#India -Police action traumatised anti-dam tribals in MP #Stateoppression #humanrights


Chaukhand village, Khargone (MP), May 30, 2013

Pheroze L. Vincent

  • Villagers staging indefinite dharna at Kharak Dam at Chaukhand village in Khargone district in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday demanding proper compensation. Photo: A.M. Faruqui
    The Hindu Villagers staging indefinite dharna at Kharak Dam at Chaukhand village in Khargone district in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday demanding proper compensation. Photo: A.M. Faruqui
  • Villagers including children staging indefinite dharna at Kharak Dam at Chaukhand village in Khargone disstrict in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, demanding proper compensation. Photo: A.M. Faruqui.
    The Hindu Villagers including children staging indefinite dharna at Kharak Dam at Chaukhand village in Khargone disstrict in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, demanding proper compensation. Photo: A.M. Faruqui.
  • Villagers staging indefinite dharna at Kharak Dam at Chaukhand village in Khargone disstrict in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, demanding proper compensation. Photo: A.M.Faruqui
    The Hindu Villagers staging indefinite dharna at Kharak Dam at Chaukhand village in Khargone disstrict in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, demanding proper compensation. Photo: A.M.Faruqui

Sisters Kalibai and Phulbai are in a state of shock after they were caned by the police on May 25. Aged 8 and 6, they rushed towards their father Tudpiabai Gangaram on seeing him being caned by the police during a protest against the Kharak Reservoir being built beside their village.

“I said don’t hit my father. My father asked us to run away. Before we could run the policeman hit us also,” said Kali, struggling to talk with her swollen mouth. Phul asked her to open her mouth. “Her tooth broke as the cane hit her mouth,” she said pointing at a missing tooth.

Chaukhand has been resisting the construction of the dam, a minor irrigation project in Khargone and Barwani districts, roughly 350 km south west of Bhopal. Inhabited by the Barela tribe, the village grows wheat, jowar, soya, groundnuts and other traditional millets, beside River Kharak. Most residents do not have documents for the land they cultivate. The reservoir will submerge parts of seven villages.

Work on the project, which had started less than a year ago, has stopped for the last two months due to protests by locals. There are daily dharnas under the village peepul tree demanding a comprehensive rehabilitation policy, before the dam comes up.

“We had started work only on the 55 hectares for which claims were settled at roughly Rs. 3 lakhs per acre according to the collector’s guidelines. The problem is with those who don’t have documents. The principal secretary has decided to give them a relief amount of Rs. 4 lakhs per hectare. On Saturday we went to talk with the villagers when the situation deteriorated,” said Executive Engineer SS Raghuvanshi of the Water Resources Department.

Villagers narrated a different story. “At 10.30 a.m. we were on dharna as usual when four police vans came with around 150 male and female officers. The Sub Divisional Magistrate Jitendra Singh Chouhan was in front. They formed a line. We went to the SDM and asked when we will get compensation. He said that everyone with documents will get compensation but first we must clear the area,” said Shivram Kanase an activist of the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) which works in the area.

The villagers asked them to pay the compensation before starting work. Police then forcibly evicted them from the site. “They chased me and snatched my child from my arms and threw him on the ground. That policeman’s breathe smelt of liquor. He beat me with his cane,” said Samranabai, a local resident.

Collector Navneet Kothari is on leave and Superintendent of Police R. P. Singh refused to answer queries. He said, “You do your job. If I say there was no lathi charge, will you believe me?”

Another lady named Banchibai Ningole, with an infant at her breast, was arrested from her house, said villagers. Totally seven men and twenty women are in judicial custody. They were denied bail on Wednesday. The police have told the court that they are on the look out for others and that if released, the 27 would rejoin the protests.

“I asked the SDM why his men were beating women and children. He said that we were stopping government work and we would be locked up. Inspector T. C. Usre caught my hand and hit me. The women constables didn’t do anything. Maybe they felt bad for us,” said Gyanibai Jadav.

SDM Chouhan denied the occurrence of a lathi charge. “Villagers attacked the workers at the site. I told them that we won’t tolerate violence. We can convey their objections to the government. Police only removed them from the machines. There was no lathi charge,” he told The Hindu.

Many men and women showed the cane scars on their backs and legs. Four children with bruises claimed they had either been hit or had fallen while running from the police. The counsel for the arrested, C. K. Pathak said that he wasn’t pressing charges on the police as he first wants his clients to be released.

