Autonomy for tribal communities in central India #indigenousrights


The Hindu : June 18, 2013

Right place, wrong arrangement

Sonum Gayatri Malhotra, 

Moving governance of tribal areas in central India from the Fifth to the Sixth Schedule will help address the demand for autonomy

(Sonum Gayatri Malhotra is with the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.)

The targeted attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh against the State Congress leadership in which V.C. Shukla, Mahendra Karma and the party’s other top leaders were killed has rekindled a familiar debate on the military aspects of counterinsurgency. However, the continuing cycle of violence in the State underscores the need for a closer examination of the social and political impact of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution through which the tribal areas of peninsular India are governed.

India’s population consists of 100 million tribal people who have constitutionally been addressed via two distinct avenues. The Fifth Schedule applies to an overwhelming majority of India’s tribes in nine States, while the Sixth Schedule covers areas that are settled in the northeastern States bordering China and Myanmar. Bastar district in Chhattisgarh is governed by the Fifth Schedule, but it wants to move into the Sixth Schedule.

The Sixth Schedule gives tribal communities considerable autonomy; The States of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Mizoram are autonomous regions under the Sixth Schedule. The role of the Governor and the State are subject to significant limitations, with greater powers devolved locally. The District Council and the Regional Council under the Sixth Schedule have real power to make laws, possibility on the various legislative subjects, receiving grants-in-aids from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the costs of schemes for development, health care, education, roads and regulatory powers to state control. The mandate towards Devolution, deconcentration and divestment determines the protection of their customs, better economic development and most importantly ethnic security.

The Fifth Schedule on the other hand fails because it has never been applied. Recent parliamentary moves to provide greater autonomy within the Fifth Schedule have not had the desired results. The 1996 PESA or Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act should have been a landmark for the tribal communities. It mandates the state to devolve certain political, administrative and fiscal powers to local governments elected by the communities. This became exclusive to the Fifth Schedule areas, to promote tribal self-government. PESA was meant to benefit not only the majority of tribals but also extended to cover minority non-tribal communities. It guarantees tribes half of the seats in the elected local governments and the seat of the chairperson at all hierarchical levels of the Panchayat system.

Samatha judgment

PESA was considered the most logical step in the Fifth Schedule areas to ensure tribal welfare and accountability. But, alas, it has not been properly implemented. Tribal communities have progressively been denied self-government and rights to their communities’ natural resources that should have been provided under the legislation. In its 1997 Samatha decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Schedule enjoined Governors to bar purchase of tribal land for mining activity by any entity that was not state-owned. This judgment however, led to an opposite reaction from the Ministry of Mines, and subsequent appeals from the Andhra Pradesh government claiming that Samatha would have an adverse effect not only on the mining sector but also on non-agricultural activities especially industrial activity and hence would impact the economic development throughout the country. In response, the Governors were then given unfettered authority in the transfer of Scheduled Tribe land to the government and allotment to non-tribals, altering the balance of power and undermining the stated goal of tribal autonomy.

Other examples abound, including the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Rights Act of December 2006, which ostensibly recognises the right of communities to protect and manage their forests (as does PESA), but only if the state decides whether a certain region is denoted as Village Forest or Reserved Forest. In this process, many communities are evicted without a proper channel of rehabilitation.

For these reasons, it is evident that PESA and the Fifth Schedule have been counterproductive, inconsistent in addressing issues regarding tribal rights and the propensity of failure justifies serious debates on the existing endeavours.

Many tribal voices are therefore demanding introduction of the Sixth Schedule in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, which would give them a special status to participate directly in governance as in the North East States currently under the Sixth Schedule.

Furthermore, the Sixth Schedule has certain features that can be implanted in any governance model for tribal areas, particularly concepts of constitutional and legislative subjects that are exclusive to local governments. An autonomous district council will give greater role in directing administrative requirements without depending on the Central State structure.

However, the working of a system is always different from the Idea of it. The Sixth Schedule that embodies autonomy has its own shortcomings; breakdown of laws, elections not being contested, rather than empowerment there is exclusion that fails to provide much-needed protection to tribes in the absence of political will, and, live by the mercy of government funds.

But in spite of the negatives underlying the Sixth Schedule, Bastar district envisages a true form of local bodies like the District Council and Regional Council that have provided a fair degree of autonomy.

(Sonum Gayatri Malhotra is with the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.)

#India – Tribal land is Eklavya’s thumb, Dronacharya, the State is demanding as the price for ‘development’


There can also be an alternative universe

PK Vijayan and Karen Gabriel
June 12, 2013, Hindustan Times
Mahendra Karma engineered Salwa Judum (SJ), a vigilante tribal group hired and armed by the State-corporate land and mining nexus to exterminate tribals resisting resource loot. Karma was responsible for the execution of thousands of tribals, and the torture, rape, displacement and destitution oflakhs. This is the man the Congress nurtured, protected and now mourns. The State has never regretted the lakhs of civilian deaths it has caused, whether through Operation Green Hunt (OGH) or otherwise.State and corporate-sponsored violence remains under-reported and frequently justified. The government urges Maoists to eschew violence but itself plans military attacks on civilians. Notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s directives, SJ continues in its new avatar as the ‘Koya commandos’.  Abuse of State power, corporate loot and violation of human rights during OGH (and intensifying in Phase II of OGH) — all in the guise of ‘national security’ and ‘development’ — led to national and international protests and bad press. The State responded with news blackouts. The State’s right to violence is conceded only if the State is regarded as above the law, impartial and anonymous. We need to ask inconvenient questions like, ‘why has the State been violent, since when, and for whose benefit?’ ‘Why are the tribals retaliating?’ They are tired of being “collateral damage” in the intensely violent and unjust privatisation of resources (protected under the Fifth Schedule) and national wealth that is passing for ‘development’.

All areas designated Maoist are also areas in which memorandums of understanding amounting to trillions of rupees have been signed with many MNC’s for mineral extraction. When this looting is supplemented with the mythologies of ‘democracy’ and ‘progress’, the villain becomes the anti-development, non-progressive Maoist tribal. The D Bandhopadhyay report of the Planning Commission notes that the Maoists have undertaken development that the State should have. Genuine pro-poor development should enhance tribals’ productive relations with the land, not disposses them.

The tribals are asked to ‘eschew violence’ and ‘join the democratic mainstream’. But the electoral process that constitutes this ‘democratic mainstream’ is a cynical numbers game. The ‘first-past-the-post’ system has meant that parties need address the demands of only the voting populace of very specific constituencies, differentiated along lines of tribe, caste, religion, etc. And that too, only on the influential sections within them, who in turn will (often coercively) ensure the remaining votes. This has not only created  long-standing traditions of nepotism and inherited privilege, it has meant that, after six-plus decades of independence, the needs of the vast majority remain unaddressed. They have not opted out of the ‘mainstream’: they have been systematically excluded.

This exclusion has resulted in systemic, systematic and mind-boggling poverty, destitution, violence and deaths. This ‘political mainstream’ has failed so completely that even these deaths have no meaning for it. They are inconsequential, never on par with the individual deaths of the privileged who constitute the ‘political mainstream’.

The coveted tribal land is Eklavya’s thumb. This is what the Dronacharya of the State is demanding as the price for ‘development’. Why should Eklavya concede? Dronacharya and Eklavya are nowhere near equal, and well-intentioned if naïve calls for both to respect the Geneva Convention should understand this. The State denies that it is at war with its own people, and given their disparity in strength, the Maoists are hardly likely to endorse the Convention unilaterally.

If the Maoists have an alternative understanding of democracy and development that may prove more inclusive and sustainable, then perhaps it is time to listen to them, rather than banning and ‘encountering’ them. The post-May 25 suggestions to intensify police and military action in these regions will prove disastrous. The State must recognise its own strength and responsibilities, and make the first move toward peace by lifting the ban. It must allow transparent media coverage and observers in these regions. The question — whether one is for or against Maoist ideology —  trivialises, distorts and distracts from the central issues.

PK Vijayan is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Hindu College. Karen Gabriel is Associate Professor, Department of English, St. Stephen’s College
The views expressed by the authors are personal

 

#India – Why Salwa Judum was held Unconstitutional by Supreme Court


 

Excerpts from

NANDINI SUNDAR & ORS.
VERSUS
STATE OF CHATTISGARH

 

What is ominous, and forebodes grave danger to the security
and unity of this nation, the welfare of all of our people,
and the sanctity of our constitutional vision and goals, is
that the State is drawing the wrong conclusions, as pointed
out by the Expert Group of the Planning Commission cited
earlier. Instead of locating the problem in the socioeconomic matrix,

and the sense of disempowerment wrought by

the false developmental paradigm without a human face, the
powers that be in India are instead propagating the view
that this obsession with economic growth is our only path,
and that the costs borne by the poor and the deprived,
disproportionately, are necessary costs. Amit Bhaduri, a
noted economist, has observed:
“If we are to look a little beyond our middle class noses,
beyond the world painted by mainstream media, the picture is
less comforting, less assuring…. Once you step outside the
charmed circle of a privileged minority expounding on the
virtues of globalization, liberalization and privatization,
things appear less certain…. According to the estimate of the
Ministry of Home Affairs, some 120 to 160 out of a total of 607
1 Ajay K. Mehra, supra note 114
districts are “Naxal infested”. Supported by a disgruntled and
dispossessed peasantry, the movement has spread to nearly onefourth of Indian territory. And yet, all that this government
does is not to face the causes of the rage and despair that
nurture such movements; instead it considers it a menace, a lawand-order problem…. that is to be rooted out by the violence of
the state, and congratulates itself when it uses violence
effectively to crush the resistance of the angry poor…. For the
sake of higher growth, the poor in growing numbers will be left
out in the cold, undernourished, unskilled and illiterate,
totally defenceless against the ruthless logic of a global
market…. [T]his is not merely an iniquitous process. High growth
brought about in this manner does not simply ignore the question
of income distribution, its reality is far worse. It threatens
the poor with a kind of brutal violence in the name of
development, a sort of ‘developmental terrorism’, violence
perpetrated on the poor in the name of development by the state
primarily in the interest of corporate aristocracy, approved by
the IMF and the World Bank, and a self-serving political class….
Academics and media persons have joined the political chorus of
presenting the developmental terrorism as a sign of progress, an
inevitable cost of development. The conventional wisdom of our
time is that, There Is No Alternative…. And yet this so widely
agreed upon model of development is fatally flawed. It has
already been rejected and will be rejected again by the growing
strength of our democratic polity, and by direct resistance of
the poor threatened with ‘developmental terrorism”.
15.As if the above were not bad enough, another dangerous
strand of governmental action seems to have been evolved
out of the darkness that has begun to envelope our policy
makers, with increasing blindness to constitutional wisdom
and values. On the one hand the State subsidises the
private sector, giving it tax break after tax break, while
simultaneously citing lack of revenues as the primary
reason for not fulfilling its obligations to provide
adequate cover to the poor through social welfare measures.
On the other hand, the State seeks to arm the youngsters
amongst the poor with guns to combat the anger, and unrest,
amongst the poor.
16.Tax breaks for the rich, and guns for the youngsters
amongst poor, so that they keep fighting amongst15
themselves, seems to be the new mantra from the mandarins
of security and high economic policy of the State. This,
apparently, is to be the grand vision for the development
of a nation that has constituted itself as a sovereign,
secular, socialist and democratic republic. Consequently,
questions necessarily arise as to whether the policy
makers, and the powers that be, are in any measure being
guided by constitutional vision, values, and limitations
that charge the State with the positive obligation of
ensuring the dignity of all citizens.
17.What the mandarins of high policies forget is that a
society is not a forest where one could combat an
accidental forest fire by starting a counter forest fire
that is allegedly controlled. Human beings are not
individual blades of dry grass. As conscious beings, they
exercise a free will. Armed, the very same groups can turn,
and often have turned, against other citizens, and the
State itself. Recent history is littered with examples of
the dangers of armed vigilante groups that operate under
the veneer of State patronage or support.
18.Such misguided policies, albeit vehemently and muscularly
asserted by some policy makers, are necessarily contrary to
the vision and imperatives of our constitution which
demands that the power vested in the State, by the people,
be only used for the welfare of the people – all the
people, both rich and the poor -, thereby assuring
conditions of human dignity within the ambit of fraternity
amongst groups of them. Neither Article 14, nor Article 21,
can even remotely be conceived as being so bereft of
substance as to be immune from such policies. They are
necessarily tarnished, and violated in a primordial sense
by such policies. The creation of such a miasmic16
environment of dehumanization of youngsters of the deprived
segments of our population, in which guns are given to them
rather than books, to stand as guards for the rapine,
plunder and loot in our forests, would be to lay the road
to national destruction. It is necessary to note here that
this Court had to intercede and order the Government of
Chattisgarh to get the security forces to vacate the
schools and hostels that they had occupied; and even after
such orders, many schools and hostels still remain in the
possession and occupancy of the security forces. Such is
the degree of degeneration of life, and society. Facts
speak for themselves.
19.Analyzing the causes for failure of many nation-states, in
recent decades, Robert I. Rotberg, a professor of the
Kennedy School, Harvard University, posits the view that
“[N]ation- states exist to provide a decentralized method
of delivering political (public) goods to persons living
within designated parameters (borders)…. They organize and
channel the interests of their people, often but not
exclusively in furtherance of national goals and values.”
Amongst the purposes that nation-states serve, that are
normatively expected by citizenries, are included the task
of buffering or manipulation of “external forces and
influences,” and mediation between “constraints and
challenges” of the external and international forces and
the dynamics of “internal economic, political, and social
realities.” In particular he notes:
“States succeed or fail across all or some of these dimensions.
But it is according to their performance – according to the
levels of their effective delivery of the most crucial political
goods – that strong states may be distinguished from weak ones,
and weak states from failed or collapsed states…. There is a
hierarchy of political goods. None is as crucial as the supply
of security, especially human security. Individuals alone,
almost exclusively in special or particular circumstances, can
attempt to secure themselves. Or groups of individuals can band17
together to organize and purchase goods or services that
maximize their sense of security. Traditionally, and usually,
however, individuals and groups cannot easily or effectively
substitute private security for the full spectrum of public
security. The state’s prime function is to provide that
political good of security – to prevent cross-border invasions
and infiltrations, to eliminate domestic threats to or attacks
upon the national order and social structure… and to stabilize
citizens to resolve their disputes with the state and with their
fellow human inhabitants without recourse to arms or other forms
of physical coercion.”1
20.The primary task of the State is the provision of security
to all its citizens, without violating human dignity. This
would necessarily imply the undertaking of tasks that would
prevent the emergence of great dissatisfaction, and
disaffection, on account of the manner and mode of
extraction, and distribution, of natural resources and
organization of social action, its benefits and costs. Our
Directive Principles of State Policy explicitly recognize
this. Our Constitution posits that unless we secure for our
citizens conditions of social, economic and political
justice for all who live in India, we would not have
achieved human dignity for our citizens, nor would we be in
a position to promote fraternity amongst groups of them.
Policies that run counter to that essential truth are
necessarily destructive of national unity and integrity. To
pursue socio-economic policies that cause vast disaffection
amongst the poor, creating conditions of violent politics
is a proscribed feature of our Constitution. To arrive at
such a situation, in actuality on account of such policies,
and then claim that there are not enough resources to
tackle the resulting socio-political unrest, and violence,
within the framework of constitutional values amounts to an
abdication of constitutional responsibilities. To claim
that resource crunch prevents the State from developing
1 “The Failure and Collapse of Nation-States – BREAKDOWN, PREVENTION AND FAILURE” in
“WHEN STATES FAIL: CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES” Robert I. Rotberg, Ed., Princeton
University Press (2004).18
appropriate capacity in ensuring security for its citizens
through well trained formal police and security forces that
are capable of working within the constitutional framework
would be an abandonment of a primordial function of the
State. To pursue policies whereby guns are distributed
amongst barely literate youth amongst the poor to control
the disaffection in such segments of the population would
be tantamount to sowing of suicide pills that could divide
and destroy society. Our youngsters are our most precious
resource, to be nurtured for a better tomorrow. Given the
endemic inequalities in our country, and the fact that we
are increasingly, in a demographic sense, a young
population, such a policy can necessarily be expected to
lead to national disaster.
21. Our constitution is most certainly not a “pact for national
suicide.”1 In the least, its vision does enable us, as
constitutional adjudicators to recognize, and prevent, the
emergence, and the institutionalization, of a policing
paradigm, the end point of which can only mean that the
entire nation, in short order, might have to gasp: “The
horror! The horror!”

