Committee asks for immediate removal of sedition charges #Koondankulam


Committee asks for immediate removal of sedition charges

SC judge-headed fact finding body says that peaceful protesters cannot be labelled ‘anti-nationals’

S Ramaswamy Tehelka
Chennai

A fact finding team headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice AP Shah had demanded immediate withdrawal of all cases against the Anti-Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant group volunteers as they had protested in a peaceful way. In a democracy, peaceful protests are allowed and the cases should be withdrawn immediately, the report of the committee released here said.

The volunteers were charged with sedition and anti-national activities, which are unheard of against peaceful protesters anywhere in the world. Geeta Ramaseshan, a member of committee, who released the report said, “It is unjustified to describe peaceful protesters as anti-nationals.”

MP Devasahayam, former chief secretary of Chandigarh Administration and also a member of the committee, said the nuclear plant would deplete all fresh water sources. All norms on fresh water sources prescribed by International Atomic Agency had been given a go by, he said adding that the agency had clearly stated that any such plant should have two fresh water resources within the plant itself, but this was not adhered to.

Nityanand Jayaraman, a member of the Solidarity Group at Koodankulam, said the report would be forwarded to the prime minister, Tamil Nadu chief minister and human rights commissions both at the Centre and at state level for proper action. The future course of action would be decided in due course.

The report is silent on the closure of the unit, which is supposed to be commissioned within a week with trial production to be started. The commissioning of the first unit of the 1000 MW atomic plant, which has come up with Russian aid, scheduled for December 2011, had been delayed due to the protests.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa appointed a committee, headed by Dr MR Srinivasan to look into the allegations of lack of safety measures at the plant and had asked the Centre to stop work till the committee submitted its report. The report said that the plant was safe. This had delayed the commissioning of the plant, adding to the woes of the power starved Tamils.

Reacting to the report, Jayaraman said it had vindicated those who stand up for human rights. “The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should have taken suo moto action on the violations of human rights from the start of the agitation. It is unfortunate that it had not done so. Our next course will be to pursue the demand with the NHRC and the state human rights commission to ensure that the democratic rights of the people of the area are restored immediately.

Jayaraman said that in a democracy, protests against the government’s decisions are common and registering cases of sedition and anti-nationalism, which are non-bailable offences, could not tolerated in a democracy.

Ramaswamy is a freelance journalist based in Chennai.

One recommended issue of passport, another wanted it to be impounded: S P Udayakumar


Published: June 6, 2012 14:46 IST |

 

Madurai

    , The Hindu -Staff Reporter

 

Files counter affidavit in a writ filed by anti-nuclear activist S.P. Udayakumar

The Regional Passport Officer (RPO) here has submitted that his office issued a passport to anti-nuclear activist S.P. Udayakumar on September 15, 2010 following a positive police verification report given by Kanyakumari Superintendent of Police but subsequently decided to impound it on the basis of a request made by Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police.

Filing his counter affidavit to a writ petition filed by Mr. Udayakumar, the RPO, V. Sundararaman, said that the petitioner, a resident of Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district, had applied for renewal of his passport, originally issued by the Tiruchi RPO, in July 2010.

Then, a positive police verification report was received from the Kanyakumari SP recommending issuance of the passport.

Hence, the petitioner’s passport was renewed on September 15, 2010. Thereafter, the Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police wrote to the Madurai RPO seeking the petitioner’s passport details as he was involved in more than 72 criminal cases.

Immediately, the RPO furnished the details with a request to investigate as to how a positive report was sent by the Kanyakumari SP.

Reply

In reply, the Tirunelveli SP sent another communication through the Chennai RPO stating that the petitioner was involved in more than 98 criminal cases in Kudankulam and Pazhavoor police stations.

He also attached a list containing the details of the case numbers and requested the Madurai RPO to initiate steps for impounding the petitioner’s passport.

On receipt of the communication, the RPO requested the SP to obtain an order from a competent court for impounding the passport.

Notice

Simultaneously, he issued a show cause notice to the petitioner on March 3 this year informing him about the contents of the SP’s letter and advising him to surrender the passport within 15 days or to face appropriate action under the Passports Act 1967.