Bail was denied on a day when CM Shivraj Chauhan visited the district to conduct a mass marriage. On May 28 the government announced a Rs. 212 crore package for oustees of the Omkareshwar Dam, which will be given on condition that they vacate their homes by July 15. The evictees in neighbouring Khandwa had gained international prominence when they went on jal satyagraha by indefinitely immersing sitting in the River Narmada last year.

Here in Chaukhand, an uneasy peace prevails with villagers unsure of whose lands will be occupied and how much money they will get. Many fields have already been filled with rocks by the construction contractors. They are also under pressure from panchayat leaders not to obstruct the construction. Both the dharna continues and construction work has stopped.

Villager Sakaram accompanied this reporter on the way out of the village, which is connected to Dhulkot Panchayat by a long un-metallled road filled with stones. Ambulances don’t come here, he said, and many women have complicated pregnancies due to the journey on bullock cart to the hospital.

On Thurday a Barwani court granted bail to JADS leader Madhuri Krishnaswamy, who was arrested a fortnight back for a 2008 case of rioting. Ms. Krishnaswamy took up the case of a tribal woman giving birth on the street after being evicted from a primary health centre. The suspended pharmacist had filed the case on her.

“Last time we all voted for BJP as they promised us land pattas. This time we are going to meet (Congress state president) Kantilal Bhuria ji when he visits Khargone of June 4,” Mr. Sakaram added. He goes to public meetings of both the Congress and the BJP. “One day they will listen to us,” he explained.

 

#India- MP minister justifies number of rapes to total population #WTFnews


, TNN | Apr 21, 2013,

MP minister justifies number of rapes to total population
Women activists of BJP remove police barricade outside UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi‘s residence during a protest against the rape of of the 5-year-old girl in New Delhi.
BHOPAL: At a time when the whole nation is outraged by the alleged rape of a 5-year-old girl child in New Delhi, a Madhya Pradesh minister went on record claiming the number of rapes as still less when compared to the total population.While Delhi‘s 5-year-old is under medical treatment in AIIMS, another little girl of her age from Madhya Pradesh is still fighting for her life in a hospital in Nagpur. The second child, also a victim of gang-rape, from Ghansor in Sheoni was flown out in a critical condition to Maharashtra for treatment. Her condition is critical.

But an insensitive minister of state for urban administration and development, Manohar Utwal, on Saturday said, “Evaluating the population of the Madhya Pradesh, the number of rapes is not that high.” Madhya Pradesh continues to be the rape capital of the country with the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) revealing the largest number of the heinous offence being reported in the state. In 2011-12, NCRB records showed a total 3,406 rapes in the state.

Speaking to reporters in Jaora town in Ratlam district, the minister justified, “In a state where total the population exceeds 7.5 crore, only 4,500 rapes have been reported this year.” He further defended that rape statistics is high in Madhya Pradesh because the police diligently records every complaint.

Manohar Utwal’s inconsiderate comment comes less than a week after an MP cabinet minister Vijay Shah was sacked for making sexist remarks against chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan‘s wife while addressing a students’ gathering in the tribal dominated Jhabua district. With such reckless anti-women observations coming from state ministers, the Congress opposition in Madhya Pradesh isfurious.

Congress’ leader of opposition Ajay Singh on Sunday said, “By the way the state ministers are speaking, it is clear that the BJP government has no respect for women and have no intention or desire to protect them. To compare the population of the state to the number of rapes and justify the crime just brings out the BJP’s anti-woman mentality.”

 

Vijay Shah, Foot-in-mouth Tribal welfare minister in soup over ‘sexist’ remarks again #Madhyapradesh #WTFnews


Venugopal Pillai & Rajesh Jauhri, TNN | Apr 16, 2013, 02.37 AM IST

INDORE: Tribal welfare minister Vijay Shah is at it again. Bigmouth Shah has landed himself into a controversy over remarks involving Sadhna Singh wife of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at the inaugural ceremony of a summer camp in Jhabua on Sunday afternoon. Shah had raised a stir and invoked sharp criticism over his remarks post Nirbhaya gang rape case that the parents of the girls staying in tribal hostels should be responsible for their safety.