DOWNLOAD FULL JUDGEMENT HERE

Download Report- Critical Observations on the Implementation FRA #Mustshare


The very enactment of the historic Forest Rights Act, 2006 by the Indian Parliament in the country
after the 60 years of India’s independence is a landmark constitutional reform. Campaign for
Survival and Dignity (CSD) played a vital role in mobilizing the tribals, forest dwellers and people’s
representatives at different levels in whole country and successfully got this Act passed by the Indian
Parliament which admitted for the first time in the history of India to have done historical injustice to
the tribals and forest dwellers before and after India’s independence. We believe that FRA aims at
reddressal of a numbers of problems arose due to the draconian Acts like Indian Forest Act, 1927 and
Land Acquisition Land, 1894 which were used to evict the tribals and the forest dwellers from their
homes and shelters like goats and cattle. The Forest Rights Act, 2006 not only revived the tribal self
governance regime in scheduled 5th area enforced by the Central PESA Act, 1996 but also it extended
the provisions of the PESA even to the non scheduled area(whole State) empowering the Village
Council, the Gram Sabha to decide over their fate and fate of their resources which has been upheld
by the Supreme Court, the highest Court of the nation in the Niyamgiri case on 18th April 2013.
All the State’s Apparatus has now to accept that “Gram Sabha” is the lowest unit or form of
“Government” having its own exclusive legislative, executive and judicial power and authority over
its stipulated areas like any other forms of Government at Block, District, State and Central level.
The FRA has also raised fundamental questions over the on-going Panchyatitaj systems;
representative system runs in different State and aims at implementation of direct democracy
sidelining the over empowered bureaucracy. Forest Rights Act, 2006 has also challenged the age-old
State hegemony over forest protection and conservation in the name of “scientific forest
management” and has strengthen the conservation regime handing it to the community people who
live and die in the forest.
As per the India State of Forest Report, 2011, the recorded forest area of the country is
769,538 km2, accounting for 23.41 % of the Country’s geographical area. The State of Odisha
constituting only 4.73 of India’s geographical area have around 7% of the total forest area of the
country. While the reserved forest is spread over 26329 km2 constituting 45.28%, Protected forest
spread over 15525 km2 constituting 26.70% and the Un-classed forest is found in 16282 km2
constituting 28% of the total forest area which is 37% of the total geographical area of the State.
However, as per the Odisha Government Report there is 15022058.35 acres constituting 39.16 % of
forest land in the State to its total geographical areas. It is reported that out of this 39.16 % of forest
land, the State Forest Department have 43.32 % of forest land including the reserved forest in the
State while around 52.26 % are Revenue forest land including the protected forest and rest 4.40 %
District Level Committee (DLC) forest land, the revenue land mentioned as DLC land in 1997 as per
the direction of the Supreme Court in connection with WP(c) No. 202/1995.
There is in total 8.21% of tribal population in India. Likewise the tribal population in Odisha
constitutes 22.13 % as per the 2001 census report mostly residing in the rural area. Also Govt. of
Odisha while targeting the implementation of the historic Forest Rights Act, 2006 in the State
referred the State of Forest Report, 1999 which stated that out of 46,989 villages in the State, there
are 29,302 villages located in close vicinity of forest which are to be covered under FRA. The GoO
also has estimated that out of 6420514 rural households, there are 1762342 ST households
constituting 27.44 % in the State. Besides, there is large number of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers
in the State depending on the forest for their subsistence needs to be covered under FRA. Besides,
Odisha has been the hub for the experiment of all the sensational issues in the country and always
been in the limelight of media may be for its ample deposit of mineral and natural resources or for
displacement, poverty, protest etc.

We believe that the effective implementation of this historic Act in its true letter and spirit would
definitely change the scenario of Odisha and resolve most of the socio-economic problems being
faced by the State including the problems of Outlawed Naxal. There has been much progress of
settlement of Individual forest rights of tribals and convergence of developmental progrmmes in the
State from last 2008 in comparison to the Other States of the country. However, still the State has
miles to go before reaching to the destination. After the enactment and implementation of the forest
rights act in the State, Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha is engaged in making forest
dwellers aware on FRA and actively watching the development and progress of FRA implementation
in the state. And whenever found loopholes in FRA implementation, we have appraised the GoO
through discussion and even through Protest Rally and Dharana. Besides, in many districts, the
different community based and civil society organizations affiliated to the CSD, Odisha have played
a vital role in facilitating forest dwellers in filing forest rights claim. Whenever and wherever we
found rights violations of FRA, we have rush the place, met with our aggrieved people and have tried
to resolve them discussing with the concerned SDLCs/DLCs. We also documented the violations
stories and have shared them with the SLMC and also with the media. We have had special Interface
and discussion with the SLMC on the various FRA implementation issues on 28th Feb 2009, 9th Jan,
2010 and 13th Jan, 2011 etc.
We appreciate Government of Odisha, especially the SCST Department for sincerely
bringing monthly FRA Progress and Status Report which is again unique in comparison to other
State of the country. We also sincerely appreciate the Department for bringing a number of positive
circulars, clarification, guidelines to facilitate the FRA implementation process in the State. Thanks
are also due to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India for looking after the implementation of
the FRA in the State and guiding the State Government for its better implementation.
This “Critical Observations Report” is based on our involvement and experience in last 10
years of struggle and engagement in the grounds FRA implementation. We have been analyzing the
monthly FRA implantation Progress report, identified a number of issues and have appraised the
government of Odisha time and again to resolve them. Even the GoO has considered some of them
and have brought changes too i.e issuance of ST certificate by the Gram Sabha, segregation of CFR
titles distributed under Section 3(1) and 3(2) etc. Of course a lot more has to be done. This time, our
“Critical Observations and Comments” are made against the monthly “FRA Progress Report Table”
produced by the SLMC from last 2009. Basically the comments are based against the data shown in
different Columns of the latest “FRA Progress Report Table up to 30th April, 2013” and issues
involved therein with the information that we have from the grounds. Besides, we have requested and
sought more information and clarification on the status of other important forest rights recognized
under the forest rights act. We expect the GoO, especially the FRA Nodal SCST Department would
appreciate our efforts and act upon the issues being raised.
We are very much thankful to all of the individual members of the CSD, Odisha, and other
civil society organizations working on FRA in different districts of the State for sharing with us all
necessary information to complete this observation report. Hope, friends interested to know and
understand the various FRA implementation issues in the State of Odisha would find this “CSD,
Odisha’s Observation Report” useful one.
20th May 2013 CSD, Odisha
csdorissa@gmail.com

Download full report here

 

#India – Farmers’ suicide rates soar above the rest


MUMBAI, May 18, 2013

P. Sainath

 The Hindu

Suicide rates among Indian farmers were a chilling 47 per cent higher than they were for the rest of the population in 2011. In some of the States worst hit by the agrarian crisis, they were well over 100 per cent higher. The new Census 2011 data reveal a shrinking farmer population. And it is on this reduced base that the farm suicides now occur.

Apply the new Census totals to the suicide data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the results are grim. Sample: A farmer in Andhra Pradesh is three times more likely to commit suicide than anyone else in the country, excluding farmers. And twice as likely to do so when compared to non-farmers in his own State. The odds are not much better in Maharashtra, which remained the worst State for such suicides across a decade.

“The picture remains dismal,” says Prof. K. Nagaraj, an economist at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. Prof. Nagaraj’s 2008 study on farm suicides in India remains the most important one on the subject. “The intensity of farm suicides shows no real decline,” he says. “Nor do the numbers show a major fall. They remain concentrated in the farming heartlands of five key States. The crisis there continues. And the adjusted farmers’ suicide rate for 2011 is in fact slightly higher than it was in 2001.” And that’s after heavy data fudging at the State level.

Five States account for two-thirds of all farm suicides in the country, as NCRB data show. These are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The share of these ‘Big 5’ in total farm suicides was higher in 2011 than it was in 2001. At the same time, the new Census data show that four of these States have far fewer farmers than they did a decade ago. Only Maharashtra reports an increase in their numbers.

Nationwide, the farmers’ suicide rate (FSR) was 16.3 per 100,000 farmers in 2011. That’s a lot higher than 11.1, which is the rate for the rest of the population. And slightly higher than the FSR of 15.8 in 2001.

In Maharashtra, for instance, the rate is 29.1 suicides per 100,000 farmers (‘Main cultivators’). Which is over 160 per cent higher than that for all Indians excluding farmers. Such gaps exist in other States, too. In as many as 16 of 22 major States, the farm suicide rate was higher than the rate among the rest of the population (RRP) in 2011.

The data for 2011 are badly skewed, with States like Chhattisgarh declaring ‘zero’ farm suicides that year. The same State reported an increase in total suicides that same year. But claimed that not one of these was a farmer. What happens if we take the average number of farm suicides reported by the State in three years before 2011? Then Chhattisgarh’s FSR is more than 350 per cent higher than the rate among the rest of the country’s population.

In 1995, the ‘Big 5’ accounted for over half of all farm suicides in India. In 2011, they logged over two-thirds of them. Given this concentration, even the dismal all-India figures tend to make things seem less terrible than they are.

Ten States show a higher farm suicide rate in 2011 than in 2001. That includes the major farming zones of Punjab and Haryana. The average farm suicide rate in the ‘Big 5’ is slightly up, despite a decline in Karnataka. And also a fall in Maharashtra. The latter has the worst record of any State. At least 53,818 farmers’ suicides since 1995. So how come it shows a lower FSR now?

Well, because Census 2011 tells us the State has added 1.2 million farmers (‘main cultivators’) since 2001. That’s against a nationwide decline of 7.7 million in the same years. So Maharashtra’s farm suicide rate shows a fall. Yet, its farm suicide numbers have not gone down by much. And a farmer in this State is two-and-a-half times more likely to kill himself than anyone else in the country, other than farmers.

Karnataka, in 2011, saw a lot less of farm suicides than it did a decade ago. And so, despite having fewer farmers than it did in 2001, the State shows a lower FSR. Yet, even the ‘lower’ farm suicide rates in both Maharashtra and Karnataka are way above the rate for the rest of the country.

These figures are obtained by applying the new farm population totals of Census 2011 to farm suicide numbers of the NCRB. The Census records cultivators. The police count suicides. In listing suicides, the State governments and police tend to count only those with a title to land as farmers.

“Large numbers of farm suicides still occur,” says Prof. Nagaraj. “Only that seems not to be recognised, officially and politically. Is the ‘conspiracy of silence’ back in action?” A disturbing trend has gained ground with Chhattisgarh’s declaration of ‘zero’ farm suicides. (That’s despite having had 4,700 in 36 months before the ‘zero’ declaration). Puducherry has followed suit. Others will doubtless do the same. Punjab and Haryana have in several years claimed ‘zero’ women farmers’ suicides. (Though media and study reports in the same years suggest otherwise). This trend must at some point fatally corrupt the data.

At least 270,940 Indian farmers have taken their lives since 1995, NCRB records show. This occurred at an annual average of 14,462 in six years, from 1995 to 2000. And at a yearly average of 16,743 in 11 years between 2001 and 2011. That is around 46 farmers’ suicides each day, on average. Or nearly one every half-hour since 2001.

 

Mumbai – Critique of Maharashtra Women Policy- 2013 submitted by Women Groups #Vaw #Womenrights


CRITIQUE OF MAHARASHTRA WOMEN POLICY- 2013

SUBMISSION BY- MUMBAI WOMEN GROUPS AND ACTIVISTS

MAY 10TH 2013, Kamayani Bali Mahabal

The Mumbai Women groups and  activists submitted their critique to the Women  and Child Welfare Minister Varsha Gaikwad, at the   committee meeting held today for finalisation of the women policy. The committee has 11 members .

The submission stated that the  portrayal of women across the policy document reinforces gender stereotypes. The policy does not recognize women’s exploitation as a larger structural or systemic issue. The State continues to see women’s issues as ‘women’s problems’. An issue observed across the policy is that of referring to women as victims or pidit . The policy document typifies women as needy of welfare. So women are portrayed as victims and thus deserving of a piece in the development pie.

The objectives of the policy are very general and do not respond to the changing contexts and the current situation of women. It does not refer to any current data on women at the State level, for example, increasing caste violence, informalisation of labour in agriculture and otherwise, lowered sex ratio, honour killings, conditions of waste-pickers, sex workers, etc. The Policy with a very generic understanding of women’s concerns would lead to providing generic solutions

The policy is not framed within a rights based framework and this is evident from the titles of the sections which are for example day care centre, toilets, women’s hostels etc. The use of the term “adult unmarried women” (praudh kumarika)., assumes that all women have to be married by a certain age and those who cross that age would be referred to as adult unmarried women. So here we still function within the framework of family and marriage as the final goals to be strived for women. Anything outside of the family framework is treated as a problem to be addressed. In another place the word kalavantin has been used to typify women folk artists. The policy is oblivious of the fact that such a usage carries a very different connotation in terms of class and caste histories of exploitation. These and similar such usages probably would befit discussions in the 18th and 19th century but not so in the 21st century by which time we have benefited from learnings from the movement and feminist scholarship.All through the document sex selective abortion is referred to as female foeticide and this despite the fact that women’s movements have been crying hoarse over its use.