“The petitioner did not surrender the passport until April 16 and accordingly a final decision was taken to impound the passport. The decision was communicated to the petitioner along with his right to prefer an appeal against the decision before the authority concerned… The above action taken by this office is well within the framework of the provisions contained in the Passports Act.

“The procedure followed in the matter and the contents of our show cause notice are neither wilful nor in violation of principles of audi alteram partem (hear the other party too). The show cause notice is also not arbitrary in any manner. It also does not curtail the personal liberty of the petitioner in any way. The action taken by this office is also not with any malafide intention,” the counter affidavit read.

Adjourned

When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, Justice K. Venkataraman adjourned it to Thursday following a request made by Central Government Standing Counsel S. Sukumaran. The petitioner was represented by his counsel T. Lajapathi Roy and S. Vanchinathan.

Keywords: anti-nuclear activistpassport issueviolation of principles

Dear chief minister, is this rioting?


Javed Iqbal- DNA

Dear chief minister, is this rioting?

Jameel Akhtar Sheikh was defending his Ambujwadi home from demolition for two days, before he had gone to Sion Koliwada to help the original inhabitants of Mumbai, the Kolis, to defend one home that had been previously demolished on the same day he and thousand of his neighbours chased away bulldozers at his home back in Malad.

After the reprieve at his home, two days later, at Sion Koliwada, on May 31, he lay down before the bulldozer in an act of passive resistance, and would eventually be dragged away and arrested, charged for rioting amongst other charges.

Just two days ago, in a rally in Ambujwadi he would speak without a microphone to thousands of other residents, exhorting, ‘Where do you think Shah Rukh Khan stays? Who do you think made Anil Ambani’s home? We did!’

Today, he is among 25 individuals arrested by the Sion police at Sion Koliwada, along with 24 other women, including Madhuri Shivkar, the young leader of the resistance against Sahana Developers. She was the first woman to be dragged off by lady constables as she sat on dharna, without sleep, for over 19 hours. She has further charges slapped on her, and the police have demanded further custody for her, due to ‘serious complaints already filed against her’, but all her nieghbours know that this is only because she is the de facto leader of the opposition to the builder at Sion Koliwada.

Now, 24 women and one man were arrested and charged under IPC Sections 143, 147, 149, 152, 332, 333, 353, 504.

According to the police, the protestors had not only resorted to rioting and injuring a lady constable Kalawati Ravindra Sinha, 54, who would be admitted to Hinduja Hospital, but they also illegally rebuilt a home that the residents claim was illegally demolished.

The police also demanded police custody of the protestors till June 7 fearing they would return to protest, and return to ‘provoke’ the residents. Their only eyewitness is another police constable, while residents had video footage of the so-called riot, where every person who was arrested was picked up from the ground when they were lying down before the bulldozer.

At the police station, no one was allowed to meet the accused and even after all the protestors were sent to the Nagpada police station, no one was allowed to send them any food. Journalists were also not allowed to interview senior police officials.

The protestors remained in police custody all night and would complain before the Kurla magistrate court that their medical tests were not done properly. Allegations of abuse have been widely circulated in the Sion village, and just two days earlier a young Frank Fernandes sat in a police van with torn shirts, showing tell-tale signs of police violence.

A few of the police’s justifications for demanding police custody make an interesting indication of naked police aggression. In the first information report, they claim that if the protestors are released they would hurt the ‘peaceful environment’ in the area.

Read full article here

Fact-finding Report on Implementation of Food Security Programme in Kalahandi district, Odisha


Organised  by : Right to Food Campaign, Odisha
Dates of Visit:   17th  and 18th May’2012
Team Members:
Mr. Pradipta Nayak, State Coordinator, IHRE and Member, State-Level Monitoring Committee on MDM, Dept. of S & M E, Govt of Odisha,9437053329
Mr. Dillip Das, Food Rights Activist, Antodaya, Kalahandi, 9437070038
Mr. Tapan Padhi, Secretary, childright and Rights of Child Activist,9437635267
Mr. Pradip Pradhan, State Convener, Right to Food Campaign, Odisha, 9937843482