The minister referring to distribution of warm clothes to girls in hostels went a bit too far dragging Sadhna Singh (Bhabhiji) stating that it was she who forced Shivraj to approve the programme to provide warm clothes for girls residing in state government hostels. He said, “Maine bhabhiji se kaha, chalo ghumakar lata hun, kabhi- kabhi dewar ke sath bhi chala kijiye. Bhabhi ne chatron ko thand me thithurte dekha to boli ki garam kapde kyun nahi diye. Fir unhone bhaisahab ko kaha ki ladkiyon ko kapde dilao nahi to tum bhi thithur jaoge” (I asked Bhabhiji (CM’s wife) to come with me as she always used to tour with bhaiya (CM). We went to a girls’ hostel where girls were reeling under extreme cold, on which bhabhi inquired why the girls were not provided with warm clothes. She was annoyed and asked bhaiya to provide warm clothes to girls warning that otherwise he too will have to shiver out in cold).

Repling to Jhabua district collector Jaishree Kiyawat’s request for providing track suits to the girls, Vijay Shah said in chaste Hindi: T shirt- track suit ka chakkar chodo, do-do t-shirt denge mast wali. Aur niche ka bhi denge, kya kehta hain use– lower. Lower to niche wala hi hota hai na? (“Leave aside track suit… ‘

Shah referring to his maiden visit to Jhabua in 2004 said- “Pehla woh bhulaye nahi bhoolta. Batao, pehla mamla koi bhoolta hai kya? Cheez hi aisi hai, sabhi samajhte hain na? (first ‘of anything’ is never forgotten. Can anybody forget the ‘first’ time? It is like that, all must have understood). However, majority of the officials, teachers and others refused to speak on this issue when one of the camp participant, Jyoti Rajput told TOI over phone that she, along with herfriends were shocked to hear such words from a minister of the state cabinet. She further stated that she was very junior but there were many seniors present in the inaugural ceremony of the camp but nobody was able to raise his voice.

When TOI contacted Vijay Shah over phone, he said, “Chief minister’s wife Sadhana Singh is a motherly figure for him. Once she was with him on a trip to a girls’ hostel in Khandwa, she had objected on seeing girls without warm clothes, even in winters. On this, I had apprised her that there was no sanction for warm clothes from the government and later Bhabhiji took up the matter with the chief minister that resulted in quick sanction of funds for the same”

#India – Minister blames Swiss tourist for gangrape #Vaw #WTFnews


MADHYA PRADESH, Updated Mar 17, 2013 at 09:48pm IST

Bhopal: The Datia Police have arrested six people in connection with the alleged gangrape of a Swiss national even as the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister said the couple should have informed the police about their travel plans for additional security. The suspects – six members of a nomadic tribe in the area – have been arrested and a stolen laptop and a mobile phone have been seized from them.

The Swiss tourist was assaulted when she was camping outside a village with her partner during a cycling trip. “The police had detained 25 people and were interrogating them. During interrogation the names of these accused cropped up. They were searched and have been identified,” RK Gurjar, Inspector, Datia, said.

But immediately after the arrests, the state Home Minister Umashankar Gupta caused a major embarrassment by blaming the Swiss tourists for the incident. Gupta said tourists arriving in Madhya Pradesh flout safety norms by not informing the police of their whereabouts.

“The rape of the Swiss national is unfortunate but foreign travellers should inform the police about their movement so that they can be provided with adequate protection. They often don’t follow state’s rules,” Gupta said.

The Minister‘s statement comes at a time when pressure is building for the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government because of the alarming number of sexual assaults in the state.

 

#India – Drunk Man wakes up sterilized in a Madhya Pradesh hospital #WTFNEWS


By, TNN | Mar 17, 2013,

Bring 500 for sterilisation, take home a Nano

 Pic- Bring 500 for sterilisation, take home a Nano

JABALPUR: When Rajkumar Ahirwar accepted an offer on March 13 to go to the neighborhood adda (local pub) from Deepak Rajak, a casual acquaintance, he had little idea what awaited him. The 22-year-old from Ashok Nagar woke up from his drunken stupor in a government district hospital the next day with a certificate in his pocket that said he had been vasectomised

In a bid to achieve sterilisation targets, touts are running riot in parts of Madhya Pradesh even as government functionaries are being induced to get more people for these operations. The promises range from a Nanocar for arranging 500 such patients, a fridge for 50 and a 10 gm goldcoin for 25.

“Complaints have been pouring in of people being forced to undergo vasectomies and tubectomies,” a source in the health department said. “These incidents show the hollowness of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan‘s assurance in February last year that he would ensure such practices aren’t encouraged.”

Alarmingly, many of those being given the “treatment” include the unmarried and the mentally challenged. Sources said some of them were even in their 70s. There have also been complaints of lower level officers intimidating the poor to sign up for the procedure by threatening to cancel their BPL cards and other facilities.

