Rawalakote routeso that  we the people of border areas
can live in our houses and localities near the LOCwith a sense of  peace
and security in conducive atmosphere. This, we believe is in the utmost
interest of the people residing on both the sides of LOC.*

*Name of the signatories*

*1.       **Iftikhar Ahmed Bazmi                            Secretary BAR Association Poonch*

*2.       **Inder Raj Sharma                                     President BaparmandaPoonchl*

*3.       **S. Karishan Singh                                     Gen.Secretary Cross LOC Trader`s Association Poonch*

*4.       **S. Harbajan Singh                                    President,Journalist Association Poonch*

*5.       **MohdFarooq                                             Imam,Jamia Masjid Poonch*

*6.       **K.K.Kapoor                                                                Peace,Activist*

*7.       **Molvi Abdul Razaq                                  SarpanchPanchayat HariBudha*

*8.       **S. Divinder Singh                                     OwnerKhidmat Centre*

*9.       **Prof. MussarafHussain Shah               Chairman, SyedHabibullah Memorial Society *

*10.   **Muzaffar Ahmed                                     President,Public Peace & Development Foundation  *

*11.   **K.D. Maini President Heritage Centre Poonch*

*12.   **ZakiHaider
President Anjuman-e-Jaffria*

* *

 

#India-Train judges handling sex crimes in psychiatry #Vaw #Justice


 

DHNS
BANGALORE : The judiciary, especially judges handling cases related to sexual abuse against women, must have basic training in psychiatry and mental illness to handle the sensitivity of the subject, said the Indian Psychiatric Society president Prof Indira Sharma.


At the 65th annual national conference of Indian Psychiatric Society which began here on Thursday, Prof Sharma said, “It is unfortunate to hear cases about sexual abuse of women with mental illness. There is a need to relook into the judicial aspect of handling such cases,” she added.


Prof Sharma said there was no standard mental health policy in place and made out a case for having one. Referring to the recent Delhi gang-rape incident, she said there is a need to frame elaborate guidelines on handling rape victims and recommended that the amended anti-rape law be called the Jwala Act.


Prof Norman Sartorius, former director, Mental Health, World Health Organisation, Geneva, said due to rapid urbanisation and globalisation, the number of people suffering from mental illnesses has increased over the years. “It is unfortunate to hear that today’s world which measures everything in terms of economics has also tagged health as a commodity wherein you pay more, you get more even in terms of cure for illness,” he added.


Briefing about the recommendations sent to Justice Verma committee on amending laws against sexual abuse, Dr R Raghuram, Head, Department of Psychiatry, Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences, said rape victims should be counselled regularly in tandem with the legal process.


The four-day conference will witness a host of lectures by psychiatrists from across the world and will be attended by over 3,000 delegates including psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

 

Vedanta PIL: Centre asked to respond to plea for probe into funding forparties from UK group


vedanafinal11

MONEYLIFE DIGITAL TEAM | 11/01/2013 03:06 PM |   

The ministry of home affairs and Election Commission of India have been asked by the Delhi High Court on Thursday to respond to a plea for a court-monitored probe by an SIT or the CBI into the funds allegedly received by the Congress and BJP from UK-based Vedanta Resources and some Indian public sector undertakings

The two-member Delhi High Court bench comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indermeet Kaur asked the home ministry and Election Commission of India (ECI) to file their replies in the matter relating to funds, allegedly received by the Congress and BJP from UK-based Vedanta and some domestic PSUs, within two weeks. The next date of the hearing in the matter is set for 4 February 2013. The court further said that it will not call upon the political parties, Congress and BJP, to respond until after hearing the responses of the Home Ministry and ECI.
The PIL was filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of IndiaMoneylife has been following the matter closely since it emerged last August. We have reported how the Anil Agarwal-promoted Vedanta Group, which does not give political donations, either in the UK of European Union without board approval, has admitted to paying around $8.3 million to political parties since 2003-04.
It has also emerged that both BJP and Indian National Congress (INC) have themselves declared, in their annual contribution reports submitted to the ECI, that they have received funding from the Vedanta Group, which is listed on London Stock Exchange under the name Vedanta Resources PLC.
Which political parties benefitted from Vedanta’s donations? Read the analysis, by Sucheta Dalal.
EAS Sarma, in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, had also pointed out that as per information compiled by ADR from 2007 to 2009, both BJP and Congress received donations from other companies as well. Nippon Investment and Finance Pvt Ltd, one of the promoters of Videocon Industries, donated Rs1 crore while a Honda group unit gave Rs15 lakh to the BJP as donation. Congress also received Rs2 lakh from State Trading Corporation of India and MMTC, both government undertakings.
The grounds for the PIL are, therefore, as follows:
a) INC and the BJP have violated Section 29B of the Representation of People’s Act 1951, which categorically prohibits them to take donations from government companies and from any foreign source
b) The donation of huge sums of money made by the Vedanta Group (being a foreign company) to major political parties like INC and BJP is in clear violation of the FCR Act of 1976 and the FCR Act of 2010.
c) The donation of huge sums of money by the public sector undertakings (who are also State within Article 12 of the Constitution) to the political parties is in violation of Section 293A of the Companies Act.
The petition also states that UK-based Vedanta Resources and its subsidiary companies in India, such as Sterlite Industries, Sesa Goa and Malco “have donated several crores of rupees to major political parties like the Congress and the BJP”.
The plea was listed for 10 January 2013 after justice VK Jain recused himself, without assigning any reason, from hearing the matter which was listed 9 January 2013 before the bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan.
You may also like to read Moneylife’s coverage on: Which companies are funding political parties and how legal is it