Introduction
Thuamul Rampur Block of Kalahandi district of Western Odisha is a tribal-dominated block coming under Fifth schedule of Indian Constitution.   This tribal dominated Block   consisting of 16 Gram Panchayats, 256 Villages with 65767 populations (as per 2001 census) stands infamous for poverty, illiteracy, extreme hunger and malnutrition. Almost all anti-poverty schemes, Food Security programme and Special Projects are undertaken for socio-economic development of the tribal people and to reduce poverty and hunger in this region. Recently, State Govt. has declared this Block as Maoist-affected Block for which “Integrated Action Plan”, a new project   of Central Govt. for Maoist-affected areas is undertaken for infrastructure development. However, this Block is still inaccessible surrounded with Hills and deep forests. As per the reports of Planning & Coordination department of Government of Odisha Thuamul Rampur block is the third most under developed block of the state among all 314 blocks considering all development indicators and due to the apathy of the government functionaries the benefits of different development schemes seldom reach to the poor inhabitants of the block. Basic amenities like health, drinking water and education facilities remain as dreams of the villagers in inaccessible pockets.
While  getting news from Media and other sources about a lot of discrepancy, corruption and irregularities in  food security programme  and implementation of Right to Education Act in this Block,  a  Four- Member Team  of Right to Food Campaign, Odisha Mr. Pradipta Nayak, Pradip Pradhan, Tapan Padhi and Dillip Das  had made  a two-day  visit  to some interior  and inaccessible  villages  of the Block  on 17th and 18th May 2012 with the objective  to understand the whole  food security situation  of  the tribals  in context  of  implementation of  food security programme i.e, Mid-Day-Meal  and Integrated Child Development Scheme and Right to Education Act. During two-day  visit, the team  moved  through hilly tracks of the Block to reach villages like Bhejiguda, Permanji, Podapadar, Karlapat, Dalguma, Purunagumma, Simelpadar, Sapmundi  and  Melingpadar  village of Sagada GP under Bhawanipatna Block to understand the  implementation of MDM and ICDS schemes and accessibility of tribals  to these schemes, situation of primary schools and Primary Education in the Thuamul Rampur Block. The details of the visits, experience of the Team Members and Findings is as follows.
Implementation of RTE Act.
Right to Education Act is being implemented since 2009 with the mandate to ensure free and compulsory education to the children within the age group of 6 to 14. As per Act and State Rules,  the State Govt. is duty-bound to ensure required no. of teachers ( one teacher per 30 students) in each school , infrastructure like  required  class room, school building, drinking water, boundary wall, cooking shed etc. Though implementation of the Act is about more than 3 years, a large number of schools are still deprived of basic infrastructures and required teachers. On the other hand teachers’ absenteeism  has posed  big threat  to the   primary school system in this area.
a.In Leling Padar  village which comes under Bhawanipatna Block,  the Primary school building has got destroyed.  The construction of new school building is going on since last two years. The Team members found extreme low quality of work done in the building. As per Govt. instruction, School Management Committee is authorized agency to carry out the construction of school building. But Muna Majhi, President, Village Education Committee ( SMC has not been formed till yet) said that the  school teacher Sri Apsar Khan who  is habituated to remain absence    in the school for last 10 years, has come forward to take up the work ignoring  the committee members  and the villagers.  The Teacher has become the  contractor  in the village.  He uses  to come to the school to supervise the on-going  construction work not to teach the children. It was found that President and Members  of VEC are least concerned about it.  As reported by Sadhu Majhi, Ward Member, SMC has not been formed since 2009 after enactment of RTE Act.
When the  villagers demanded for  formation of new committee, the teacher  told them  that president  would not be changed, unless construction of  school building is  completed. The reason behind it  is that  the  President of Village Education Committee is drunkard  and  it is easy for the teacher  to take signature  of President  for withdrawal of money from Bank as the  president is one of the joint signatories  in the Bank. As per norm,  the money sanctioned  for  construction of building  will be placed in the Bank account opened by  jointly by President, School committee and teacher. As reported by the villagers, the  District administration has sanctioned Rs. 9,17,000 and Rs. 50,000 for construction of school building and cooking shed respectively.