The prime victims, quite predictably, are the hapless tribals ignorant of their rights and poor dalits too feeble to fend off the pressure. A senior government doctor in Mandla alleged that Baiga tribals were sterilized in Dindori and Shahdol district hospitals recently but the issue was hushed up. In January, three women died in a sterilization camp held in Vidisha. Here, too, no responsibility was fixed. A substantial chunk of people queuing up at sterilization camps are from the tribal belts of Barwani, Khargone, Alirajpur and Jhabua. “It is shocking that in many cases the patients aren’t given discharge cards after the operation,” says Madhuri, a member of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), an NGO. This means that in case of any medical complications the health department cannot be held accountable.

Doctors, too, seem to have turned into butchers with many busy notching up the numbers. According to standard norms, a surgeon is expected to do 30-50 operations a day, but in

Indore and Malwa regions doctors are openly boasting of 500 daily surgeries. However, Dr Ranjana Gupta, joint director, MP Health Services, dismissed reports of underhand dealings or forced sterilisations and insisted that the instances were vastly exaggerated.

But hospitals are clearly on an overdrive to beat the March 31 deadline to reach their targets. “That’s why the bizarre incentives like car and gold coin,” said a doctor who refused to come on record. JADS has already filed a PIL on maternal health with the Indore bench of the high court where the issue of sterilisations and the callous approach of health functionaries have been highlighted.

 

Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims file petition for reissuing notice to Dow Chemicals


clean up Bhopal now

clean up Bhopal now (Photo credit: Ascanio)

 

SATURDAY, 01 DECEMBER 2012 18:32
STAFF REPORTER | BHOPAL, Pioneer

 

Bhopal gas tragedy victims have filed a petition for reissuing the notice to Dow Chemicals Limited, USA. A victim’s delegation also met Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday demanding compensation for the environmental loss due to the tragedy.
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan Convener Abdul Jabbar said a petition has been filed by the organisation for reissuing of a notice issued by CJM Bhopal in January 2005 in wake of lifting of the stay in October this year. In January 2005 CJM issued a showcause notice to Dow Chemicals to reply that since they are the new owner of Union Carbide now why they should not be liable for the gas tragedy.
The organisation has also demanded that report of present status of a case filed by CBI in Delhi Metropolitan court in which permanent warrant has been issued against Warren Anderson and the sensitive gas tragedy file which at present is with Kochar Commission should be submitted before the CJM so that the hearing may proceed. Jabbar further said that a delegation led by him met Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chief Secretary R Parshuram on Friday put their demands before them.
The main demands include that the criminal case of the gas leak tragedy should be heard in a special court so that the case can be completed speedily. The other demand is that the Indian Government should ask for compensation from Dow Chemicals for the environmental loss occurred due to the gas leak. They also demanded that a review of rehabilitation work and also the compensation amount should be done earnestly.

 

 

Habeaus Corpus Application Filed in Jabalpur High Court Against Illegal Arrest of Medha Patkar and Others


 

 Medha Continues her Indefinite Fast in Jail

Suniti S R and Prasad Bagwe Start Indefinite Fast in Yeravada Jail, Pune Against Illegal Detention. Refuse to Apply for Bail.

Around 250 Solidarity workers protested outside Madhya Pradesh Bhavan, Delhi. Support pours in from across country. Protests planned in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Elsewhere

Anna Hazare (IAC), Rajindar Sachar (PUCL), Swami Agnivesh, Manju Mohan (Socialist Janata Party), Bhupendra Rawat(DSG), Vinod Singh(Kisan Manch), Piyush (AISA) stand in solidarity with Dr. Sunilam, Medha Patkar, Advocate Aradhana Bhargava & others

New Delhi, November 6 : Medha Patkar’s and others bail application could not be filed since District Collector kept misleading the advocates and others. Initially they booked them under Section 151 (s noted in jail diary), the bail plea for which was not even admitted in the court by City Judicial Magistrate yesterday citing pressure from administration. Today, realising the mistake and trying to cover for his junior’s action they added charges under Section 188, which requires bail from judiciary. Challenging this, Anurag Modi of Jan Sangharsh Morcha has moved a habeaus corpus in Jabalpur Bench of the High Court, which will be heard tomorrow. Meanwhile, in Chaurai Tehsil Court, bail plea for Advocate Aradhana Bhargava was rejected, even though the charges of her arrest are not serious, Section 151. NAPM condemns this draconian act of the Chindwada administration and will challenge it in the Court and ensure that action is taken against the SP and DC responsible for continued arrest.