 

Protest at Vedanta headquarters


HASAN SUROOR, The Hindu

Protesters from ‘Foil Vedanta’ and several other campaign groups carried banners highlighting the tribals’ concerns over the environmental threat from Vedanta’s mining activities.
The HinduProtesters from ‘Foil Vedanta’ and several other campaign groups carried banners highlighting the tribals’ concerns over the environmental threat from Vedanta’s mining activities.

Rights activists on Friday held a noisy protest outside the London headquarters of the mining group Vedanta Resources, an FTSE 100 company, calling for it to be delisted from the London Stock Exchange because of its controversial trade practices and human rights record.

The protest coincided with similar demonstrations in India and America.

The company is embroiled in a controversy over its plans to mine tribal land in Orissa regarded sacred by the Dongria Kondh tribe.

Protesters from ‘Foil Vedanta’ and several other campaign groups carried banners highlighting the tribals’ concerns over the environmental threat from Vedanta’s mining activities.

“Vedanta is a London listed company and profits from this affiliation. It is typical of Vedanta to assume they are above the law and above public accountability,” a ‘Foil Vedanta’ spokesperson said.

 

#Aaron Swartz, Internet Activist, a Creator of RSS, Is Dead at 26, Apparently a Suicide


Michael Francis McElroy/The New York Times

Aaron Swartz in 2009. One person remembered him as a “a complicated prodigy.”

 

By 
Published: January 12, 2013

An uncle, Michael Wolf, said that Mr. Swartz, 26, had apparently hanged himself, and that a friend of Mr. Swartz’s had discovered the body.

At 14, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to online information. He later became an Internet folk hero, pushing to make many Web files free and open to the public. But in July 2011, he was indicted on federal charges of gaining illegal access to JSTOR, a subscription-only service for distributing scientific and literary journals, and downloading 4.8 million articles and documents, nearly the entire library.

Charges in the case, including wire fraud and computer fraud, were pending at the time of Mr. Swartz’s death, carrying potential penalties of up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

“Aaron built surprising new things that changed the flow of information around the world,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law in New York who served in the Obama administration as a technology adviser. She called Mr. Swartz “a complicated prodigy” and said “graybeards approached him with awe.”

Mr. Wolf said he would remember his nephew, who had written in the past about battling depression and suicidal thoughts, as a young man who “looked at the world, and had a certain logic in his brain, and the world didn’t necessarily fit in with that logic, and that was sometimes difficult.”

The Tech, a newspaper of the Massachusetts Institute of Technologyreported Mr. Swartz’s death early Saturday.

Mr. Swartz led an often itinerant life that included dropping out of Stanford, forming companies and organizations, and becoming a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

He formed a company that merged with Reddit, the popular news and information site. He also co-founded Demand Progress, a group that promotes online campaigns on social justice issues — including a successful effort, with other groups, to oppose a Hollywood-backed Internet piracy bill.

But he also found trouble when he took part in efforts to release information to the public that he felt should be freely available. In 2008, he took on PACER, or Public Access to Court Electronic Records, the repository for federal judicial documents.

The database charges 10 cents a page for documents; activists like Carl Malamud, the founder of public.resource.org, have long argued that such documents should be free because they are produced at public expense. Joining Mr. Malamud’s efforts to make the documents public by posting legally obtained files to the Internet for free access, Mr. Swartz wrote an elegant little program to download 20 million pages of documents from free library accounts, or roughly 20 percent of the enormous database.