One of the very disturbing statements is regarding Sexual violence the reasons for which are attributed to mental illness amongst men or sexual distortions. One of the major contributions of the women’s movement has been to prove that violence is rooted in power and hierarchies whether they are related to case, class, gender, religion. Unfortunately the policy recognizes this not as an issue of broader systems and structures but one of individual malaise. The understanding of sex work also suffers from a similar problem. The entire discussion around sex work is under the broad title of sexually exploited women. Organisations working on the issue of sex work have time and again stated that sex work is not only about sexual exploitation. The policy should be explicit and state sex workers as sex workers and not try to portray them as ‘socially acceptable victims’

The policy is silent on the more pressing needs of the State, with its non committal on the reinstating of the women’s commission and its democratic functioning.. The policy comes across as a stand alone document with no forward or backward linkages. It does not take stock of the achievements of the past policies and neither does it mention the gender indicators which it wants to improve upon.

Below are some detailed critiques of chapters of the Policy Document

Chapter 5 – Awareness /Participation by NGOs….
• Instead of transferring the responsibility to NGOs the government should take full responsibility and take the onus of coordinating and networking with NGOs. They should become equally accountable to them.
• A trained social worker/ Counsellor should be appointed in every school and not a trained social volunteer as suggested to prevent student suicides
• Schools to be guided to undertake programmes/ activities with the purpose of bringing about awareness on gender equality
• The Censure board should include a member working on women’s issues
• When the nodal agency WCD makes training modules they should take inputs from NGOs experienced in that area before finalizing them
Miscellaneous
• The age limit for hiring a woman in crisis to a low cadre government job should be pushed back to 50, as many women between the ages of 35 and 50 years have never worked, and would therefore find it difficult to be seen as “employable”, making them vulnerable to poverty and further hardship, and exacerbating their crisis.
• Refresher training on gender issues to be offered to the police as well as school and college teachers at least once a year.

• MEDIA
• The provisions to grant powers to women commission, for approrpiate actiosn is very vague and arbitrary, unless they are defined .The issue of . Filming / video graphing in media of anything that is vulgar with a commercial purpose or insulting womanhood will be discouraged and such attempts will face legal actions. Rights of reinforcements in these matters will be assigned to an independent agency such as the Women Commission. Again, what is ‘vulgar with a commercial purpose’? Item numbers? Is every item number vulgar? How do we determine which ones harm women? How will such filming be discouraged? What on earth is the ‘rights of reinforcement’?. The policy document says formulating the censor board’ what does it mean, are they proposing a new censor board . The State policy should look at ways in which media can be used to empower women, instead of viewing media only through this punitive lens. This is very one-sided.
• Chapter 6- Education
Under the National Program for Education of girls at Elementary Level every blocks under each district of Maharashtra runs ‘Kasturba Gandhi Residential Schools. These schools are meant for girls and especially for those girls who are being employed as child labour and/or involved in home based work. Every school consists of 100 girls, due to which they could complete their education. Therefore we request that such programs must be implemented at all block levels. Today, it’s been functional only in few districts.

• Today most of the rural schools in Maharashtra do not have separate toilets for women school teachers and girls students. Therefore, separate toilets needs to be constructed for them.

• Every school must have complaints box, so that girl students who wants to complaint of sexual harassment can complete and report about the same. Also, there as to be redressal mechanism to address issues of sexual harassment at every school level.

• In spite of instituting monitoring committees at residential schools levels, which is suppose to hold meetings, submit regular reports to the higher authority, they do not act properly. Therefore there has to be a strict rules and regulations laid down for the same.

Chapter 9- Health

The Chapter on Health does not see women’s right to health as an individual in her own right and but simply as a mother, wife or daughter . The present policy however states the importance of women’s health more because it impacts the health of the child and the society at large. There is no mention of the social determinants of women’s health: poverty, caste, patriarchy as leading to poor nutrition, lack of access to medical care, etc in this section.

The promises such as a counselling centre per public health centre or every district will have a women’s hospital, the policy or the State absolves itself of providing basic primary health care for all, are very unrealistic .It shows disconnect with the ground reality wherein there are no well-functioning PHCs themselves or not stocked with basic medicines — iron and calcium for example for women. Rather than sensationalising the policy by giving everything “women special” there is a need for a more rational and sensitive health service in the State with focus on women, Dalits, tribals and other socially and economically discriminated sections.

• The Policy states about doing a new women health project, Instead of implementing yet another project, efforts should be made to gender sensitize other public health programs.
• Secondly the onus cant be on women alone, the accountability and responsiveness by the State needs to be mentioned.
• The Women’s orgs, NGOs and academic institutions should become obvious choices but they are not mentioned.PPP should not be an excuse by the State to wash its hands off from providing the services, instead, clear guidelines should be formulated to operationalise PPPs. T
• The Gender sensitivity programs should be across all carders of health care providers. It can’t be assumed that Physicians and those at decision making levels are sensitive.
• The policy should examine longer term strategies for addressing the social determinants of health. These are intended to highlight ways that gender inequality and health inequities (between women and men and between differing groups of women) can be addressed.
• To emphasize the importance of gender as a key determinant of women’s health and wellbeing.
• To recognize that women’s health needs vary according to their life stage.
• To prioritize the needs of women with the highest risk of poor health.
• To ensure that the health system is responsive and accountable to all women, with a clear focus on illness prevention and health promotion.
• To support collaborative research, monitoring, evaluation and knowledge transfer to advance the evidence base on women’s health.
• Instead of targeted health insurance , there should universal access to health care.
• Malnutrition is severe among women, the State should come up with a clear plan to combat it.
• Terminal care is needed for all women.
• Efforts will be made to improve women’s freedom to make decisions in regards of health and family planning.
• Special provisions should be made for health care for women in institutions such as prisons, shelter homes, women’s hostels, beggar homes etc.

In Chapter 15– Women and Law

Government of Maharashtra will adopt following measures for effective implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
• Provide safe working environment to its women employees at its workplaces which shall include safety from the persons coming into contact at the workplace.
• Display at any conspicuous place in the workplace’ the penal consequences of sexual harassments; and the order constituting, the Internal Complaints Committee.
• Organise workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitising the employees with the provisions of the Act and orientation programmes for the members of the Internal Committees in government offices.
• Provide necessary facilities to the Internal Committees or the Local Committees, as the case may be, for dealing with the complaint and conducting an inquiry.
• Provide assistance to the woman if she so chooses to file a complaint in relation to the offence under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force;
• Cause to initiate action, under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for time being in force, against the perpetrator, or if the aggrieved woman so desires, where the perpetrator is not an employee, in the workplace at which the incident of sexual harassment took place;
• Treat sexual harassment as misconduct under the service rules and initiate action for such misconduct.
• Monitor the timely submission of reports by the Internal Committee.
• Notify a District Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate or Collector or Deputy Collector as District Officer for every District to exercise powers and functions under the Act.
• Monitor constitution of LCCs by the District Officers and appointment of Nodal Officers to be appointed by the District Officers in every block, taluka, tehsil in the rural area and in every Ward in the Municipal Corporation area.
• The Central government to pay State Governments grants of sums of money for payment of fees and allowances to be paid to the Chairperson and Members of the LCCs
• State Government to set up an agency to transfer the grants to the District Officer.
• The appropriate Government shall monitor the implementation of this Act and maintain data on the number of cases filed and disposed of in respect of all cases of sexual harassment at workplace. (Section 23).
• Receive the reports and monitor collection of annual reports to be received by the District officer (Section 21).
• Monitor the timely submission of reports furnished by the Local Committee to the district officer (Section 20).
• Monitor the measures taken by the District Officers for engaging non-governmental organisations for creation of awareness on sexual harassment and the rights of the women. (Section 20).
• Imposition of penalty on employers for non compliance with the provisions of the Act. (Section 26)
• Cancellation, of his license or withdrawal, or non-renewal, or approval, or cancellation of the registration for repeated non compliance to the Act. (Section 26)
• In the public interest or in the interest of women call and inspect records relating to sexual harassment from any workplace through the District officer (Section 25)
• Authorise officers to make inspection of the records and workplace in relation to sexual harassment, who shall submit a report of such inspection (Section 25)
• Provide finance and other such resources to develop relevant information, education, communication and training materials, and organise awareness programmes, to advance the understanding of the public of the provisions of this Act providing for protection against sexual harassment of woman at workplace (Section 24)
• Provide finance and other such resources to formulate orientation and training programmes for the members of the Local Complaints Committees. (Section 24)

PWDVA
• Wider publicity should be given by the government not only to women and girls, but also to men; government officials should set an example.
• Sensitizing police officials is not enough. Make them accountable through administrative and penal provisions if they refuse to assist the woman who complains of domestic violence.
• Protection officers – need to be trained as well as monitored. There has to be a system of accountability; more protection officers need to be appointed as the present number is inadequate.
• NGOs can play a complementary role, but the responsibility of implementing the Act cannot be outsourced to NGOs, as it is essentially a state responsibility.
• Political will to implement the Act needs to be exhibited through an adequate budgetary allocation and provision of required infrastructural facilities for personnel under the Act.
Suggestions regarding Special Court / Family Courts:
• Travelling allowance to needy women who attend court – proper criteria needs to be set, to avoid ad hocism and discrimination.
• For every court date, working women need to take half day or full day leave, which results in a loss of earning. Appropriate measures need to be taken to address this problem.
• Vacancies in family courts need to be filled up promptly to ensure that pendency of cases does not increase.
• Family court judges need to be trained to inculcate a gender perspective – they should not prioritize saving the marriage at the cost of physical security and mental well-being of the woman.
• There has to be a system of regular updation of knowledge of family court judges, and a proper system of monitoring the judgments delivered and the perspective with which such judgments are delivered.
• The state free legal aid service needs to be strengthened; legal aid lawyers should be competent professionals with integrity, who should undergo adequate training; women should not be subjected to harassment and demand of bribe by the legal aid lawyers.
• Fast track courts, if started, should not compromise over rights of the accused to a fair trial, and should follow the safeguards in law to balance the interests of the accused and the complainant.
Helplines for Women
Clarity is required on the following issues:

It is positive step that government has announced setting up of 1091 as a helpline number. The most important is that it should be placed within the police control room and should be operated by Police personnel and should be supported with regular trainings of police personnel and adequate publicity for the number to be known to people so that it can be effectively used by women in crisis. There should be a standardize catergorisation across the state and there should be systematic documentation of calls, action taken.

Elderly / Senior Women
• Its important to train police officials to be sensitive to the difficulties faced by the elderly, particularly elderly women
• They should not be called to the police station often
• Stringent action should be taken against police officials who refuse to register a complaint by elderly women, and against those who take a bribe from their relatives

Trafficking of Women

• The government needs to de-link trafficking and sex work completely, as trafficking of women and girls is done not only for sexual exploitation but also for cheap and exploitative labour, for forced marriage, adoptive or other intimate relationships.
• Ensure proper and effective implementation of Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA);
• Issue strict directions to law enforcement officials to act bona fide and with due diligence;
• Take strict action against public officials who are complicit in or connive with the perpetrators in trafficking of women;
• Ensure that women’s human rights including the right to dignity and privacy are respected at all stages of the legal proceedings, including at the time of registration of FIR, investigation and prosecution;
• Provide free legal aid to trafficked women, and protect them from intimidation / threat / coercion from the traffickers;
• Issue directions to all law enforcement and health officials not to conduct mandatory medical examinations on trafficked women, including for HIV / AIDS; the same is to be conducted only on a voluntary basis, if requested by the woman concerned;
• Provide adequate, confidential and affordable medical and psychological care to trafficked women,
• Ensure that strictly confidential HIV testing services are provided only if requested by the woman concerned, and any and all HIV testing is accompanied by appropriate pre- and post-test counselling;
• Any state initiatives for ‘rescue and relief’ of trafficked women should be conducted in a planned manner, with the participation of civil society groups, and after putting in place provisions to meet the needs of trafficked women;
• In contexts of inter-country trafficking, repatriation of the women to their country of origin should be resorted to, only after due consideration of the woman’s wishes;
• Provide directions to state enforcement officials not to detain trafficked women in nari niketans / government-run homes or institutions, as the trafficked women have committed no crime and their rights have to be respected;
• The state has to address the issue of trafficking, not only through a law and order approach that focuses on criminal law, prosecution and punishment, but through a human rights approach that keeps the trafficked woman’s right to privacy, dignity and other human rights at the centrality of state response.
• Strengthen measures to alleviate poverty, underdevelopment and lack of equal opportunity, as well as educational, social and cultural measures to discourage the demand that fosters exploitation and leads to trafficking, particularly of women
• Provide adequate livelihood opportunities for rural women in order that migration is not the only means to secure reasonable wages and an adequate standard of living
• Address the structural causes of violence against women to ensure that migration is not resorted to as a means of escaping from violence and discrimination at the place of origin
• Put in place gender-specific interventions for contexts of natural disasters, displacement, political instability, civil unrest, internal conflict including communal violence, as such contexts exacerbate women’s vulnerabilities and may result in an increase in trafficking;
• Mandatory testing for HIV, as conceived of in the women’s policy, is violative of women’s human rights. Instead, women should be given information and raise their awareness about the advantages of testing.

Shelter

• The condition in Maharashtra government’s shelter homes is despicable, and does not provide a safe environment for women to live in, due to many incidents of sexual exploitation and rape in shelter homes. A social audit of all shelter homes operating in the state is required urgently.
• Ensure that all shelter homes are registered under the relevant laws, and that provisions for frequent monitoring of the conditions of the homes are implemented
• At present, women are so terrified of shelter homes that they would rather tolerate the violence in their matrimonial homes. This situation needs to change for the better, if the Maharashtra government is serious about empowering women.
• Ensure that shelter homes are provided with adequate facilities and a clean environment for the physical and mental well-being of the inmates
• Counselling, psychiatric and medical services should be provided
• Surprise checks should be conducted to ensure the proper management of shelter homes
• Financial audit requires to be done, as required.

Implementation of the Section 498 (A) IPC

1. In depth and intensive multidisciplinary research and documentation in the area of violence against women and law are required. There should be concerted efforts for coordinated research projects involving stakeholders like the police, judiciary, women’s organisations and academic institutions.