Medha Patkar continued her fast in jail on third day of her detention. In the afternoon, her blood pressure was reported high, though there is no immediate danger to her health but given her recent back injuries it will have adverse impact on her overall health. She also received a notice from the Jail Superintendent that she will be force bed and action against her will taken if she continues her indefinite fast, which is a crime under prisons act. She has refused and vehemently protested any action and challenged to take them to Court for all illegality.

Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan meanwhile postponed his visit to the district citing official reasons but we believe it is due to increasing pressure and the shame it has brought to MP government from all over the country.

Delhi Solidarity Group along with other organizations organised a protest demonstration at Madhya Pradesh Bhawan today demanding the Madhya Pradesh Government to release Dr. Sunilam, Suryavanshi Parmandal and Prahlad Agarwal who have been sentenced for life on charges of murder, arson and others.

The protest was attended by 250 activists, students, organizations & solidarity workers belonging to the “Delhi Solidarity Group”. The demonstration was also attended by Anna Hazare, Arvind Gaur & few others from the Anna Team who expressed their solidarity & support to Dr. Sunilam & the farmers of Madhya Pradesh. Anna Hazare said “The Government should withdraw the false cases on Dr. Sunilam & others and listen to the voices of the farmers. If these demands are not fulfilled I will sit with the people of Chindwara in their struggle.” Anna along with Bhupendra Singh Rawat from Delhi Solidarity Group & Arvind Gaur met with the Resident Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh Bhawan & submitted the memorandum.

Delhi Solidarity Group condemned vindictive move by the Madhya Pradesh Government and its siding with corrupt political forces and using its administrative machinery to facilitate pecuniary benefits to private corporations. Activists demanded that Madhya Pradesh Government :

  • immediately release Dr. Sunilam, Medha Patkar & others and withdraw cases, against them and others of Kisan Sangharshn Samiti.
  • action against police officers who are behind the Farmers’ massacre in Multai on January 12th 1998
  • stop ongoing forced land acquisitions in Chhindwara district for the Pench Water Diversion Project.

NAPM also stands behind its colleagues, 90 people, who are in Yeravada Jail, Pune for no fault. They had a demonstration and a very good meeting with the District Commissioner, Pune yesterday but even then they were arrested and sent to jail on Section 151 for two days. Activists refuse to seek bail or sign bonds for their release. We will challenge their illegal detention in Court and continue to fight for the rights of the Waang Marathwadi Dam, Tata Dam and Lavasa Hill city affected people.

Sandeep Pandey, Ulka Mahajan, Prafulla Samantara, Akhil Gogoi, Arundhati Dhuru, Maj. Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere, Sister Celia, Gabriele Dietrich, Roma, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Vimal Bhai, Rajendra Ravi, Ramakrishna Raju, Saraswati Kavula, Gautam Bandopahdyay, Shrikanth, Madhuresh Kumar

 

for details call : 9818905316

 

A habeaus corpus writ petition has been filed at jablpur High Court by Anurag Modi, Jan Sangharsh Morcha through advocate Raghvendra Kumar, the petition is listed to be heard tomorrow. The brief not of the petition is below, the copy of the petition and notice issued under section 144 of CrPC issued by Chhindwara colletor is attched.

 

That in order to deny a constitutional right of peaceful protest against illegal activity of the contractor of   Pench Diversion Project by   Adani Group of Companies, on 04-11-2012, the authorities of District Chhindwara first of all kept Ms. Medha Patkar, leader of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), illegally detained in the house of Advocate Anuradha Bhargav at Chhindwara and in the late night   on the same day along with 19 other villagers illegally lodged her at Chhindwara jail.

 

That Ms. Medha Patkar arrived in Chhindwara town on 4th November 2012 early morning by Indore Chhindwara Penchveli Express.   At Chhindwara Railway Station she was informed by certain authorities that section 144 of Cr.P.C. has been enforced in Chhindwara district and entry of any person other than local resident has been prohibited in Chhindwara, Chourai and Amarwada Tahsil of the district, though no such written notice of expressing the reasons and intention was served on her. She was not allowed to proceed for her scheduled participation in ongoing agitation near Machagora village.