The government shut down the free library program, and Mr. Malamud feared that legal trouble might follow even though he felt they had violated no laws. As he recalled in a newspaper account, “I immediately saw the potential for overreaction by the courts.” He recalled telling Mr. Swartz: “You need to talk to a lawyer. I need to talk to a lawyer.”

Mr. Swartz recalled in a 2009 interview, “I had this vision of the feds crashing down the door, taking everything away.” He said he locked the deadbolt on his door, lay down on the bed for a while and then called his mother.

The federal government investigated but did not prosecute.

In 2011, however, Mr. Swartz went beyond that, according to a federal indictment. In an effort to provide free public access to JSTOR, he broke into computer networks at M.I.T. by means that included gaining entry to a utility closet on campus and leaving a laptop that signed into the university network under a false account, federal officials said.

Mr. Swartz turned over his hard drives with 4.8 million documents, and JSTOR declined to pursue the case. But Carmen M. Ortiz, a United States attorney, pressed on, saying that “stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars.”

Founded in 1995, JSTOR, or Journal Storage, is nonprofit, but institutions can pay tens of thousands of dollars for a subscription that bundles scholarly publications online. JSTOR says it needs the money to collect and to distribute the material and, in some cases, subsidize institutions that cannot afford it. On Wednesday, JSTOR announced that it would open its archives for 1,200 journals to free reading by the public on a limited basis.

Mr. Malamud said that while he did not approve of Mr. Swartz’s actions at M.I.T., “access to knowledge and access to justice have become all about access to money, and Aaron tried to change that. That should never have been considered a criminal activity.”

Mr. Swartz did not talk much about his impending trial, Quinn Norton, a close friend, said on Saturday, but when he did, it was clear that “it pushed him to exhaustion. It pushed him beyond.”

Recent years had been hard for Mr. Swartz, Ms. Norton said, and she characterized him “in turns tough and delicate.” He had “struggled with chronic, painful illness as well as depression,” she said, without specifying the illness, but he was still hopeful “at least about the world.”

Cory Doctorow, a science fiction author and online activist, posted a tribute to Mr. Swartz on BoingBoing.net, a blog he co-edits. In an e-mail, he called Mr. Swartz “uncompromising, principled, smart, flawed, loving, caring, and brilliant.”

 “The world was a better place with him in it,” he said.

Mr. Swartz, he noted, had a habit of turning on those closest to him: “Aaron held the world, his friends, and his mentors to an impossibly high standard — the same standard he set for himself.” Mr. Doctorow added, however, “It’s a testament to his friendship that no one ever seemed to hold it against him (except, maybe, himself).”

In a talk in 2007, Mr. Swartz described having had suicidal thoughts during a low period in his career. He also wrote about his struggle with depression, distinguishing it from sadness.

“Go outside and get some fresh air or cuddle with a loved one and you don’t feel any better, only more upset at being unable to feel the joy that everyone else seems to feel. Everything gets colored by the sadness.”

When the condition gets worse, he wrote, “you feel as if streaks of pain are running through your head, you thrash your body, you search for some escape but find none. And this is one of the more moderate forms.”

Ravi Somaiya contributed reporting.

Farewell to Aaron Swartz, an extraordinary hacker and activist

JANUARY 12, 2013 | BY PETER ECKERSLEY

Yesterday Aaron Swartz, a close friend and collaborator of ours, committed suicide. This is a tragic end to a brief and extraordinary life.

Aaron did more than almost anyone to make the Internet a thriving ecosystem for open knowledge, and to keep it that way. His contributions were numerous, and some of them were indispensable. When we asked him in late 2010 for help in stopping COICA, the predecessor to the SOPA and PIPA Internet blacklist bills, he founded an organization called Demand Progress, which mobilized over a million online activists and proved to be an invaluable ally in winning that campaign.

Aaron Swartz at CCC

Other projects Aaron worked on included the RSSspecificationsweb.pytor2web, the Open Library, and the Chrome port of HTTPS Everywhere. Aaron helped launch the Creative Commons. He was a former co-founder at Reddit, and a member of the team that made the site successful. His blog was often a delight.

Aaron’s eloquent brilliance was mixed with a complicated introversion. He communicated on his own schedule and needed a lot of space to himself, which frustrated some of his collaborators. He was fascinated by the social world around him, but often found it torturous to deal with.