2. Capacity building for skilful investigations of crimes against woman will help in sensitive handling of cases. A protocol or ‘drill’ for investigation in cases of Section 498A IPC should be developed. The focus should be on women as citizen’s experiencing violence within the family.

3. Capacity building to enable the Criminal Justice System to uphold mental violence as legitimate evidence and render legally relevant facilities in cases of mental and emotional abuse will help address the current situation. Mental violence should be treated at par with physical violence.

4. The judicial decisions of compounding/reconciliation in cases of Section 498A should be critically reviewed through research.
PCPNDT ACT

The Policy says In order to make the PC-PNDT law provisions mandatory, the government will form a new protocol under PC-PNDT Act and will strictly implement it. This is a central act and they cannot make their own protocols. The State needs to ensure implementation of law without backlash on the right to abortion to women.

A recent survey conducted in the slums of Mumbai by Women Networking (an informal network of community organizations, NGOs and individuals) has revealed that while 65% of the respondents (out of 700) were aware of the law on sex selection only 24 per cent knew that abortion is legal in our country. This high-level of awareness of PCPNDT Act is an outcome of the government’s efforts to save the girl child, but it has inadvertently resulted in mortality rate as high as 8% among women who are forced to approach ill trained health practitioners for abortions, because of poor awareness on women’s right to abortion. In Mumbai, the medical shops are directed not to sell drugs & injections related to abortion and contraception without a prescription from authorized doctors. The Maharashtra Policy needs to ensure that under no circumstances the right to abortion as stipulated in the Medical Termination of tHE Pregnancy (MTP) Act be curtailed.

Limiting access to safe abortion methods only pushes women towards unsafe methods, thereby endangering their health and survival. Monitoring women buying pills from pharmacies is regressive as it undermines the confidentiality aspect of abortion and can lead to harassment of women at the hands of officials. Such regulations are discriminatory and curtail autonomy of women over their own body, right to dignity and right to benefit from advances of science, medicine and technology.
Sex selection is a phenomenon which emerges from gender discrimination and socio-economic bias. All efforts to prevent sex selection must seek to address issues of gender discrimination, instead of further constraining women’s access to safe abortion services

Chapter- 19- Physically disabled and mentally challenged women

The chapter on women with disabilities finishes in 12 lines , which says a lot . The language should be women with psycho social disabilities and not physically disabled and mentally challenged . The Women with disabilities do not need ‘ Sypmathy” as the policy document says but ‘Empathy. Clubbing them with senior citizens is not at all justice to their needs and rights . They need more of integration with society and the so called normal citizens need to be sensitized with issue and concerns of women with psycho social disabilities especially the teachers , than, having special schools. The Policy only addresses physical access to transport and does not even touch upon the issue of forced psychiatric interventions and institutionalization. These acts of violence are done under the legal authority of the state, and in pursuance of wrong and discriminatory state policy, and there is no possibility of redress, emphasizing the message of all violence that tells the victim she is powerless.

There have been instances for forced sterilization were in the range of 5-7% for the combined group and 7.5% for women with mental disabilities. The high incidences of sterilization of women with disabilities happen because families and community do a role reversal viewing them as incapable of motherhood, which goes unchecked. Unjustified administration of drugs {tranquillizing the woman to ‘shut her up’) or withdrawal of drugs also comes under the realm of physical abuse. We see regular over medication of patients. There is no prescription audit and we are demanding it. Over medication is leading to patients having serious side effects and not being able to participate in the rehabilitation programs

Voluntary admissions, hospitalization and discharge favor men more than women. A study of five mental hospitals in the state of Maharashtra revealed that while men are admitted to hospitals for treatment in the early stages of diagnosis, women are “dumped” here only after their illness turns chronic ie when they turn dysfunctional and are unable to comply with their social roles. The policy needs to address
1. The Gender Gaps in Mental Health Treatment
2. Marriage and Lack of legal aid in rural areas
3. Stop Institutionalization
4. Initiate Community linked programmes
5. Legally ban forced sterilization of girls
6. Make policies which are more catered towards the needs of the women with disabilities.
7. Audit and monitor on a regular basis to make sure the implementation of these policies.
8. Bringing in accessibility features so as to make access to enforcement agencies and various redressal mechanisms easier and available.
9. ECT is used in most hospitals without permission
10. Punishment of erring officials and duty bearers.

Chapter 23– Sexually Exploited Women

This policy conflates trafficked women and those that are in sex work of their volition.
This is a deliberate attempt to ignore the supreme court who in the case of Budhadev Karmaskar v. State of West Bengal , wherein a regular criminal appeal relating to the murder of a sex worker in Kolkata was converted into a broader PIL to look into the issue of rehabilitation of sex workers. A panel was constituted by the Supreme Court order
dated 19.07.2011 with the following terms of reference:
• Prevention of trafficking,
• Rehabilitation of sex workers who wish to leave sex work, and
• Conditions conducive for sex workers to live with dignity in
accordance with the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution (as modified by the order of the Supreme Court dated 26.07.2012).The Policy by the state of maharashtra clearly conflates all the three above instead of following the orders of the supreme court of India.

Chapter 24- Transgenders (Sr.No 24)

A welcome move to include transgender, the policy only suggests ‘preventive measures’ for stopping people from being transgender. It suggests that this can be done through monitoring pregnant mothers and hormonal levels. The policy shows a lack of sensitivity and understanding of the issue. One of the reasons cited for being a transgender is “under too much influence of women” or the reason for being transgender as a ‘distortion’, which reflects the level of empathy among the government for people’s choices.

• Definition of Transgender is absolutely incorrect – archaic words such as gender deformity, chop of their genitals etc are used.
Alternate definitions
- Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. (American Psychological Association)

- Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one’s assigned sex (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex -) ^ a b Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. ‘’GLAAD Media Reference Guide – Transgender glossary of terms”‘’GLAAD’’, USA, May 2010. Retrieved on 2011-02-24.)

- Transgender (sometimes shortened to trans or TG) people are those whose psychological self (“gender identity”) differs from the social expectations for the physical sex they were born with. To understand this, one must understand the difference between biological sex, which is one’s body (genitals, chromosomes, ect.), and social gender, which refers to levels of masculinity and femininity. Often, society conflates sex and gender, viewing them as the same thing. But, gender and sex are not the same thing. Transgender people are those whose psychological self (“gender identity”) differs from the social expectations for the physical sex they were born with. For example, a female with a masculine gender identity or who identifies as a man.
http://geneq.berkeley.edu/lgbt_resources_definiton_of_terms#transgender ; Retrieved on 08-05-2013)
• Lesbian and bi-sexual women have been totally ignored in the policy -They need to be included
• The paragraph on preventive measures makes no sense and should be scrapped
• There is a complete welfare approach adopted rather than a rights based approach in the policy as far as transgenders are concerned
• There is no need for having a separate comprehensive Act for them to live a life of Dignity. The constitution already provides these rights. The changes are required through rigorous sensitization of stake holders and civil society and creation of structures to enable them to get their basic rights.eg modification of all official documents to include a sex option apart from male and female etc.
• Need to incorporate non-discrimination and equal employment opportunities in public and private organizations as well.

The Submissions by- Women Organisations / Networks and Individual activists
• Akshara
• Forum against Sex Selection- FASS
• Jan Swasthya Abhiyan- Mumbai
• Point of View
• Sneha
• Veshya Mukti Morcha
Individuals -
• Anagha Sarpotdar
• Kamayani Bali Mahabal
• Saumya Uma

The Reality behind Gujarat Model and Narendra Modi #mustshare


By Pravada Meethal, Facebook

Did you know ?

• Wages
The wage rates of casual and regular workers of both men and women workers in rural and urban areas are very low compared to other States. As per the latest National Sample Survey Office statistics, the daily wage rates of casual men and women workers in rural areas are lower than the corresponding rates in India, with the State ranking 14th (Rs.69) and ninth (Rs.56) in men’s and women’s wage rates respectively among the major 20 States. In the case of urban casual workers’ daily wages, the State ranked seventh (Rs.109) and 14th (Rs.56) for male and female wage rates. In the case of regular rural workers also the State ranked 17th (Rs.152) and ninth (Rs.108) in the male and female wage rates respectively. The corresponding ranks for urban areas are 18th (Rs.205) and 13th (Rs.182) respectively among the major 20 States in India. According to NSSO 2011 figures about 98 per cent of the women workers and about 89 per cent of the male workers in the State are engaged in informal work .

• Nutrition
The NFHS-3 tells us that 47 per cent of children below the age of three in the State were underweight. That figure was 45 per cent in NFHS-2. That’s about twice the average for sub-Saharan Africa. It is also marginally higher than the nationwide average of 46 per cent. The percentage of Gujarat’s children who are ‘wasted’ also went up from 16 to 17 per cent between the two NFHS surveys
According to statistics from a report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, “Children in India, 2012—A Statistical Appraisal”, between 40 and 50 per cent of children in Gujarat are underweight, which bursts one more myth in Gujarat’s story of growth. Other States in this low weight category are Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Human Development Report 2011 said around half of Gujarat’s children were malnourished.

• Gujarat is the 7th worst state in adult men having a body mass index of less than 18.5.

Infant mortality :
Infant mortality is high in Gujarat, which ranks 11th countrywide in the rate of decline of infant mortality. According to “Children in India, 2012”, the infant mortality rate in Gujarat was still high, with 44 fatalities of infants per 1,000 live births.
In its 2012 State-wise report, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said, “Almost every second child in Gujarat under the age of five years is undernourished and three out of four are anaemic. Infant and maternal mortality rates have reduced very slowly in the last decade…. One mother in three in Gujarat struggles with acute under-nutrition….”

• child marriage :
Gujarat ranks fourth in reported cases of child marriage.

• School dropout rate : United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) statistics show that Gujarat ranks 18th when it comes to success in keeping children in schools. 59% school drop out

• The school life expectancy of children in Kerala (which ranks first) is 11.33 years, while that of children in Gujarat is 8.79 years.

• percentage of reduction of poverty :
Statistics of the NSSO show that the percentage of reduction of poverty between 2004 and 2010 was the lowest in Gujarat, at 8.6 per cent.

• Water:
According to Census 2011, 43 per cent of the rural households in Gujarat get water supply on their premises and 16.7 per cent get treated water from a common tap

• Toilets:
The data show that 67 per cent of rural households in the State have no access to toilets and members of more than 65 per cent of the households defecate in the open, very often polluting common water sources. Waste collection and disposal are matters practically unheard of. The State ranks 10th in the use of latrines

• Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI):
Anything over 70 on this index is considered to have crossed critical levels, that is, the pollution exceeds the capacity of the environment to handle it and it becomes a dangerous health hazard. According to statistics from the Central Pollution Control Board, Ankleshwar and Vapi in Gujarat top the list of 88 severely polluted industrial areas in India. Ankleshwar has a CEPI rating of 88.50 while Vapi’s is 88.09. Of the 88 areas, eight are in Gujarat

• Employment growth:
NSSO data show that in Gujarat , growth in employment has dropped to almost zero in the past 12 years

Human Development Index :
Gujarat (0.519) stands 11th in Human Development Index among the states in India. Where Kerala(0.790) stands first.

• Sex ratio :
Gujarat (918) stands 24th . where kerala(1084) stands first.

• Vaccination coverage :
In Gujarat percentage of children between 12-23 months of age who received all recommended vaccines is 45 % . that is in 19th among the states in India.

• Gujarat stands 12th in literacy among the states in india

• In Gujarat 28.2% man and 32.3 % women are underweight .

• In Gujarat percentage of children delivered in hospital is only 55%

REFERENCES
“Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State, 2011-12”
National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO)
• Census 2011
• Planning commission
• Children in india 2012 – a statistical appraisal – ministry of statistics and program implementation
• 2012 State-wise report, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
• United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) statistics
• statistics from the Central Pollution Control Board
• National Family Health Survey
http://censusindia.gov.in/2011census/hlo/hlo_highlights.html , http://www.pratirodh.com/pdf/human_development_report2011.pdf , http://mospi.nic.in/Mospi_New/site/home.aspx , http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ghi11.pdf , https://nrhm-mis.nic.in/PublicPeriodicReports.aspx , http://mospi.gov.in/national_data_bank/table_20nov12_labour/table_20nov12_labour.htm ,http://iri.org.in/related_readings/India%20Corruption%20Study%202005.pdf ,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_states_and_territories_by_Human_Development_Index

 

Submission to Justice Verma by Womens and Progressive Groups and Individuals Condemning Sexual Violence and opposing #Deathpenalty


Dear Hon. Justice Verma,

Referring to your public notice on ‘Inviting suggestions on amendments to Criminal Laws Relating to Safety and Security of Women’, please find enclosed the submission of women’s groups, progressive groups and individuals, endorsed by approximately 1000 people, condemning sexual violence and opposing death penalty for sexual assault/rape.

We request you to kindly take this into account in your recommendations.

At the same time, we urge you to organise a meeting where we and other groups can share our views in person.

Thanks and regards, Amrita, Nandini and Deepti
For Citizens Collective againt Sexual Assault, New Delhi

Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault (CCSA) is a group of individuals and organisations based in Delhi and the NCR. It was formed in the wake of a spate of crimes against women that took place in the region in 2012. The Collective has come together to raise awareness about and protest against the extreme culture of sexual violence against women, girls and transgender people in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. The Collective raises these issues with the public, the media, as well as the administration and the police of Delhi-NCR and work in different ways to stop and prevent sexual harassment against vulnerable groups.

On 16 December, 2012, a 23-year old woman and her friend hailed a bus at a crossing in South Delhi. In the bus, they were both brutally attacked by a group of men who claimed to be out on a ‘joy-ride’. The woman was gang raped and the man beaten up; after several hours, they were both stripped and dumped on the road. While the young woman is still in hospital, bravely battling for her life, her friend has been discharged and is helping identify the men responsible for the heinous crime.

 

We, the undersigned, women’s, students’ and progressive groups and concerned citizens from around the country, are outraged at this incident and, in very strong terms, condemn her gang rape and the physical and sexual assault.

 

As our protests spill over to the streets all across the country, our demands for justice are strengthened by knowing that there are countless others who share this anger. We assert that rape and other forms of sexual violence are not just a women’s issue, but a political one that should concern every citizen. We strongly demand that justice is done in this and all other cases and the perpetrators are punished.

 

This incident is not an isolated one; sexual assault occurs with frightening regularity in this country. Adivasi and dalit women and those working in the unorganised sector, women with disabilities, hijras, kothis, trans people and sex workers are especially targeted with impunity – it is well known that the complaints of sexual assault they file are simply disregarded. We urge that the wheels of justice turn not only to incidents such as the Delhi bus case, but to the epidemic of sexual violence that threatens all of us. We need to evolve punishments that act as true deterrents to the very large number of men who commit these crimes. Our stance is not anti-punishment but against the State executing the death penalty. The fact that cases of rape have a conviction rate of as low as 26% shows that perpetrators of sexual violence enjoy a high degree of impunity, including being freed of charges.