b. Primary Schools like Bhejiguda, Podapadar, Sapmundi  are devoid of  latrines, boundary wall and drinking water. Though  Tube-well  has been set up  in both  the schools,  it is defunct for years together.  Despite several  complaints by the villagers for repair of tube-well, the authority  has not taken any step in this regard, alleged by the President of SMCs. Finding no drinking water, the  cook  is using water from nearby Nallah  for preparation of MDM and the children using it as drinking water.
c. In all the villages, the School Committee meeting never sits.  It was found that  the members are still unaware  about their rights  and  responsibilities  as member of SMC. Neither the teachers have discussed with them about their responsibility nor has the district administration conducted any training for them. The teachers are found   deliberately avoiding   the meeting.
d. In all schools, the villagers  made  complaints about long absence of teachers  in the school. Pada Nayak of  Bhejiguda village said that the three teachers  Nipindra Bag, Ajit Katha, Chandrasen Singh never come to the school regularly. However they come on rotation just to open the school and serve MDM food.     Similarly   Bhataguda Project UP School, two school teacher Ghanash Majhi and Santanu Majhi hardly come to the school and many times they come in rotation. The student strength  in the school is 60 with  class – I to  7. Same situation is in Podapadar, the school has three teachers with 60 students. The teachers come on rotation.   Wherever the teachers come,  they  do not pay much attention to impart education to the children. They come at 11 0’clock and leave the school after MDM is served.
e. The school environment is in bad shape.  The Class room and outside area is very dirty  which gives  glimpses of closure of  school for months together. The school teachers is seen very careless in maintaining  the school properly.
f. In Karlapata upgraded School which has  upto 10th class with  student strength of 175   has no kitchen room with shortage of class room and  defunct latrine. The teachers are coming on rotation.
g. In many schools visited like Melingpadar, Podapadar, the villagers complained that the school children had not been provided   school dress and shoes till yet.
Management of Mid-Day-Meal
MDM programme is one of the most important food security programme implemented for the children throughout the country. It aims to provide protein and nutritious food to the school-going children up to 8th class and ensure presence of all the children in the school. Hearing WPC No. 196/2001 filed  by PUCL, the Supreme Court  has passed   a number of   interim orders  to  provide  cooked hot  food  to all the school-going children  during school hours  and also  in  summer  vacation period   in the drought-prone  areas.  Since April,2011, the State Govt. has issued new guideline  for effective management of MDM in all the school with  details of type of food served in every day and allocation of quantity of food per children. During  visit to Thuamul Rampur  Block of Kalahandi district, the Team Members  monitored food served under MDM to the School children and  availability  of infrastructure like cooking shed  for the same.
a.It was  found  that number of  Primary Schools or Project Upper Primary Schools of Karlapat, Melingpadar, Bhejiguda  etc.  of this Block  is devoid of  cooking shed. In Bhejiguda Primary School,  food is prepared  in latrine room and in some times  under open sky. In Lelingpadar, cooking shed is under construction for last two years.  The Members of SMC are not aware about amount of money sanctioned for the same.
b. The Members of the School Management  Committees of  all schools  are  in dark about  allocation of quantity of rice  and  fund  for MDM. When they were asked about status of MDM and amount sanctioned for MDM, they expressed their ignorance about the same.  MDM is virtually managed by the School teachers not by members of SMC. The teachers simply took their signature  for withdrawal of money from the account. It needs to be mentioned here that  as per new circular issued by State Govt., an account  should be opened  jointly  by Head Teacher and president of SMC for management of fund allotted for MDM.  The SMC members and the villagers in  all  villages complained that the teachers  misappropriate  money and rice sanctioned for MDM. It was also found that  the teachers  purchase dal, egg and other items  for MDM   without involving  the SMC Members.