For a long time, Aaron was more comfortable reading books than talking to humans (he once told me something like, “even talking to very smart people is hard, but if I just sit down and read their books, I get their most considered and insightful thoughts condensed in a beautiful and efficient form. I can learn from books faster than I can from talking to the authors.”). His passion for the written word, for open knowledge, and his flair for self-promotion, sometimes producedspectacular results, even before the events that proved to be his undoing.

In 2011, Aaron used the MIT campus network to download millions of journal articles from theJSTOR database, allegedly changing his laptop’s IP and MAC addresses when necessary to get around blocks put in place by JSTOR and MIT and sneaking into a closet to get a faster connection to the MIT network. For this purported crime, Aaron was facing criminal charges with penalties up to thirty-five years in prison, most seriously for “unauthorized access” to computers under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

If we believe the prosecutor’s allegations against him, Aaron had hoped to liberate the millions of scientific and scholarly articles he had downloaded from JSTOR, releasing them so that anyone could read them, or analyze them as a single giant dataset, something Aaron had done before. While his methods were provocative, the goal that Aaron died fighting for — freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it — is one that we should all support.

Moreover, the situation Aaron found himself in highlights the injustice of U.S. computer crime laws, and particularly their punishment regimes. Aaron’s act was undoubtedly political activism, and taking such an act in the physical world would, at most, have a meant he faced light penalties akin to trespassing as part of a political protest. Because he used a computer, he instead faced long-term incarceration. This is a disparity that EFF has fought against for years. Yesterday, it had tragic consequences. Lawrence Lessig has called for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them. We agree.

Aaron, we will sorely miss your friendship, and your help in building a better world. May you read in peace.

Shehla murder case: Next hearing on January 24 #RTI


My Friend Shehla Masood

My Friend Shehla Masood

TNN Jan 12, 2013, 02.05AM IST

INDORE: A BSNL officer deposed before special CBI Court of Anupam Shirvastav on Friday in connection with RTI activist Shehla Masood murder case. SDO, Bhopal Pawan Kumar Tak had provided the call details in 91 pages of several people that are attached with the chargesheet.

The statement and cross examination of witnesses continued for nearly five hours due to which petition of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking permission for re-examine the prime accused in the case, Zaheda Parvez and Saba Farooqui and bail applications of accused could be heard as there was no enough time. Now decision on the CBI petition for re-examine prime accused will be taken on next hearing scheduled for January 24. Statement of other witnesses and bail applications of accused be heard on February 12 and 13.

Advocate HO Soni appeared on behalf of Zaheda Parvez, advocate Pradeep Gupta appeared for Tabish and Danger, advocate Sunil Shrivastav appeared for Saba Farooqui and advocate Mahendra Morya appeared for Irfan. Advocate Hemant Shukla appeared for CBI.

Advocate Sunil Shrivastav said call details of Shehla Masood and Sultan Masood have not been presented before court and till now, the details of real users of given mobile numbers are not clear.

Mahendra Morya said bail application of Irfan could not be heard due to lack of time and now court will hear it on February 12 and 13, when bail applications of other accused will also be listed.

Raising question over CBI, Saba Farooqui while being taken out of the court said DIG and some senior officials of CBI had met Danger in jail on Thursday, however, she refused to have knowledge about the content of discussion. On the other hand, Danger said many people keep on meeting him in jail.

 

Uttarakhand govt prohibits women from working beyond 6 pm #WTFnews #Vaw #Womenrights


 

Agencies : Dehradun (Uttarakhand), Sat Jan 12 2013,

In a bizarre development, the Uttarakhand government has passed an order that prohibits women from working beyond 6 pm in private and government jobs.

The step is being seen as too extreme to curb crimes against women.

The state government is being severly criticised for this regressive approach, and the opposition is objecting to the directive.

The Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna-led state government has reportedly taken the step in the wake of the gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi late last month. The woman was repeatedly raped inside a dark tinted glass moving bus, and suffered gruesome injuries. She had to be eventually flown out to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital, but succumbed after a battle for survival of 13 days.

In the wake of the December 16 gangrape incident, there has been a flurry of media revelations regarding incidents of rape across the country.

The reports have prompted several state governments and the central government to fine tune the laws of the country regarding rape and other sexual crimes against women. Several commissions, headed by retired judges, have also been set up to discuss the problem threadbare and to come out with recommendations for change. The police is also under pressure to improve its responses to the general public on issues of law and order as well as crimes.

Congress distances itself from Uttarakhand Govt. order on women, BJP criticises

Uttarakhand government’s bizarre decision has invited criticism both from the Congress and the BJP.