 

Silent witnesses to everyday forms of sexual assault such as leering, groping, passing comments, stalking and whistling are equally responsible for rape being embedded in our culture and hence being so prevalent today. We, therefore, also condemn the culture of silence and tolerance for sexual assault and the culture of valorising this kind of violence.

 

We also reject voices that are ready to imprison and control women and girls under the garb of ‘safety’, instead of ensuring their freedom as equal participants in society and their right to a life free of perpetual threats of sexual assault, both inside and outside their homes.

 

In cases (like this) which have lead to a huge public outcry all across the country, and where the perpetrators have been caught, we hope that justice will be speedily served and they will be convicted for the ghastly acts that they have committed. However, our vision of this justice does not include death penalty, which is neither a deterrent nor an effective or ethical response to these acts of sexual violence. We are opposed to it for the following reasons:

 

  1. We recognise that every human being has a right to life. Our rage cannot give way to what are, in no uncertain terms, new cycles of violence. We refuse to deem ‘legitimate’ any act of violence that would give the State the right to take life in our names. Justice meted by the State cannot bypass complex socio-political questions of violence against women by punishing rapists by death. Death penalty is often used to distract attention away from the real issue – it changes nothing but becomes a tool in the hands of the State to further exert its power over its citizens. A huge set of changes are required in the system to end the widespread and daily culture of rape.

 

  1. There is no evidence to suggest that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to rape. Available data shows that there is a low rate of conviction in rape cases and a strong possibility that the death penalty would lower this conviction rate even further as it is awarded only under the ‘rarest of rare’ circumstances. The most important factor that can act as a deterrent is the certainty of punishment, rather than the severity of its form.

 

  1. As seen in countries like the US, men from minority communities make up a disproportionate number of death row inmates. In the context of India, a review of crimes that warrant capital punishment reveals the discriminatory way in which such laws are selectively and arbitrarily applied to disadvantaged communities, religious and ethnic minorities. This is a real and major concern, as the possibility of differential consequences for the same crime is injustice in itself.

 

  1. The logic of awarding death penalty to rapists is based on the belief that rape is a fate worse than death. Patriarchal notions of ‘honour’ lead us to believe that rape is the worst thing that can happen to a woman. There is a need to strongly challenge this stereotype of the ‘destroyed’ woman who loses her honour and who has no place in society after she’s been sexually assaulted. We believe that rape is tool of patriarchy, an act of violence, and has nothing to do with morality, character or behaviour.

 

  1. An overwhelming number of women are sexually assaulted by people known to them, and often include near or distant family, friends and partners. Who will be able to face the psychological and social trauma of having reported against their own relatives? Would marital rape (currently not recognised by law), even conceptually, ever be looked at through the same retributive prism?

 

  1. The State often reserves for itself the ‘right to kill’ — through the armed forces, the paramilitary and the police. We cannot forget the torture, rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama by the Assam Rifles in Manipur in 2004 or the abduction, gang rape and murder of Neelofar and Aasiya of Shopian (Kashmir) in 2009. Giving more powers to the State, whether arming the police and giving them the right to shoot at sight or awarding capital punishment, is not a viable solution to lessen the incidence of crime.

Furthermore, with death penalty at stake, the ‘guardians of the law’ will make sure that no complaints against them get registered and they will go to any length to make sure that justice does not see the light of day. The ordeal of Soni Sori, who had been tortured in police custody last year, still continues her fight from inside a prison in Chattisgarh, in spite of widespread publicity around her torture.

 

  1. As we know, in cases of sexual assault where the perpetrator is in a position of power (such as in cases of custodial rape or caste and communal violence), conviction is notoriously difficult. The death penalty, for reasons that have already been mentioned, would make conviction next to impossible.

 

We, the undersigned, demand the following:

 

  • Greater dignity, equality, autonomy and rights for women and girls from a society that should stop questioning and policing their actions at every step.

 

  • Immediate relief in terms of legal, medical, financial and psychological assistance and long-term rehabilitation measures must be provided to survivors of sexual assault.

 

  • Provision of improved infrastructure to make cities safer for women, including well-lit pavements and bus stops, help lines and emergency services.

 

  • Effective registration, monitoring and regulation of transport services (whether public, private or contractual) to make them safe, accessible and available to all.

 

  • Compulsory courses within the training curriculum on gender sensitisation for all personnel employed and engaged by the State in its various institutions, including the police.

 

  • That the police do its duty to ensure that public spaces are free from harassment, molestation and assault. This means that they themselves have to stop sexually assaulting women who come to make complaints. They have to register all FIRs and attend to complaints. CCTV cameras should be set up in all police stations and swift action must be taken against errant police personnel.

 

  • Immediate setting up of fast track courts for rape and other forms of sexual violence all across the country. State governments should operationalise their creation on a priority basis. Sentencing should be done within a period of six months.

 

  • The National Commission for Women has time and again proved itself to be an institution that works against the interests of women. NCW’s inability to fulfil its mandate of addressing issues of violence against women, the problematic nature of the statements made by the Chairperson and its sheer inertia in many serious situations warrants that the NCW role be reviewed and audited as soon as possible.

 

  • The State acknowledges the reality of custodial violence against women in many parts of the country, especially in Kashmir, North-East and Chhattisgarh. There are several pending cases and immediate action should be taken by the government to punish the guilty and to ensure that these incidents of violence are not allowed to be repeated.

 

  • Regarding the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012, women’s groups have already submitted detailed recommendations to the Home Ministry. We strongly underline that the Bill must not be passed in its current form because of its many serious loopholes and lacuna. Some points:

 

-      There has been no amendment to the flawed definition of consent under Sec 375IPC and this has worked against the interest of justice for women.

 

-      The formulation of the crime of sexual assault as gender neutral makes the identity of the perpetrator/accused also gender neutral. We demand that the definition of perpetrator be gender-specific and limited to men. Sexual violence also targets transgender people and legal reform must address this.

 

-      In its current form, the Bill does not recognise the structural and graded nature of sexual assault, based on concepts of hurt, harm, injury, humiliation and degradation. The Bill also does not use well-established categories of sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and sexual offences.

 

-      It does not mention sexual assault by security forces as a specific category of aggravated sexual assault. We strongly recommend the inclusion of perpetration of sexual assault by security forces under Sec 376(2).

 

Date: 05/01/2012

 

Endorsed by the following groups and individuals:

 

  1. Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault (CCSA)
  2. Purnima, Nirantar, New Delhi
  3. Sandhya Gokhale, Forum Against Oppression of Women, Bombay
  4. Deepti, Saheli, Delhi
  5. Mary John, Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS), New Delhi
  6. Jagori, Delhi
  7. Vimochana, Bangalore
  8. Lokesh, Stree Mukti Sanghathan, Delhi
  9. Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch

10. Maitreyi Gupta, Lawyers Collective, New Delhi

11. Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA, New Delhi

12. Anuradha Kapoor ,Swayam, Calcutta

13. People’s Union for Democratic Rights PUDR

14. Indira, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression, (WSS), New Delhi

15. Kavita Srivastav, PUCL

16. Padma Deosthali, CEHAT, Mumbai

17. Partners for Law in Development, New Delhi

18. Kalpana Mehta, Manasi Swasthya Sansthan, Indore

19. Nandita Gandhi, Akshara, Bombay

20. AALI (Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives), Lucknow

21. National Alliance of people’s Movements (NAPM)

22. Mallika, Maati, Uttarakhand

23. Meena Saraswathi Seshu, SANGRAM, Sangli

24. Zubaan, New Delhi

25. Indrani Sinha, Sanlaap, Calcutta

26. GRAMEENA MAHILA Okkutta, Karnataka

27. WinG Assam

28. Arati Chokshi, PUCL, Bangalore.

29. Action India, Delhi

30. North East Network (NEN)

31. National Network Of Sex Workers NNSW

32. Majlis Law, Legal Services for Women, Mumbai

33. Sahiayar (Stree Sangathan), Vadodara

34. National Federation of Indian Women

35. Vasanth Kannabiran (NAWO, AP) Asmita

36. Sheba George, SAHRWARU, Ahmedabad

37. Anandi, Gujarat

38. Medha Kotwal, Aalochana, Pune

39. Sakhi Women’s Resource Centre, Kerala

40. SAMYAK, Pune

41. Shabana Kazi, VAMP, Sangli

42. Sruti disAbility Rights Centre, Kolkata

43. Forum to Engage Men (FEM), New Delhi

44. MASVAW( Men Action for stopping Violence Against Women), UP

45. YP Foundation

46. Breakthrough, New Delhi

47. V Rukmini Rao, Gramya Resource Centre for Women, Secunderabad

48. LABIA, a queer feminist LBT collective, Mumbai

49. Law Trust, Tamil Nadu

50. Men’s Action to Stop Violence against Women (MASVAW), UP

51. National Forum for Single Women’s Rights

52. NAWO-AP, Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society (APWWS)

53. Indigenous Women’s Resource Centre (IWRC)

54. New Socialist Initiative, Delhi

55. Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam

56. Sangat, a South Asian Feminist Network

57. Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Mumbai

58. SWATI, Ahmedabad

59. Tamil Nadu Women Fish Workers Forum

60. Subhash Mendhapurkar,SUTRA, H.P.

61. Mario, Nigah, queer collective, New Delhi

62. Sushma Varma, Samanatha Mahila Vedike, Bangalore

63. Mahila Sarvangeen Utkarsh Mandal (MASUM), Pune

64. Priti Darooka, PWESCR (The Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), New Delhi

65. Pushpa Achanta (WSS, Karnataka)

66. AWN, Kabul

67. AZAD and Sakha Team, Delhi

68. Ekta, Madurai

69. Empower People

70. Society for Women’s action and Training Initiatives-SWATI

71. Centre for Health and Social Justice

72. All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW)

73. Qashti: A support group for LBT people assigned female at birth

74. Deep Sonpal, UNNATI Organisation for Development Education

75. Gautam Bandyopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh

76. Women’s Welfare Center, Pune

77. Dolon Ganguly, Jeevika Development Society

78. Sangini (I) Trust

79. Parichiti – A Society for Empowermnet of Women

80. Minu Sud, Simla

81. Maya Ratnam, Baltimore, MD, United States

82. Diane Smith, Hornby Island, Canada

83. Ramlath Kavil

84. carmen urbín, Spain

85. Kochurani Abraham

86. Georgie Wemyss, London, United Kingdom

87. Sonali Gulati, Richmond, VA, United States

88. Ruchi Chaturvedi, South Africa

89. Nandini Manjrekar

90. Poulomi Pal

91. Juhi Agrawal, London, United Kingdom

92. Nandini Ghosh

93. shreya S

94. Varuni Bhatia, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

95. Ellen Sprenger, Johannesburg, South Africa

96. Sumita Chatterjee, Miami, FL, United States

97. Giovanna Pompele, Miami, FL, United States

98. Abhay Kashalkar

99. Monisha Dhingra

  1. swatija paranjpe
  2. Ribhav Dhingra
  3. jayesh jaidka, New Delhi
  4. Kanwaljit Khurana, Australia
  5. Pooja Gupta
  6. Abha Khetarpal
  7. Pawan Kumar
  8. Smriti Nevatia
  9. amol ranjan
  10. Manisha Sethi
  11. Manoj Bisani
  12. Divya S Sarathy
  13. Malini Chakravarty
  14. Pyoli Swatija
  15. Ayushi Saxena
  16. Preethi Krishnan, West Lafayette, United States
  17. Pothik Ghosh
  18. Usha  Raman
  19. suchismita chattopadhyay
  20. Vanmala Vachani
  21. Nitya Menon
  22. Rishika Gupta
  23. Swarna Rajagopalan
  24. SUJATA KHANDEKAR
  25. Ruchi Yadav
  26. Proshant Chakraborty
  27. Ajit Kumar
  28. Sumita Thapar
  29. Nalini Visvanathan, Washington, DC, United States
  30. Sandhya Rao
  31. Saikat Ghosh
  32. Azeema Vogeler, Honolulu, HI, United States
  33. Anuradha Prasad
  34. Ratna Sudarshan
  35. Hema Sekhar, Bangalore,
  36. Aradhana Sharma, Middletown, CT, United States
  37. Sandhya Ahuja
  38. ASHISH KUMAR DEY
  39. V VIJAYAKUMAR
  40. Shernaz Italia, New Delhi
  41. Lalita Ramdas
  42. Salita Naik
  43. Ahamed Raza, Hanford, CA, United States
  44. Shyamjyoti Saikia
  45. Afrah Abdulmughni
  46. Zoya Akthar
  47. Aparna Datta
  48. Kazim Khan, London, United Kingdom
  49. Nandita Bhatla
  50. Samia Vasa
  51. Arantxa Bharatiya, Pune
  52. Jaya Rose
  53. Lester Coutinho, Faridabad, Haryana, CA,
  54. Julia Hard, London, United Kingdom
  55. Seela M Mahapatra, New Delhi
  56. krishna Menon
  57. neetika vishwanath
  58. Khushboo Jain
  59. Avijit Michael
  60. Sucheta Bhattacharya, kolkata
  61. Pankaj Jha
  62. PRIYANKA SISODIYA
  63. Chetan Kumria Taipei, Taiwan
  64. Sreekala MG
  65. Vasudha Pande
  66. Kelly Lyon, United States
  67. Kanan Puntambekar
  68. Kumkum Roy
  69. Tushar Shah
  70. Meenakshi Malhotra
  71. Jigna Kothari
  72. garima shrivastava
  73. Neelima Aryan, Bangalore
  74. Mridu Kamal
  75. anusha lall
  76. Sangeetha Purushothaman
  77. Rita Thapa, kathmandu, Nepal
  78. Swati Sahi
  79. Lata Singh
  80. Nupur Amarnath, New Delhi,
  81. Sister Philomina, WWC, Pune
  82. Tej Prakash
  83. Prabita Chandran, Redmond, WA, United States
  84. Antonia McGuire, Boston, United Kingdom
  85. Vinaya More, Mumbai
  86. Anurag Acharya, Kathmandu, Nepal
  87. Shreya Sanghani, London, United Kingdom
  88. Rajender Negi
  89. Shilpi Bhattacharya
  90. Karthika Vijayan
  91. Meher Rehman
  92. Anubha Shukla
  93. Ratna Manjari
  94. benu mohanlal
  95. Ajay Cadambi
  96. Jaiprakash Taparia
  97. Rukmini Sen
  98. Sneha Banerjee
  99. Bhagyashri Mundhe
  100. Maya Shanker
  101. Jharna Pathak
  102. Bindu Menon
  103. Preetha Nair
  104. Amita Verma, American Samoa
  105. Gummy mug
  106. Afifa Azim, Afghan Women Network (AWN), Kabul, Afghanistan
  107. Purnima Gupta
  108. Nalini Varshney
  109. Arnaz Irani, Mumbai
  110. Apoorva Kaiwar
  111. Indu MG
  112. Sadia Saeed
  113. Saradamoni K
  114. Jahnvi Andharia
  115. Vinamarata Kaur
  116. Seema Srivastava
  117. indu prakash singh
  118. Ankush Das
  119. Deepa Sonpal
  120. Sangita Dasgupta
  121. Priyanka Sarkar
  122. Sanchali Sarkar
  123. pratibha dmello, Delhi
  124. Aman Khot
  125. adele tulli, United Kingdom
  126. Ruchi Tripathi, Tonbridge, United Kingdom
  127. Ayeshaa Sinha
  128. Tejaswini Niranjana
  129. Nupur Sanyal
  130. Dharmen Shah
  131. abhay singh
  132. Asha G
  133. Anima Sanyal
  134. Kartika Suhag, Gurgaons
  135. Sarmistha Dutta Gupta
  136. Chhaya Datar
  137. Savita Kulkarni
  138. Beenu Rawat
  139. Susheela Singh
  140. desai rashesh
  141. Alagar Gandimathi
  142. Krishna Kant
  143. Saurabh Nautiyal
  144. Rajoshi Nagchaudhuri, New Westminster, Canada
  145. Urvashi Chauhan
  146. Michelle Harrison
  147. Arpita Chatterjee
  148. Retu Singh
  149. Joy Tnjoy
  150. Rocky Schnaath        Oakland, CA, United States
  151. Eva Droetto, Göteborg, Sweden
  152. Udaya Kumar, New Delhi
  153. Pragna Patel, London, United Kingdom
  154. George Pulikuthiyil
  155. Dr. Jyotsna Chatterji
  156. Maninya M
  157. Siddharth Govindan
  158. mukesh RAWAT
  159. noorani mallick
  160. Ritika Ganguly, Guilderland, NY, United States
  161. shweta mahajan
  162. Beena Rehman, Delhi
  163. Srijeeta Mitra
  164. Anjali Monteiro
  165. Prtiesh Shah, Clinton, NJ, United States
  166. Ajitha Kunnikkal
  167. nalini menon
  168. Sunil D’Monte
  169. meenal chaudhari, United States
  170. shabana nessen, United States
  171. Muneeza Inam, United Kingdom
  172. Pradeep Esteves
  173. Shiney Varghese, Minneapolis, MN, United States
  174. Leila Fitton Bath, United Kingdom
  175. Dhrubo Jyoti
  176. Rahila Gupta, London, United Kingdom
  177. ADRIAN PARKER       boston, United Kingdom
  178. Murray Culshaw, Bangalore
  179. Krishnakant Chauhan
  180. Anil Karihaloo, cheshire, CT, United States
  181. indira balan
  182. S Ismail, London, CA, United States
  183. andrew gurevich, Gresham, OR, United States
  184. Ravi Chopra
  185. Namrata Sharma, Kathmandu, Nepal
  186. K M Venugopalan
  187. Anuradha Ramanujan
  188. Ana Guedes, Matosinhos, Portugal
  189. Chitra Ramanujan
  190. Sushmita Mukherjee
  191. Ginny Shrivastava, Udaipur, Rajasthan
  192. Biswa Ranjan Patnaik
  193. Bindu Amat
  194. Arun Jindal
  195. Sr.Flora Mary
  196. Balaraman Kuttamath Kunniyur
  197. Anindita Roy
  198. Sushmita Mandal
  199. Sumathi Rao
  200. Rohan DSouza
  201. Gauri Nigudkar
  202. Nidhi Shendurnikar
  203. Shalini Mahajan
  204. Amitangshu Acharya
  205. Janki Andharia
  206. puloma pal
  207. Sampoorna India A Network of Trans* Indians
  208. Sumeet Sharma
  209. Ishita Chaudhry
  210. suvanwita saha
  211. Ajth Kumar
  212. Drishadwati Bargi
  213. Muhammad Vapiwalla, Essex, United Kingdom
  214. Rukmini Dey
  215. Siddhartha Chatterjee
  216. Reshma R
  217. Smriti Acharya
  218. Rajlakshmi Iyengar
  219. Anuradha Nambiar
  220. Archana Khare Ghose
  221. Abbas Rohawala
  222. Anne Philpott, London
  223. Jaya Menon
  224. Anindya Bandyopadhyay
  225. Aditi Mehta, Indore
  226. Pallavi Gupta
  227. Sandhya P C
  228. Limnesh Augustine
  229. Vignesh Manjeshwar
  230. Sreya Chatterjee
  231. Liansangpuia Chhakchhuak
  232. Akhilesh Mattoo
  233. Chaitra Chandapillai
  234. shivangi puri
  235. Anya Gupta
  236. Krishna Das
  237. JAnet Price, Lpool, United Kingdom
  238. Ajith Kumar
  239. Suneetha Achyuta
  240. shereen bhan, atlanta, Puerto Rico
  241. Srila Roy, Nottingham, United Kingdom
  242. JAYASHREE KHIRE
  243. Uma Ravikumar
  244. Eddie Bruce-Jones, London, United Kingdom
  245. Suresh K Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  246. Pallabi Chakravorty, Wynnewood, PA, United States
  247. Sheila Shulman         London, United Kingdom
  248. lalit jha, Cypress, TX, United States
  249. Sikander Bhana, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  250. Shraddha Chatterjee
  251. Sheba George
  252. Simrita Gopal Singh, Pune
  253. Radha Misra
  254. Amit Baishya, Muncie, IN, United States
  255. Juhi Bhasin
  256. Ragini Deshpande
  257. Celeste Gurevich, Portland, OR, United States
  258. Amlan Das Gupta
  259. Anjum Rajabali
  260. Namita Kohli, austin, TX, United States
  261. Louise Banerjei, Mumbai
  262. Vahista Dastoor
  263. Arundhati Dhuru
  264. Poonam Muttreja
  265. Maria Paladino Eugene, United States
  266. Papiya Banerjee
  267. Sudhamani N
  268. Sheena Kanwar, New Delhi
  269. ilham khan
  270. Malati Roy
  271. Anita Anand
  272. Rita Manchanda
  273. Subha Dasgupta
  274. Kobyum Zirdo
  275. Himanshu Pandya
  276. Abrity Basu
  277. Shruti, PhD, JNU
  278. Sutapa Chakraborty ,Behala keertika
  279. Sarmistha Dutta Gupta ,Sachetana and Ebong Alap, Kolkata
  280. Madhupurna GhoshJt. Secretary Sutanutir Sakhya
  281. Swati Chatterjee, South Kolkata Sannidhya
  282. Sonali Banerjee, Sanlaap, Kolkata
  283. Rajashree Dasgupta
  284. Devyani Bhardwaj
  285. Anwesha Haldar
  286. Pragnya Joshi
  287. Saptarshi Mandal, Legal Researcher, New Delhi
  288. Reya Mozumdar, New Delhi
  289. Sabitha. T. P.,University College London
  290. Philip Vinod Peacock, Bishop’s College
  291. Ananya Sarkar
  292. Trina Nileena Banerjee, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU.
  293. Satish Kumar Singh
  294. Rita Thapa, Nepal
  295. Lakshmi Premkumar, New Delhi
  296. Sourangshu Banerjee ,Executive, PRADAN
  297. Anubhuti Sharma
  298. Ratna Raman
  299. P.P. Verma, Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum, Ranchi, Jharkhand
  300. Shilpa Phadke
  301. Mini Matthew, advocate.
  302. Kriti Team, New delhi
  303. Shweta Vachani
  304. Neha Kagal
  305. Sophia Khan, Gender & Legal Consultant, Gujarat
  306. CFAR
  307. Chayya Datar
  308. Jarjum Ete ,Spokesperson, Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society
  309. Preetha Nair, Journalist
  310. Pramada Menon
  311. GEETA SESHU
  312. Sangeeta Chatterji
  313. shashi khurana
  314. Shruti Arora
  315. Ratna Appnender
  316. neha kagal, london, United Kingdom
  317. Amrita Shodhan, London, United Kingdom
  318. beena JP
  319. Amrita Chhachhi, New Delhi,
  320. Ila Patlolla, brighton, United Kingdom
  321. ponni arasu, New Delhi
  322. Hamsini Ravi, Brighton, United Kingdom
  323. Supriya Madangarli
  324. Ulrike M. Vieten, Leeds, United Kingdom
  325. Geetanjali Gangoli, Bristol, United Kingdom
  326. Ambika Nair
  327. G Arunima
  328. Kabi S
  329. Madhvi Zutshi
  330. Rachit Barak
  331. dhanu swadi
  332. Anney Unnikrishnan
  333. Mansi Sharma
  334. Seema Mustafa
  335. Imrana Qadeer
  336. Kabir
  337. Sharmila Rege, Pune
  338. Anna George, New Delhi
  339. Sheba Chhachhi
  340. Ayesha Kidwai, JNU
  341. Prakash Burte, freelance journalist
  342. ICAN
  343. Dhiviya David
  344. DidiBahini
  345. Deepa
  346. Sonali Khan
  347. Subhash Mohapatra
  348. Sapana Pradhan Malla, Nepal
  349. Prajanya
  350. Gargi Chakravartty
  351. Koninika Ray
  352. Ranjana Ray
  353. Vrinda Grover
  354. Chayanika Shah, Bombay
  355. Aruna Roy
  356. Kalyani Menon-Sen, Feminist Learning Partnerships, Gurgaon
  357. Nandini Rao
  358. Pratiksha Baxi
  359. Amrita Nandy
  360. Farah Naqvi, Writer & Activist, Delhi
  361. Nivedita Menon
  362. Urvashi Butalia
  363. Kaveri R I, Bengaluru
  364. Dunu Roy
  365. Harsh Mander
  366. Anil TV
  367. Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Bangalore
  368. Rahul Roy
  369. Rituparna Borah, queer feminist activist
  370. Ranjana Padhi, New Delhi
  371. Trupti Shah, Vadodara, Gujarat
  372. Sudha Bharadwaj
  373. Annie Raja
  374. Veena Shatrugna,  Hyderabad
  375. Vani Subramanian, New Delhi,
  376. Kamayani Bali Mahabal
  377. Kiran Shaheen, Journalist and activist
  378. Lesley A Esteves, journalist, New Delhi
  379. Abha Bhaiya
  380. Aditi Malhotra
  381. devangana kalita, assam
  382. Aruna Burte
  383. Anita Ghai
  384. Mohan Rao, New Delhi
  385. Rakhi Sehgal, New Delhi
  386. Geetha Nambisan
  387. Charan Singh, New Delhi
  388. Manjima Bhattacharjya
  389. Jinee Lokaneeta,Associate professor, Drew University, Madison, NJ
  390. Kavita Panjabi, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  391. Albertina Almeida, Goa
  392. Satyajit Rath, New Delhi
  393. Prerna Sud, New Delhi
  394. Priya Sen, New Delhi
  395. Aarthi Pai, Bangalore
  396. Kalpana Vishwanath, Gurgaon
  397. Aisha K. Gill, Reader in Criminology, University of Roehampton, London
  398. Ammu Abraham, Mumbai
  399. Anagha Sarpotdar, Activist and PhD Student, Mumbai
  400. Anand Pawar
  401. Anuradha Marwah, Ajmer Adult Education Association (AAEA), Ajmer
  402. Asha Ramesh, activist/researcher/consultant
  403. Bondita
  404. Gauri Gill, New delhi
  405. Sophia Khan, Gender & Legal Consultant, Gujarat
  406. Niranjani Iyer, Chennai
  407. Dyuti Ailawadi
  408. Gandimathi Alagar
  409. Gayatri Buragohain – Feminist Approach to Technology (FAT), New Delhi
  410. Geetha Nambisan, Delhi
  411. Sadhna Arya, New Delhi
  412. Vineeta Bal, New Delhi
  413. Suneeta Dhar
  414. Geeta Ramaseshan, Advocate, Chennai
  415. Sonal Sharma, New Delhi
  416. Anusha Hariharan, Delhi/Chennai
  417. Jayasree.A.K,
  418. Gautam Bhan, New Delhi
  419. Jayasree Subramanian, TISS, Hyderabad
  420. Jhuma Sen, Advocate, Supreme Court
  421. Teena Gill, New Delhi
  422. Kannamma Raman
  423. Karuna D W
  424. Kavita Panjabi
  425. Shalini Krishan, New Delhi
  426. Lalita Ramdas, Secunderabad
  427. Manasi Pingle
  428. Madhumita Dutta, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  429. Manoj Mitta
  430. Pamela Philipose
  431. Parul Chaudhary
  432. Preethi Herman
  433. Sunil Gupta, New Delhi
  434. Radha Khan
  435. Rama Vedula
  436. Rebecca John
  437. Renu Khanna, SAHAJ
  438. Rohini Hensman (Writer and Activist, Bombay)
  439. Rohit Prajapati, Environmental activist, Gujarat
  440. Roshmi Goswami
  441. Shipra Nigam, Consultant Economist, Research and Information Systems, New Delhi
  442. Shipra Deo, Agribusiness Systems International Vamshakti, Pratapgarh
  443. Rukmini Datta
  444. Sridala Swami
  445. Sarba Raj Khadka, Kathmandu
  446. Satish K. Singh, CHSJ
  447. Shinkai Karokhail, from the Afghanistan Parliament
  448. Sima Samar, Kabul
  449. Smita Singh, FTII, Pune
  450. Subhalakshmi Nandi
  451. Sujata Gothoskar
  452. Swar Thounaojam
  453. Inayat Sabhikhi
  454. Jaya Vindhyala, Hyderabad
  455. Sukrit Chandhoke
  456. Svati Shah, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, NY, United States
  457. Anand Bhaiya
  458. Prabha N
  459. Nisha Biswas
  460. Pramodini Pradhan
  461. Chitra Panikkar
  462. Paroma Ray, Singapore
  463. Ketaki Chowkhani
  464. Shivani Gupta
  465. Brinda Bose
  466. Arunava Sinha
  467. neha chaturvedi
  468. Suchi Kushwah, New Delhi
  469. Kriti Budhiraja
  470. Indra Sengupta, London, United Kingdom
  471. Vineet Nagrath
  472. Ashley Tellis
  473. Barbara Holtmann, Randburg, South Africa
  474. Sushobha Barve
  475. shishir chandra
  476. Charusmita Gadekar
  477. Vasvi Oza
  478. Manisha Pathania
  479. rajashree gandhi
  480. Debarati Halder, Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling
  481. Malini Krishnankutty
  482. vandana mahajan
  483. Anup Dhar
  484. Anubha Sood, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  485. Shrutipriya Dalmia
  486. Soumya Chattopadhyay
  487. Ravi Verma
  488. Rahul Mishra
  489. Nandini Sundar
  490. Leslie Jogi, Cape Town, South Africa
  491. Ritu Priya
  492. Hitakshi Sehgal
  493. Dwijen Rangnekar, Coventry, United Kingdom
  494. Mane Kumria, London, United Kingdom
  495. Sara Ortiz Escalante, Spain
  496. Mohini Sharm
  497. Ravindran Sriramachandran, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
  498. Vinita Bhatia
  499. mohan dharavath
  500. Mythri Prasad
  501. Shreya K
  502. Harish Tharayil
  503. Binita Pandya
  504. Shrikant Wad
  505. zaida muxi, barcelona, Spain
  506. Tarang Mahajan
  507. Snigdha Gupta
  508. renu rajbhandari, kathmandu, Nepal
  509. Himakshi Piplani
  510. Janani Sekhar
  511. Swapnil Gupta, New Haven, CT, United States
  512. Shraddha Chickerur
  513. Gitanjali S
  514. Bishakha Bhanja
  515. Sharmishtha Bose
  516. Maya Ganesh
  517. Anand Kumria, london United Kingdom
  518. Meera Joshi
  519. William Toscano, Minneapolis, MN, United States
  520. Priyadarshini Rajagopalan
  521. Koonal Duggal, Hyderabad
  522. sulbha jagat
  523. Jayaram N.
  524. Sudha N, Bangalore
  525. Arti Maddali
  526. Poushali Basak
  527. Dhivya Sivaramane
  528. Aashita Jain
  529. Archita Bhuyan
  530. Maja Raicevic, Podgorica, Montenegro
  531. Sandya Hewamanne, Winston Salem, NC, United States
  532. Ellora Puri
  533. Pooja Das Sarkar
  534. Uma KP
  535. sushmita pati
  536. Sudha Venkataramachar
  537. Roli Khattri, United States
  538. Radhika Balakrishnan, New York, NY, United States
  539. Abhishek Srivastava
  540. Vivek Pathak
  541. srirupa Prasad, United States
  542. Rajan Kurai Krishnan
  543. Geetanjali Khanna
  544. Purwa Bharadwaj
  545. Jayita Roy, Moscow
  546. Seema Aroram, United States
  547. Shreya Sen, Kolkata, West Bengal
  548. Sourya Majumder
  549. Subhajit Das
  550. Moulshree Shukla
  551. Nithila Kanagasabai
  552. Sumit Chavan
  553. Manisha Gupte, Pune
  554. Ishita Ghosh, Palo Alto, CA, United States
  555. Bimla Chandrasekar
  556. Dilkash Kapur
  557. Abanti Dutta
  558. Abe Hayeem, Edgware, United Kingdom
  559. John Meghen, Bedford, United Kingdom
  560. Ritu Mahendru, london, United Kingdom
  561. Yamini Atmavilas
  562. Lakshmi Menon
  563. Anupama Raj
  564. RK Bhardwaj
  565. Runu Chakraborty, Uttar Pradesh,
  566. Prabhakar Sonparote, Gurnee, IL, United States Minor Outlying Islands
  567. Beulah Azariah
  568. cijo joy
  569. K.S.Sebastian Kandathil
  570. Shuchi Vora, Mumbai
  571. Rima Kashyap
  572. nevin thomas
  573. PANKTI JOG
  574. CK Ramachandran, Calicut,
  575. Philarisa Sarma Nongpiur
  576. Ciby James
  577. Kripa Basnyat, Kathmandu, Nepal
  578. Prasad Chacko
  579. Monika Walia
  580. Women for Human Rights single women group, Nepal
  581. Ammel Sharon
  582. Sudipta Mukhopadhyay
  583. Vinod Srinivasan, Guilderland, NY, United States
  584. M. Shankar
  585. Archana Shrivastava
  586. Khurshid Anwar
  587. Juhi Gautam
  588. nabanita bhattacharyya
  589. KURAPATI SRINIVAS
  590. Sunayana Walia
  591. Abhijit Das
  592. Anuja K
  593. Smitha Francis
  594. Anushree Tapadar
  595. MINAKSHI SANYAL
  596. Deepanwita Dutta
  597. shivangi jaiswal
  598. Hemal Shroff
  599. jishnu sadasivan
  600. BURNAD FATHIMA NATESAN
  601. Jayati Ghosh
  602. Sumathi Murthy
  603. Sheba Tejani
  604. Ruhi Gautam
  605. Juhi Jain
  606. Maya Valecha
  607. meera visvanathan
  608. azra siddiqui
  609. Urvashi Gandhi
  610. Anamika Bhattacharya
  611. Oishik Sircar, Australia
  612. Meenal Kannan
  613. Geeta Charusivam
  614. Shikha Sultan
  615. Anchita Ghatak, Kolkata
  616. Ruma Nguri
  617. Atiya Bose
  618. Amrita Nag
  619. karken riba, itanagar
  620. Eps Greenheads, Itanagar
  621. Gargie Bhattacharya
  622. Samantak Das
  623. NGULI DABI
  624. Sukumar Ray
  625. Rolly Shivhare
  626. Rupsa Nath
  627. Arijita Pal
  628. Deepa V M
  629. niti deoliya
  630. Patricia Mukhim
  631. Shilpi Aggarwal
  632. Shankar Tayung Jonai, Social Activist
  633. milli ossin
  634. Subhrajeet Chakraborty
  635. Nafisa Barot
  636. Madhu Menon
  637. Habung Dunya
  638. urmila unnikrishnan
  639. Hage Umpi
  640. Madhuja Mukherjee
  641. Anitha Sunil
  642. Probal Dasgupta
  643. Farah Batool
  644. Kousalya PWN
  645. Gurjeet Kaur
  646. Suparna Gupta
  647. Pereena Lamba, Mumbai,
  648. Budhaditya Das
  649. We Community Action Network VCAN
  650. josephine joseph
  651. RIMPLE MEHTA, KOLKATA,
  652. Salim Khalid, Gujranwala, Pakistan
  653. Joram Ruth
  654. Weeny Lisa
  655. lipi karso
  656. Shivshankar Menon
  657. Priya Agrawal
  658. tenzin dorjee
  659. ujjayini ray
  660. Neeti Daftari
  661. RIME NGULOM
  662. Aarif Saiyed, London, United Kingdom
  663. Dr Gita Bharali, United States
  664. Aban confectioner
  665. vikas kumar
  666. Joti Sekhon, Winston-Salem, NC, United States
  667. madhabi maity
  668. Radha Bhatt, London, United Kingdom
  669. susana barria
  670. Amiya Dev
  671. Arindam Ghatak
  672. Kamlesh Oza
  673. Usman Jawed
  674. Shawn Fontain, Elmira, OR, United States
  675. Shweta Radhakrishnan
  676. Carole Spary, York, United Kingdom
  677. Andy  Lee, Los Angeles, CA, United States
  678. Revathi Narayanan
  679. Aatreyee Sen
  680. Ajay T Edison, NJ, United States
  681. Moitreyee Mitra
  682. Prasad Pannian
  683. Bindu Balan, Puducherry
  684. Sasikala Ravichandran
  685. Uma Ramakrishnan
  686. Sudha Balakrishnan
  687. Elsie Roy
  688. Subadra Murthy
  689. Raheema Begam
  690. Raziya begam
  691. Jyothi Sambhani, Southampton, United Kingdom
  692. Urmi Duggal
  693. Vidya Lakshmi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  694. Nandita Basu
  695. Ram Mahalingam, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  696. baisali mohanty
  697. Ujjwal Singh
  698. Anupama Roy
  699. Preethi Mohan, Ajman, United Arab Emirates
  700. Lalitha Devaradjy, Rochester Hills, MI, United States
  701. Joshina Ramakrishnan
  702. Onni Gust, Northampton, MA, United States
  703. preeti chauhan
  704. Yuki Hibben, Richmond, VA, United States
  705. Poorvi B
  706. LM Ishiguro, Vancouver, Canada
  707. Sanjukta Sunderason, Leiden, Netherlands
  708. Uditi Sen
  709. Soraya Victoria         France
  710. Priyanka Srivastava, Northampton, MA, United States
  711. Shrinkhla Agrawal, Mishawaka, IN, United States
  712. Deepti Tandon
  713. KhushI Kabir, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  714. Zarina Kabir, Stockholm, Sweden
  715. Pallavi Choudhuri, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
  716. Neepa Majumdar, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  717. Erica Wald, London, United Kingdom
  718. AInoon Naher, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  719. Deepa Majumdar, Westville, IN, United States
  720. Marie De Santis, Gualala, CA, United States
  721. Aleeze Moss, Philadelphia, PA, United States
  722. Papa Nurun Nahar, Boston, MA, United States
  723. Bernhard Hertlein, Bielefeld, Germany
  724. Krupa Shandilya, Amherst, MA, United States
  725. Amrita Basu, Amherst, MA, United States
  726. Kumar Nishant
  727. Javed Anand
  728. Bimal Borah
  729. Indu Sagar
  730. Akku Chowdhury, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  731. Mahi Mahiuddin Palash, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  732. Tanisha Ameen, Australia
  733. jayadevan pc
  734. Uma Vennam
  735. Kate Swann, bognor regis, United Kingdom
  736. Anatya Vallabh
  737. Veena Nabar
  738. Yogesh Bhasin
  739. Nida Kirmani, Lahore, Pakistan
  740. Namita Bharati
  741. Jayarajan PK
  742. Tom Mundakel, Brooklyn, NY, United States
  743. Satish Shetty, Redmond, WA, United States
  744. rosemary antrobus, london, United Kingdom
  745. TAHERA YASMIN, dhaka, Bangladesh
  746. Ravinder Singh
  747. JAHNAVI BORTHAKUR SAXENA
  748. Mohseneen Mirza
  749. Shaista waseem
  750. Virendra Kumar
  751. Bizeth Banerjee
  752. CHITTARANJAN GUPTA
  753. Pankaj Ganeshgarhia
  754. Kishore Pisapati
  755. Salil Mathur
  756. Kunal Chugh
  757. Garima Puniani
  758. Alisha Kapoor
  759. RUMANA HASHEM, Beckton, United Kingdom
  760. Honey Gupta
  761. Supriya Naik
  762. Alyosha Goldstein, Albuquerque, NM, United States
  763. Apoorva Sinha
  764. Preeti Sheth
  765. Uma Asher
  766. PJ Saju, Ernakulam
  767. caroline RATCHAGANATHAN, France
  768. Poarkodi Natarajan
  769. Jhelum Roy
  770. Seema Sarohe
  771. Chandra sekhar
  772. sarita bakliwal
  773. pamela voekel, athens, GA, United States
  774. ROHITH CHANDRAN
  775. lia latha
  776. Sivagamavallie G
  777. abeedha samy, Singapore
  778. malathi jay
  779. Dhanalakshmi Ramany
  780. ali syed
  781. Banu Subramaniam, Amherst, MA, United States
  782. ARUP BARUA, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  783. Anuraag Verma
  784. Tanya Mehta
  785. AASTHA AHUJA
  786. Aqeel Imam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  787. Priya Senthil, Chennai
  788. Subhashini Varadarajan
  789. Rajiny Balaji
  790. Satya Prakash Arya
  791. mohana rushyandhan, chennai,
  792. Shubham Gupta
  793. Aishwarya Aish
  794. Nita Gopal
  795. Devi Lakshmikutty, DH, Netherlands
  796. Satish Rathore
  797. Albert Helene
  798. Tushar Anjaria
  799. Dhirendra Panda
  800. Reena Mohan
  801. Kavitha Kuruganti, Bengalaru
  802. Mohan Hirabai Hiralal
  803. Vamshakti, Pratapgarh
  804. Amit R. Baishya ,Assistant Professor ,Ball State University, Indiana
  805. Deepika Tandon, Miranda House
  806. Saswati Ghosh
  807. Amrita Ibrahim, Washington, DC, United States
  808. Devika Chawla, Athens, OH, United States
  809. Neelanjana Mukhia
  810. Khushi Kabir, Nijera Kori, Bangladesh
  811. Akhila Sivadas
  812. Ritu Mahendru
  813. Krishnakant, Gujarat
  814. Dr. Smarajit Jana
  815. Dr. Sushena Reza-Paul
  816. Dr. Sundaraman
  817. Sarojini
  818. Nandita Bhatia
  819. Priya Thangarajah, legal researcher, Colombo
  820. Jan Pehal
  821. ActionAid Bhopal
  822. Soukhya Project, Bengaluru
  823. Vijayalakshmi BV
  824. Usha Shrivastava
  825. Prasanna PR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press Release- Serial Hunger strike by 50 tribals of Gadchiroli district incarcerated at the Nagpur Central Prison. #Humanrightsday