 

That on 04-11-2012 itself in the morning, she went to the house of Advocate Aradhana Bhargav to pay condolence as her mother had recently expired. She was house arrested for the entire day at Advocate Aradhana Bhargav’s Residence at Chhindwara and despite her written submission and humble request to the District Magistrate, Chhindwara for permission to proceed for her scheduled program of participating in peaceful demonstration at Machagora village with minimum number of people as permitted, she was not allowed to leave the house. Around 10.30 P. M. in the night when she was having meeting with a few dam affected people inside the house where she was house arrested, she was   forcefully picked up from inside the house by the police and along with her colleague Mukesh, she was lodged at Chhindwara jail.

That she was not informed of reasons and charges when she was being arrested nor was she produced before any magistrate, judicial or executive, at the time of arrest or after the arrest. She along with other persons was not sent under any judicial order. That other 19 farmers were also arrested and first taken at different locations and later on were lodged at Chhindwara jail. None of her family members or colleagues of the organization were informed of her detention, subsequent arrest and her being sent to Chhindwara jail.

That she was not provided with nor was allowed to consult any lawyer. That on the basis of hearsay and the newspaper reports one Local Advocate Mr. D. K. Prajapati got to know that Ms. Medha Patkar and 19 other persons were arrested under Sections 151, 107 and 116 of Cr. P. C. He approached the court of Sub Divisional Magistrate (City Magistrate) for seeking bail for Ms. Medha Patkar and 19 others but the magistrate refused to take any cognizance of the application for bail and take it on record and left his office and seat in a jiffy

 

#India-Where women fear to tread #MP #VAW #Indiashining


MAHIM PRATAP SINGH, The Hindu

In the State that leads in incidents of rape, the shame-inducing statistics are pushing the administration into action

Time was when Payal (name changed to protect her identity), a standard VII student from Madhya Pradesh’s tribal dominated Betul district, had only school, friends and family on her mind. But her little world changed dramatically in March this year.

The 15-year-old, a resident of Betul’s Majhinagar slum, was abducted in public by a gangster, Rajesh Harore.

Rajesh (32) then took the tribal girl to a shanty and raped her. But that was not all. Two weeks later Rajesh, along with two other men, came to her house. As the helpless teenager watched, they shot her mother dead for having approaching the police.

Payal’s story is just one of the several thousand stories of rape that get scripted in Madhya Pradesh every year.

Away from the kind of media glare that Haryana found itself facing after a string of rapes committed recently, in Madhya Pradesh the crime continues unabated and with impunity.

Over the last two decades, the State has led the country in the number of rapes committed, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data (1991-2011).

Only last year, it recorded 3,406 cases of rape, which means nine women were raped here every 24 hours.

In the first six months of this year (January-July 2012), there were 1,927 cases of rape — an increase of 6.11 per cent over the number of rapes committed during the same period in 2010 and 2011. Overall, the State accounted for 14 per cent of the rapes committed across the country in 2011.

Among cities, the State capital, Bhopal, with 100 rapes, was second only to the metropolises Delhi (453) and Mumbai (221), while the State’s industrial capital, Indore, stood fifth, registering 91 rapes.

Floating population a reason

The statistics tell a horrifying story. But why are so many women raped in Madhya Pradesh every year?

According to the police, the State’s huge floating population is one reason. Also, they say, unlike in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan or Haryana, they never turn away a complainant. Every rape complaint is registered.

Perhaps, another more important reason is the conservative attitude of people in M.P., as in certain other States, towards women.

“In most parts of these States, the girl child is still considered a liability. Women are perceived to be good for only two things — sex and giving birth to a boy. It is almost like they need the women, but not the girls,” says Anuradha Shankar, Inspector-General of Police, Indore.

Not surprisingly, the top five States in terms of the number of rapes — Madhya Pradesh (3,406), West Bengal (2,363), Uttar Pradesh (2,042), Rajasthan (1,800) and Maharashtra (1,701) — also have dismal sex ratios.

While Madhya Pradesh (930), Rajasthan (926) and Uttar Pradesh (908) have sex ratios below the national average of 940, West Bengal (947) and Maharashtra (946) are just on the threshold.

Attitudes within the government too are a cause for concern. At least two ministers of the Shivraj Singh Chauhan cabinet have publicly blamed victims for bringing rape upon themselves by dressing provocatively.

In April, the Urban Development Minister, Babulal Gaur, blamed short dresses of girls for the rising number of sexual harassment cases. Three months later, the Industries Minister, Kailash Vijayvargiya, while commenting on the Guwahati molestation case, advised girls to dress in sync with Indian culture.