c. In every school, egg is served  once in a week  which  contradicts the instruction of Govt.  to provide   egg for twice in a week i.e.,  Wednesday  and Saturday .
d. The Children complained that they were not provided stomach full food and food not served regularly.  In Lelingpadar, school children have not been served food for several months. Teachers absenteeism also makes   irregular distribution of MDM for the children in all schools.
e. The venue used for preparation of food and food served is not hygienic. Cooking utensil are in bad shape.
f. Many schools like Bhejiguda, Podapadar, the team came across the tube-well but  defunct.  Water  from nearby Nullah( small water stream)  is used  for preparation of food  and drinking water. Many schools do not have drinking water facility.  The villagers  also shared that  they had complained  to BDO, Collector for  repair of tube-well several times, but in vain.
g. It was  found that Women SHGs  had not been engaged  anywhere  for management of MDM in any school .   In the name of SMC,  the teachers  have monopolized  management of MDM.
h. Cook appointed to prepare food   has not been  paid honorarium  for months  together  in Lelingpadar, Podapadar villages.
Management of ICDS programme.
Integrated  Child Development Scheme, best known as Anganwadi programme  is one of the biggest programme  for women and children  in the country. It mandates to provide protein and nutritious food to the children of 6 months to 6 years, pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girl and check malnutrition, infant mortality and maternal mortality in the country.
This scheme also provides a package of services including supplementary nutrition, pre-school education, immunization, health check-up, referral services and nutrition & health education through Anganwadi centres. Since April2011, the State Govt. has issued  new guideline  in form of decentralizing  the distribution of  food items  to the beneficiaries engaging women SHGs  for effective implementation of ICDS programme in the state. Under the presentation arrangement, the  children of 6 months to 3 years , severely malnourished children, lactating and pregnant women are  entitled to get  Take Hole Ration (THR)  from Anganwadi Centre  and the Children within the age group of 3 to 6 years  will be served  breakfast and lunch  in AWC in every month  except Sunday . The Details of THR to be served different category  of the beneficiaries  as follows.
Category of beneficiaries
Nutrition
Amount per head (Rs.)
Quantity of THR per day (gram)
Quantity of THR per 15 days
6 months to 3 years
13.34
4
160
2 K.G.
Lactating and pregnant women
17.79
5
200
2.5K.G.
Severely malnourished
20
6
240
3 K.G.
Severely malnourished
( 3 to 6 years)
6.67
2
80
2 K.G. per month
The State Govt. has issued circular to all District Collectors to engage women groups for preparation of Chhatua (THR). In KBK region, older persons are entitled to get   meal once in a day  throughout the month in Anganwadi centre.
While visiting Thuamul Rampur Block,  the Team Members  examined   about  the procedure  followed  for distribution of Chhatua  to the beneficiaries, management of AWC, food served to the children in AWC, quality and quantity of Chhatua served etc.
a.The Team  came across gross irregularities  in distribution of Chhatua Packets  to  children, pregnant and lactating women  in  all the  villages. Women of Podapadar  village showing loose packet complained that Anganwadi Worker of Dalguma Anganwadi Centre  sells Chhatua   at the rate Rs.10/-. Per half kg. The Anganwadi Worker  gives one packet of Chhatua in two to three months.
b. Women of Bhataguda village said that  Sarojini Nayak, Anganwadi Worker who stays 2 km away from the centre  and hardly visits  the centre collects   Rs. 5 /- per Packet of Chhatua. In fact  as per  guideline Chhatua  will be served to the beneficiaries  free of cost at their doorstep.
c.  The Team Members  found   mega scam  in management  and distribution of Chhatua when  they  visited  Purunagumma village  and interacted  with Bishnu Priya Singh, Anganwadi Worker. Sabitri SHG of this village has been given responsibility to prepare Chhatua and distribute same to various Anganwadi centres in the Block.  When the President and Secretary of Sabitri group were asked about their business and collection of different items, money received from Govt., they could not speak anything.  Even they could not show their Bank Passbook. In fact, Anganwadi worker  herself  is  the de facto president  and Secretary  of Sabitri SHG  and  managing  the whole Chhatua business in the name of the group and engaging  members of SHG as  worker in packeting Chhatua. Anganawadi worker keeps Pass Book of SHG and manages their fund keeping the members in dark about money received and spent in Chhatua business.  The whole objective of empowering women   by engaging  themselves  in  Chhatua  business  has been defeated. Women groups are seen stooge in the hand  of Anganwadi worker in the Block.