( ABOVE IS THE POSTER MADE BY INMATES

Around 50 tribals of Gadchiroli district incarcerated at the Nagpur Central Prison as political prisoners have commenced a serial hunger strike from 10thDecember, International Human Rights Day to 21st December 2012 

These tribal prisoners have consistently protested since the last 2 years against the failure of the judicial process and high handedness of the local district police. It is not a coincidence that Shri. R.R. Patil, the State home Minister is also the guardian minister of Gadchiroli district and all such violations of Human Rights are happening under his very own patronage. In April 2011, Shri. Patil while replying to a question raised by Ms. Shobatai Fadnavis had promised the State Legislative Council that he would review all cases of tribals arrested under charges of naxalism in Gadchiroli. However, there has been no intent to fulfill this promise in the past 21 months.

Along with this demand the protesting tribals have also raised the following grievances:

  1. The practice of the Gadchiroli police to re-arrest tribals immediately after their release from prison still continues (See attachment No.2). Despite numerous petitions from prisoners and civil rights organizations this violation of Human rights goes on unabated.
  2. Inability of the State administration to inaugurate the Gadchiroli prison (See attachment No.3). Although this prison has been completed since the past 2 years, the government has still not started it. Hence tribals of Gadchiroli are incarcerated in the prisons of Nagpur, Amravati and Chandrapur- prisons which are more than 150 to 300 kms from the trial courts. Resultantly, these tribals are not being produced before the trial courts for the past 23 months. This distance has also caused their family links to be severed.
  3. The practice of handcuffing undertrials on their way to court also still continues, despite the Supreme Court directives against its use (See attachment No.4). Recently, due to this illegal practice four undertrials were severely injured in a road accident. However the responsible police officials are yet to be punished.
  4. A two year old boy born in prison to a tribal couple has been compelled to be separated from his father. While father was transferred to Nagpur prison, his mother remains at Amravati prison despite numerous requests pending in the trial court and jail authorities (See attachment No.5).
  5. The atrocities of the district police and especially the notorious anti-naxal C-60 commandoes go on unimpeded. A undertrial, Ramesh Naitam seeks justice in the custodial death case of his mother (See attachment No.6).