He went a step ahead and said that members of the National Commission for Women team who went to probe the Guwahati incident looked like participants of a fashion show.

Low conviction rates

But if provocative dressing by young girls was indeed the reason for rape, more revealing are the statistics that show that rapists have no age preference when it came to choosing targets.

According to the NCRB, Madhya Pradesh registered the highest number of rapes of women above 50 years of age, along with the maximum number of minor adolescent rapes — 1,195 cases.

Of these, 886 girls were between 14-18 years while 309 were between 10-14 years.

Earlier this year, the State Home Minister, Umashankar Gupta, admitted in the Vidhan Sabha that 3,176 minor girls were raped in the State over the last two years. That’s four minor girls a day.

At 6,665 cases, M.P. also had the highest number of molestation cases during 2011. Even as rapes have been rising, conviction rates have remained low with Madhya Pradesh recording an abysmal rate of 23.6 per cent during 2011.

Police say rape is a complicated crime and is difficult to stop since “about 65 per cent cases involve people known to the victim.”

New department

“Earlier this year, when a lot of rapes were being reported from Indore, we did a survey and found that 22 out of the 25 rapes reported were committed by relatives, family members or persons known to the victim,” says Ms Shankar.

The State has been trying hard to get rid of the shame-inducing statistics. A step in that direction is the setting up of the Crime against Women (CaW) branch. Headed by ADG Aruna Mohan Rao, it was set up this June. The unit has four Inspectors-General of Police functioning under the ADG. The IGs, one each in Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur, are tasked with monitoring cases of crime against women on a daily basis.

Besides, there are four deputy-directors of prosecution (DDP) who monitor all cases in the courts during the trial stage in order to check the abysmal conviction rate.

The new department has also undertaken a ground level study in order to analyse all rape cases, follow-up on pending investigation and identify reasons for low conviction rates. CaW is still in its infancy, but Ms Rao claims it has started showing results.

“There has been an increased level of sensitisation within the police force. Only the constables are yet to be adequately sensitised but we are working towards that. We will assess the results once the specialised branch completes six months of operations,” she says. Even then, only an assessment of how safe women in Madhya Pradesh feel, will provide the true measure of CaW’s success or otherwise. Right now, they live in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.

Immediate Release- Police atrocities on Farmers on Rise in M.P


PRESS STATEMENT

  • Police Atrocities on the Farmers and Nature Based Communities on the Rise in Madhya Pradesh

  • One Killed in Police Firing in Raisen; and 53 Arrested in Anuppur while protesting Land Acquisition

New Delhi, May 8th : Farmers and those dependent on the land and other natural resources are constantly at the receiving end of the police violence these days. Land conflicts are the order of the day and it seems they are here to stay given the corporates hunger for the land, water and forests for commercial exploitation and profit. We strongly oppose and condemn any such forceful acquisition of these scarce resources from people by the government and corporations. NAPM has demanded and continues to struggle for the repeal of the Land Acquisition Act and enactment of a national Development Planning Act. The proposed Bill which is now with the Parliamentary Standing Committee doesn’t address all the concerns raised by us, hope the Committee will take note of the suggestions given by us. India as a nation can only have a healthy growth and development if we look after the interests of the farmers, peasants, landless workers, dalits, divasis and those living on the margins of the society.

Police Firing in Raisen

We strongly condemn the death of Harisingh, 35-year-old former sarpanch, yesterday while a group of farmers blocked traffic in Raisen protesting the suicide by another farmer a day before and shortage of gunny bags. Bhagwan Singh Rajput, a farmer who was not able to sell his wheat for past several days, committed suicide in Barni Jagir village of Raisen on Sunday. It is ironic that while the farmers continue to die the state and central governments rather than providing relief and taking action are blaming each other. Farmers have been agitating since April 16th on this issue but finally it is the death of farmers which has nudged the governments to act. It is extremely unfortunate that the dead body of Mr. Harisingh was not handed over to the relatives after post mortem and police in their presence burnt it on their own. The situation is tense in the villages since police is making arrests and has imposed curfew in the region.