This is not  a single case.  Similar kind of case  was also found  in Simelpadar  village  where the Secretary  and members of Om Sibaya SHG  who has been given  license  for preparation of Chhatua  by the administration  are  working as daily wage worker in Chhatua godown managed by Anganwadi worker Manjulal Mohapatra. Sabni Majhi, Secretary of the group said that  they are working as wage labourer  in  Chhatua factory run  by Anganwadi worker and getting Rs. 40/- per day. Anganwadi Worker runs  Chhatua  business in the name of  Om Sibaya Women SHG. Records of account, distribution of Chhatua, receipt of fund and expenditure is kept with Anganwadi worker. The information about any loss or profit, details of fund released by the administration to SHG  is  not known to  Secretary of the SHG.
d. Angawadi cnetre  of Purunagumma  village  is used  for packeting and storage of Chhatua. It has become business hub. Pre-school education which should be imparted to the children in the centre as per ICDS guideline, does not happen here. The space is used by AWW for Chhatua business.  Pre-school education is not imparted in any Angawadi centre of the Block. Anganwadi Workers are found   concerned to serve food to the children and health check up.
e.  Major scam was found  in the weight  of Chhatua  distributed  to beneficiaries. As per ICDS guideline, each child is entitled to  get  two packet of 4 kg Chhtua ( 2 kg  per  packet) per month. Similarly, lactating and pregnant women are entitled to get 2 packet of 5 kg Chhatua. But  practically, women and children are not served that quantity. The quantity of Chhatua served  to the beneficiaries  by Sabitri SHG is as follows.
Quantity of Chhatua per each packet for lactating and pregnant  women  as per ICDS guideline
Written information on packet  distributed  by SHG
Actual weight  done by the team on spot
2.5 kg
2.125  kg
2 kg
Quantity of Chhatua per packet for  malnourished children   as per ICDS guideline
Written information on packet  distributed  by SHG
Actual weight done by the Team on the spot
3 kg
2.550 kg
2.400 kg
Quantity of Chhatua per packet for  children of 6 to 3 years    as per ICDS guideline
Written information on packet  distributed  by SHG
Actual weight done by the Team on the spot
2 kg
1.750 kg
1.5 kg
Quantity of Chhatua per each packet for  Adult girls  of 6 to 3 years    as per ICDS guideline
Written information on packet  distributed  by SHG
Actual weight done by the Team on the spot
2.5 kg
2.125 kg
1.750 kg
N.B.- In ICDS guideline, there is no such provision  of Chhatua packet for adult girls. But   the Team found such provision of Chhatua  for the said group  in this Block. When enquired, Anganwadi worker of Simelpadar said that CDPO has authorized  Om Sibaya women SHG to prepare Chhatua  for adultt girls which needs  to be examined further.
f. when enquired about less quantity of Chhatua  in the packet which is also written clearly  in the paper inserted  in the packet which is  violation of guideline, the Anganwadi worker of Simelpadar and Purunagumma village  on behalf of SHG said that they had  received a letter from CDPO  to make packet of less quantity ( 1.750 kg in stead of 2 kg Chhatua) after deducting waste, wastage and wire and tear.
g. As per  ICDS guideline  issued by Govt. of Odisha,   Chhatua  Packet for each section of Beneficiary  will bear particular colour. For example, Chhatua packet meant for malnourished children will bear  red colour and Packet  for pregnant and lactating women  sky yellow color.  Packet meant for children sky blue color. But it was  found that  all packet are plain with no colour served by Dalguma Anganwadi worker.
g. It was also found that packets are not sealed  but stapled. Information about details of item mixed  for preparing Chhatua, Name of SHG with address and date of manufacturing is written in English not in Odia.
h. It was also reported by Secretary, Om Sibaya SHG  and ANW of Simelpadar  that they are procuring wheat from CDPO, Thuamulrampur  at the cost of Rs.4.91 per kg for preparation of Chhatua. It is written  in the  ICDS guideline that  Govt. will supply rice  free of cost  to SHGs  for preparation of Chhatua.