Reacting to the state government’s decision here on Saturday, Union Waters Resources Minister and Congress leader from Uttarakhand Harish Rawat said: “Issuing such guidelines that when should they (women) go out and till what time they should work is not a fair step. It is not going to work.”

“I think stricter laws should be made and enforcement agencies should be held accountable to ensure swift and harsh punishment for the culprits. We will have to change the mentality. We will have to come up with a broader social campaign to change the mentality of society to stop such crimes,” added Rawat.

Taking a jibe at the state government, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain advised Chief Minister Bahuguna not to go out after 6 pm if he feels so scared.

“Instead of improving the law and order situation in the state, they are putting out a ‘Talibani’ diktat that women should not go out of their houses after six p.m. Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi should take cognizance of this matter and she should ask the chief minister what he means by making such remarks,” said Hussain.

Another BJP spokesperson, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said that such dictatorship by governments or by the police will make the women feel more unsafe.

BJP leader Balbir Punj asked Bahuguna to resign as his government was not being able to provide better security for women in the state.

“By making such statements, the Chief Minister has admitted his inability to run the government and establish law and order in the state, and he actually feels that the government may not provide security to women, he must resign from the office,” said Punj.

Former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said the Congress is not capable of running a government.

“It shows that the state government is incapable of providing security to women. Tomorrow, the government will stop them from going out of their homes. Instead of passing such laws, criminals should be scared of committing crimes. The government is prohibiting women,” claimed Koshiyari.

“If the authorities work properly, such incidents don’t take place. We will have to spread awareness and teach ethics and values to young people. People in authority should also be alert and work properly,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has denied issuing such guidelines that restrict women from going out, and said: “ It is the responsibility of the management of the organisation where they work, to take care of the women employees and they should drop them at door steps if they get late.”

“There is no restriction on women and children, but the organization they are working at should drop them at their doorsteps if they get late while coming home. We will provide every possible security, but it is not our responsibility to drop them home,” said Bahuguna.

 

#Karnataka -‘Girl students often misuse the burkha’- #WTFnews #moralpolicing


STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu

IN PROTEST: (From left) Dalit Christian Federation chairperson Rev. D. Manohar Chandra Prasad, Karnataka United Christian Forum functionary Felix Noronha and Karnataka Regional Commission for Education secretary Sr. M. Genevieve at Friday’s press conference in Bangalore. Photo: K. Gopinathan
The HinduIN PROTEST: (From left) Dalit Christian Federation chairperson Rev. D. Manohar Chandra Prasad, Karnataka United Christian Forum functionary Felix Noronha and Karnataka Regional Commission for Education secretary Sr. M. Genevieve at Friday’s press conference in Bangalore. Photo: K. Gopinathan

‘Ban in Christian institutions applicable only on campuses’

Defending the ban imposed by several missionary-run educational institutions in Karnataka on wearing the burkha on campus, Sr. M. Genevieve, secretary of the Karnataka Regional Commission for Education (KRCE), has said that the garment is “often misused by girl students”.

“They use it for copying in exams,” Sr. Genevieve said, while gesturing with her hands that girl students hide scraps of paper in the folds of the Islamic outfit.

She was responding to a question about the burkha ban at a press conference here on Friday called to announce a daylong seminar on “combating saffronisation of education and suppression of subaltern voices”. The seminar, scheduled for Saturday, is being organised by the KRCE, which manages 105 Catholic societies and 1,200 Catholic educational institutions.

‘OTHER RELIGIONS TOO’

Sr. Genevieve claimed that not just Muslims, but girls of other religions too have started wearing the burkha as a sort of cover for “immoral activities”. “Other girls have also started wearing [the burkha] to go out with their boyfriends,” she said.

When it was pointed out that saffron groups too have tried to impose a ban on the garment, particularly in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, she said that the ban in Christian missionary institutions was applicable only on the campus.

“In a girls’ college like Mount Carmel College, what is the need to wear the burkha? There are hardly one or two men there,” said Sr. Genevieve, a former principal of the girls’ college.

HUGE CONTROVERSY

The banning of the burkha at the St. Aloysius College in Mangalore had created a huge controversy in April last year after it was reported widely in the print and electronic media.

The case of commerce student Aysha Ashmin made national headlines in August 2009 after the Sri Venkataramana Swamy Government-aided Degree College in Bantwal, Dakshina Kannada, banned her from wearing the burkha under pressure from activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).