Police Action in Jaithari, Anuppur

In another instance on May 5th, farmers protesting against the forceful land acquisition and demanding higher compensation and jobs for the land acquired for the 1200 MW Moser Baer Thermal Power Plant in Jaithari Tehsil were lathi charged and arrested. Nearly 27 people have received serious injuries and many more are injured. Farmers here have been agitating against the land acquisition for a long time under the banner of Bhartiya Kisan Union. The land was acquired from the farmers at the rate of Rs. 65,000 per acre, whereas, the farmers have been demanding a much higher compensation rate. There have been ongoing negotiations but the company has failed to keep the agreement. Jagdish Singh, Rampal Singh and 16 more have been slapped with serious charges under Section 307 and others, while more than 150 people have been arrested.

Mose Baer is currently developing the first phase of 1200 MW (2X600 MW) for which it has acquired 996 acres of land including 93.6 acre of forest land. In the second phase they intend to add 1320 MW additional capacity. It needs to be noted that Anuppur district has a high tribal population (36.4%) and as per the clearance given they need to seek forest clearance under EPA, settle the rights if any under FRA. The Environmental Clearance was also challenged in the High Court citing irregularities and non-compliance with the PESA provisions since the land is in 5thSchedule. Anuppur is a water stress region but even then a thermal power plant of this magnitude has been sanctioned. The EIA report mentions that the 290 families will be displaced by the project but the status of Resettlement and Rehabilitation is also not known till date.

We believe there is a need to do a thorough review of the project, resettlement and rehabilitation, settlement of rights of the adivasis, if any, and pay adequate compensation to the farmers and others who have lost their livelihood due to the project.

Even as we denounce the heavy handedness and the police action against protesters we demand action and a judicial enquiry in both the instances and adequate compensation to the victims and stop harassing the farmers and unconditionally release all those in jail. It is unfortunate that while MP Government claims to be bringing in prosperity for all but the farmers and nature based communities continue to suffer due to large number of thermal power plants coming in Chhindwara, Singrauli, Jhansi and the dams on the Narmada and other rivers. It is high time that Chief Minster, Shivraj Singh Chauhan listened to the people and not sacrificed their lives for the needs of ‘development’ of the other regions. The attack on farmers and commons, and pursuit of neo-liberal policies will only severely impact the food security of the nation and also is a worrying sign for the shrinking democratic spaces for those protesting these.

 

Medha Patkar, Dr. Sunilam, Prafulla Samantara, Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Anand Mazgaonkar, Bhupendera Singh Rawat, Rajendra Ravi, Vimal Bhai, Madhuresh Kumar

NAPM – National Alliance of People’s Movements
Tel: 91 11 2437 4535
napmindia@gmail.com | http://www.napm-india.org/

Journalist, family murdered; hand of mining mafia suspected


       Feb 19, 2012, Mahim Pratap Singh, Hindu         

Chandrika Rai had been writing consistently against illegal racket

The brutal murder of a senior journalist and his entire family on Saturday night in Madhya Pradesh‘s Umaria distict, over 450 km from here, has sent shockwaves across the State with fingers being pointed at the illegal coal mining mafia active in the region.

Journalist Chandrika Rai (42), his wife Durga (40) and their two teenage children — son Jalaj (19) and daughter Nisha (17) — were murdered using a sharp object at their residence, police said. The bodies were found in four separate rooms.

Mr. Rai was a freelance journalist who contributed regularly to the Hindi daily Navbharat and English daily The Hitavada. He had been writing consistently against the illegal coal mining in the region. He had written a series of articles alleging the involvement of a local BJP leader in illegal mining.

The district is known for the Umaria coalfield under the control of the South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. However, illegal coal mining is also rampant in the region.

“The local illegal mining mafia has resorted to this horrific crime to silence the power of his pen,” said Congress MLA and leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Ajay Singh. “The BJP government gives open protection to the local mining mafia. Recently Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and some of his Ministers were seen sharing the stage with wanted criminals. In such a situation, criminals have no fear of the law and commit such mind-numbing crimes with impunity whenever their interests are harmed.”

The crime came to light when Mr. Rai’s brother broke open the door on Saturday evening after he became suspicious on seeing it locked from the outside the entire day.

Linked to abduction?

The Umaria police believe the murders could also be linked to the kidnap of the seven-year-old son of a government official for ransom on Wednesday. He was rescued by the police on Thursday.

“DGP Raut visited the crime scene on Sunday and has ordered an STF probe,” Umaria SP Manohar Singh Jamara told The Hindu. “He also spoke to journalists here and assured them that the criminals would be brought to book as soon as possible. We have constituted a team to look into the crime and assist the STF which will arrive here tomorrow [Monday].”
Land dispute

Another angle the police are investigating relates to a land dispute involving Mr. Rai and another local individual.