After  field visit, the Team  tried  to meet  Collector, ADM and DPC, Kalahandi to appraise  them about the situation.  Despite hard effort, the Collector  could not be contacted, though his mobile  continuesly rang. ADM’s mobile is found switched off and he could not be contacted. DPC was contacted. He gave time 4 o’clock  for meeting on 18th May. During that time,  the team  found his absence in the office. When he was contacted over mobile, he switched off in order to avoid to meet the Team. At last the Team members met ABDO, Bhawanipatna Block and S. I . of schools and appraised them about above mentioned school problems and sought his quick intervention.
Recommendation
a.Sri Apsar Khan, teacher of Lelingpadar  Primary School should be transferred  without delay. He has already spent one decade  in that school  making  thousands of children illiterate  remaining absent for long period  in that school.  He is the person who is responsible for destroying generation to generation making our children academically crippled. Salary paid  to him should be recovered. Enquiry into alleged misappropriation of fund and low quality of work done in construction of  school building should be  done as quick as possible  and criminal proceedings should be initiated against him.
b. As per provision of Right to Education Act and Odisha RTE Rules, School infrastructure  like  building , required  classroom, boundary wall, drinking water, cooking shed, latrine  should be ensured  to all the Primary schools at the earliest.
c. Teachers’ absenteeism in the schools for  months together has posed big threat to improvement of Primary education in rural areas. Illiteracy can not be checked unless teachers’ presence in the school is ensured.  The teachers remaining absent in the school and neglecting in imparting teaching to the children should be penalized and disciplinary action can be initiated against them. There should be system of performance appraisal of the teachers through children’s performance in the school examination.
d. The State Govt. should organize training programme for SMC members to sensitize them about their roles and responsibilities in the management school and MDM. Due to ignorance of the SMC members, the teachers are found mismanaging and misappropriating funds for the schools and MDM which needs to be checked through empowerment of SMC.
e. It is found that the school teachers are having nexus with BRC, CRC, S.I. of schools, who are in charge of monitoring of the schools. To check it, there should be independent monitoring team of Civil Society Organisations, advocates, retired Govt. officials, eminent citizens, retired Professors at the district. This independent team of Govt. machinery should monitor the schools and report to the authority for quick action.
f. Defunct Tube-well in all schools should be repaired on war-footing way and all schools should have provision of drinking water  at the earliest.
g. Management of MDM should be handed over to the SMC, not to the teachers. The teachers should be warned not to keep money and rice of MDM scheme with them. Whenever possible, women SHGs should be handed over management of MDM.
h. In view of proxy business undertaken by Anganwadi workers in the name of women SHG, the objective of the Govt. to engage women in preparation of Chhatua has been defeated.  Food business has  again gone to  same  vested groups  who had been misappropriating and black-marketing of  ICDS food  since years together. So the Govt. should take steps to organize capacity building training programme for Women SHGs. So that they will be able  to manage their business independently  and gain profit and contribute  to their family income.
i.Less quantity in Chhatua Packet  needs  inquiry and action should be taken against the persons responsible for it. The beneficiaries should be provided prescribed quantity of Chhatua as per ICDS guideline. If such discrepancy continues, it will no doubt bring disaster in  food security of women and children leading to rise of  malnutrition and infant mortality rate in the tribal pockets.
j. Information about packaging and name of the organization and its address should be written in Odia so that the rural people can understand it and react in case of any discrepancy. Providing and disseminating  information in English in Chhatua Packet  for the poor and illiterate masses is no doubt a colonial conspiracy  to  befool  and cheat  the people.
k. Anganwadi workers of Simelpadar and Purunagumma should be warned to refrain from proxy business. They  should   work  to  develop capacity of  SHGs so that they can manage Chhatua business independently.  They should not run the business making SHG women as their daily wage labourer in their business hub.
l. It is alleged that CDPO of Thuamul Rampur is  selling wheat to the groups who are in charge of  producing supplementary nutrition powder. An enquiry should be ordered to find out fact and action should be taken accordingly.