The protesting tribals have requested the State legislative bodies in session at Nagpur to look into the above issues on the occasion of International Human rights day.

On behalf of the protesting tribals,

Adv. Surendra Gadling- gsurendra12@yahoo.co.in

( attchments are in marathi if you need pl email )

Nagpur

 

Immediate Release- People of Gujarat Demand Answers #mustshare #elections


 

PRESS RELEASE
DATE: 5 December 2012
PEOPLE’S DEMANDS – SOME MAJOR ISSUES.
• THIS DECEMBER GUJARAT NOT ONLY DECIDES BUT SEEKS ANSWERS TOO
• WHY POLL PROMISES REMAIN UNFULFILLED YEAR AFTER YEAR?

• WHY DO POLITICAL PARTIES AND CANDIDATES KEEP ON SPENDING MORE EACH POLL?
• GUJARAT SEEKS ANSWERS NOT RHETORIC FROM CANDIDATES AND POLITICAL PARTIES

As soon as election dates are announced, political leaders overwhelm voters with promises and sloganeering. Political parties and their candidates will once again be in the Gujarat assembly even though they have little to do with ideology, thanks to the votes of common people and the unaccounted money of the rich and powerful.
Time has now come to raise question about issues that concern the day-to-day life of citizens to those candidates who are indulging in expensive campaigning on various medium with little concrete to offer.

These, elections we no longer should remain passive, we question, we seek answers.
Political parties and candidates owe Gujarat now honest replies.

LET’S ASK THE CANDIDATES THE FOLLOWING

• Make public all that the leaders, MLAs, parties, ruling and others, did to fulfil the promises they made in and outside the assembly. In case they have not been fulfilled, explain the reasons publicly.
• When did you last use the public transport service, especially the government bus?
• Do your kith and kin go to private or government hospital and why?
• Where do your children, kith and kin study, in government or private schools/ colleges, give details?
• What role did you and your political party played during any act of state repression, public violence related to caste or communal strife in last ten years? What did you do for the victims, especially the poor and affected?
• What steps did you/your political party take to ensure peace and the violence does not take place again?
• Will you ensure land allotment to the dalits and landless farm labourers under the provisions of land ceiling act?
• Explain your position on the yet to be formulated ‘land use policy’ in the state.
• Can you guarantee that the development policy will not be based on privatization, liberalization and globalised capital markets, and make the policy details public?
• What do the candidates have to say about the ‘right to recall’ provision if they were not to fulfil their electoral promises?

PARTIES AND CANDIDATES SHOULD MAKE THEMSELVES CLEAR ON THESE POLICY ISSUES.

It is a shame that even after 65 years of Independence we need to reaffirm the political commitment on these issues, nevertheless,

(1) What changes/revisions will you ensure in state government policies and laws to ensure employment for all and living wages for sustenance livelihood?
(2) What market intervention measures will you adopt to ensure the easy and affordable availability for all in basic goods like grains, milk, cooking oil, cooking fuel etc?
(3) How will you ensure the supply of potable drinking water and water for domestic usage for all?
(4) What will you do to make public the water balance sheet which will detail the availability of water in the state and its usage?
(5) What will you do to ensure that Narmada waters will reach the small and marginal farmers of Saurashtra and Kutch as originally planned, without commodifying it?
(6) What changes will you ensure in budget to prevent privatisation and commercialisation of education and health?
(7) What will you do to ensure availability of free and good quality of education and health?
(8) What changes will you ensure in budget to ensure housing facilities for all?
(9) What rules will be framed to ensure control on increasing number of private vehicles, the ensuing vehicular pollution and to ensure an effective public transport system?
(10) What measures will be adopted to ensure security for all sections of societies and not just political leaders?
(11) What steps will be taken to ensure timely action against offenders be it of any political party, actor, officer, minster, chief minister, judge or a rich person?
(12) What steps will be taken to curb the all pervasive corruption?
(13) What will you do to ensure the rights of the displaced for Narmada and other irrigation projects, who continue to suffer, while those who set up industries and staying in the cities have started benefitting, instead of the farmers?
(14) Most petitions of the Tribals and forest dwellers under the forest rights act have been rejected so far. What will you do to ensure that the tribals get what is their due?
(15) What information do you have about the industrial pollution and the occupational diseases afflicting the workers and their families? What steps do you recommend to curb the industrial pollution and occupational diseases?
(16) While number of industries are on increase in Gujarat accompanied by domestic and international investment it has not resulted into corresponding increase in employment opportunities, especially secure atmosphere of employment. With increase in educated unemployed youths what measures do you recommend to ensure them jobs commensurate with their skills and educational standards?
(17) What steps will you take to ensure living wages, safety net like social security, health, maternity benefits to the unorganized sector labour, as 97.59% of the women workforce and 91.59% of the male workforce are working in unorganized sector in Gujarat? In addition, what measures will be taken to ensure functional environment for the roadside vendors and larriwallahs.
(18) 44.6% of the children in Gujarat are suffering from malnutrition, 41% of the children weigh less and 55% of the women suffer from anaemia. What will you to do ensure universalisation of the public distribution system? How will you ensure transparent and accountable system that delivers affordable access to good quality of food items to all?
(19) What steps will you take to ensure proper prices for the farmers and at the same time encourage adequate production of food crops in the state?
(20) What steps will you take to encourage organic farming even as use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides is on rise in farming?
(21) What steps will be taken to ensure easy access to all public places, like roads, transport system, schools, colleges, hospitals for the physically challenged?
(22) How will you initiate concrete measures that will ensure the accessibility and availability of the above mentioned for the youth, women and the poorest of the poor, the Dalits, Tribals, slum dwellers, child labourers, unorganized sector labourer, the minorities, the physically challenged.

ASK THE CANDIDATES TO MAKE THEIR STAND CLEAR ON CONCRETE MEASURES THEY WILL ADVOCATE/TAKE FOR THE WOMEN IN THE STATE

• Policies, amendments, intervention programmes to be undertaken to stem the increasing violence against women and also the skewed sex ratio in state.
• How to ensure effective implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005?
• Measures to ensure equitable share in property and land for women.
• Since ensuring a healthy environment for raising a child is not only the responsibility of a mother but the entire society, what facilities will be provided to working mother at all levels, be it in form of crèches and aanganwadis at place of work, market places etc?
• Measures to stem sexual violence and discrimination against women at work and public places.

[A letter with 38 demands for ‘Women’s Rights to live in a Society, which is Free from Violence’ was sent to all the political parties on 26-11-2012 by Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan).]

ENSURING PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY OF ALL THE CANDIDATES

While there is a beeline to get the tickets from political parties, it bears a question why it is perceived to be such a lucrative proposition now. Ideally, people’s representatives are there to serve the citizens in democratic set up, take up their issues and concerns. But that is hardly the case and most tend to behave as ‘Feudal Lords’. There exists no mechanism to make the people’s representatives publicly accountable or to be able to keep a check on their functioning.

Every workplace is governed by a set of regulations, similar ones should exist for people’s representatives as well.

It calls for questioning the facilities provided to elected public representatives, especially as they are funded by the tax payers’ contribution. In the present system everyone, even the poorest of poor is contributing to these expenses in direct/indirect ways, in the taxes they pay on basic items like even salt.

The time has come to frame rules governing not only the working of these public representatives but also to initiate disciplinary action if they were to violate them.

(1) The salary, facilities and perks provided as per the ‘The Gujarat Legislative Assembly Members Salaries and Allowances Act, 1960 be henceforth discontinued. Instead, double the amount of minimum wages as fixed in the state should be paid to them.
(2) The elected representatives should also be covered under the ‘The Provident Fund Act, 1952 and ‘The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948’ and alike the workers, their contribution should be deducted from their salaries.
(3) The elected representatives will be given a pair of uniform made from ‘Khadi’ or ‘Handloom ‘material which they should wear during while they are on duty.
(4) Alike other workers, they too can avail sick leave, casual leave and related leave facilities.
(5) The elected representatives will be barred from taking any type of gift as a representative and action will be taken for the violation.
(6) A ‘Committee Against Sexual Harassment’ will be appointed specially for the elected representatives as per the Supreme Court Judgment in Vishakha v/s State of Rajasthan. A special committee to look in to the complaints about Domestic Violence by them, against women in their family will be constituted.
(7) To assist the elected representatives with their public works, they can choose five persons from their constituency. And they too will be paid at par with elected representative.
(8) The government will provide for an office to the elected representative in their constituencies, which will be simple, but with adequate facilities. The office will remain open on all working days except on government holidays where the five salaried workers will be accessible to the public.
(9) During the session as well as afterwards, it will be compulsory for the representative to remain present in the office during the fixed hours in office.
(10) Every elected representative will be given a BSNL mobile phone on which the citizens can connect for free. As long as the phone is used for public work and not personal, the bills will be reimbursed accordingly.
(11) Every three months, the representative has to organize a public meeting in which they will make public all the works they have undertaken and also answer all the queries of the citizens of the area. They will also detail the plans for the forthcoming three months and the minutes of the public meeting will be documented. This documentation will be a public record, which will be shared with the people and in a press conference to be held after every such public meeting.
(12) The public representative will use only public transport for official work during the tenure and if they use private transport then they will not be paid any travelling allowance for that trip.
(13) Instead of individual accommodations, elected representatives, MLA or MP will get a dormitory facility in groups of ten.
(14) All the ministers can avail two bedroom flats during their tenure.
(15) Due to such communal living, it will reduce the burden of security cost and make it easier for security arrangements.
(16) During the session, the elected representatives will be provided free of cost simple but nutritious breakfast and meals providing 2400 calories per day in a common dining hall.
(17) They can avail free of cost meals as well accommodation in government guest houses while they travel for fulfilling their duties.
(18) For all those representatives who remain absent from their office in their constituencies, without prior intimation, their salary should not be paid. In case if their absence is prolonged, all the facilities due to them in addition to their salary for that year should be withdrawn.
(19) If the elected representative were to remain absent for a period stipulated more than the rules permit in the House without furnishing proper reasons, then not only the salary but perks and all the facilities for the entire year will be withdrawn.
(20) If they resort to violence and mayhem while taking up issues in assembly /parliament then their salaries should not be paid for that session. In case they persist with mayhem and sloganeering in house, they should be suspended for that session. And if they still persist they should be dismissed.
(21) If an elected representative instead of raising her/his issues as per the rule in the house, resorts to sloganeering or unruly behaviour in the House for more then 3 times she/he will be first suspended. If the unruly behaviour persists, will be thereafter dismissed and will loose the right to contest the subsequent elections.
(22) If the elected representatives are found to be sleeping, engaged in conversation or leaving the House, be it the Rajyasabha, Loksabha or Vidhansabha frequently, then they will be suspended for three days. During the period of suspension, they will have to pay for their meals as well as accommodation facilities. Additionally, they will have to submit a written apology to the House as well to the voters.
(23) They cannot take mobile, laptops and similar communication devices in the House.
(24) During every session the elected representative have to make written submission about the issues of their constituency as well as how they intend to solve them. The note shall be prepared following public hearing and discussion in their area and also should be made public, with a copy available in their constituency office’s notice board.
(25) The Speaker of the house should prepare the agenda for the session after referring to the notes of the representatives and ensure the detailed discussion in the House about all these issues. The duration of the session will be fixed according to the merits of the issues to be discussed.
(26) The present system of grants to MLAs/MPs for carrying out various public works in their area should be scrapped. Instead they should make a written submission of works that need to be financed and accordingly grants should be directly allotted by the government.
(27) Before introducing the motion in Vidhansabha, Loksabha or Rajyasabha for implementation of a scheme, the representative should hold a public hearing where the citizens can submit their opinions, omissions and amendments to the schemes. The motion will be prepared on the basis of the public hearing’s report and the funds will be allotted keeping in view the development needs of the constituency.
(28) During the session at the end of each day, a press conference should be called where media should be briefed as well as given the details in writing about the proceedings of the day. Also, the agenda details for the next day should be also shared with the media.
(29) Arrangements should be made so that citizens can watch the proceedings during the session. Also, subsidized rail and bus service arrangements should be made for those citizens who want to watch the proceedings, along with meals availability at minimal cost.
(30) Elected representatives have to make a written submission of what they accomplished/works undertaken during the interim period between the sessions. This information should be made public just outside their office given to them in their constituency and failure to do so would lead to nonpayment of the salary for that period.
(31) While contesting elections, if the candidates forget to declare the details of their assets and property, which they have to also place outside their office. Failing to do so, government can confiscate their assets, which shall be used for public works.
(32) Details of their income/assets should be furnished publicly each year. Also, they should be audited by an auditor to be appointed by the House.
(33) They have to maintain a daily diary and at the end of the every month, a copy of it should be submitted to a special all party committee formed by the House. All these details should be put on the House’s website as well as the constituency office.
(34) Those who violate rules three times consecutively will be debarred from contesting the immediate elections.
(35) Those seeking re-election should submit the details of the works accomplished in their previous tenure as well. Also, if their assets/income witnesses a phenomenal rise, it should be explained in writing. The Election Commission can reject their candidature if they fail to do so.
(36) A special court should be constituted to deal with cases related to violations committed by representatives, which shall deal with the cases at the earliest, preferably in the period of six months.
(37) They can avail LTC (leave travel concession) facility to undertake a seven day trip to an area other then their constituency to meet and study the condition of the deprived sections as well as common citizen. During this travel period, the state government will make home stay arrangement at the residences of common citizens. They have to submit a report in writing about their visit and the report should be made public.
(38) In addition to local issues, talks and training sessions with experts on the basic issues pertaining to the common people and different sectors will be organised. Participation in these sessions will be compulsory.
(39) Every six months an oral and written examination concerning people’s issues and their solutions will be taken. The results will be made public.

Let us have serious discussion on the above issues during election and even after election.

Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan) Trupti Shah Deepali Ghelani Kamal Thakar

Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti Rohit Prajapati Swati Desai Amrish Brahmbhatt

Jyoti Karmachari Mandal Kantibhai Mistry Sudhir Biniwale