Pakistan: Investigate Plot to Kill Leading Rights Activist Asma Jahangir


Human rights watch, June 6, 2012-
Pakistani authorities should urgently and thoroughly investigate the alleged plot against Asma Jahangir and hold all those responsible to account, regardless of position or rank. A threat against Jahangir is a threat to all those in Pakistan who struggle for human rights and the rule of law.
Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Pakistani government should investigate allegations that elements in the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies have plotted to kill the prominent human rights activist Asma Jahangir, Human Rights Watch said. Jahangir made the allegation in a television interview on June 4, 2012.

Jahangir is globally recognized for her human rights work and is one of Pakistan’s most respected rights activists. She is credited with establishing the highly regarded independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and AGHS Legal Aid, the first free legal aid center in Pakistan. In a career as a human rights activist spanning 30 years, Jahangir has been a consistent critic of human rights violations by the Pakistani military and the intelligence services.

“Pakistani authorities should urgently and thoroughly investigate the alleged plot against Asma Jahangir and hold all those responsible to account, regardless of position or rank,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch. “A threat against Jahangir is a threat to all those in Pakistan who struggle for human rights and the rule of law.”

Jahangir told Pakistani media on June 4 that she had discovered through a “security leak” brought to her attention by a “highly credible” source that an assassination attempt was being planned against her from “the highest levels of the security establishment.” She said that she believed it was best to go public with the information because she feared that she might be killed and a member of her family framed for the murder.

In recent months, Jahangir has been at odds with the Pakistani military in a series of high profile stand-offs. In November 2011, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, was forced by the Pakistani military to resign his position after allegations that he was responsible for a secret memo delivered to senior US military officials seeking support for Pakistani civilian control of national security policy. As defense lawyer in the “Memogate” affair, Jahangir raised serious reservations about lack of due process in legal proceedings against Haqqani and threats to his life from the military Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Jahangir has also been a critic of the military’s policies in the insurgency-hit province of Balochistan, where it is accused of widespread killings, enforced disappearances, and torture.

Jahangir has frequently been the target of harassment and threats over the course of her career, Human Rights Watch said. She was placed under house arrest by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler at the time, after he imposed emergency rule in 2007. She played a prominent role in the “lawyers movement” in Pakistan, which led to Musharraf’s ouster and to the restoration to office of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

In 2010, Jahangir became the first woman to lead the Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan’s most influential forum for lawyers. During her campaign for the Supreme Court Bar Association, Jahangir repeatedly received threats for raising issues such as corruption in the legal arena. Extremist groups and allied Pakistani media ran a campaign accusing Jahangir of apostasy – a capital offense in Pakistan – and urging lawyers not to vote for her.

From 1998 to 2004, Jahangir served as the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions. From 2004 until mid-2010, she was the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

The involvement of the military and its intelligence agencies in high-profile killings is well-documented, Human Rights Watch said. In April 2010, a three-member UN inquiry commission into the December 2007 assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto concluded that Pakistani authorities failed to provide Bhutto adequate security and that elements within the military may have played a role in her assassination. The panel was highly critical of the “pervasive role” played by the ISI in the events leading up to the assassination. In May 2011, Saleem Shahzad, a reporter for the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online and the Italian news agency Adnkronos International, was tortured and killed after receiving repeated and direct threats from the ISI.

“Governments that have lauded Jahangir’s human rights advocacy both in Pakistan and internationally should be alarmed by this alleged plot and press for a prompt and persistent investigation,” Hasan said

Most Australians against Uranium sale to India: survey


Melbourne, Jun 5, 2012 (PTI)

The Australian government might have overturned a ban on uranium sale to India but a majority of people in the country still appear opposed to the idea of selling the mineral to New Delhi.

In a new survey, a majority of Australians were found to be against the recent Labor party decision of lifting ban on Uranium sale to India with 61 per cent opposing it.

“More than 60 per cent of Australians say they are against ‘Australia selling uranium to India’, with 39 per cent saying they are ‘strongly against’,” according to the eight annual Lowy Institute poll 2012.

In December 2011, the Australian Labor Party had overturned a ban on the sale of uranium to India following a heated national conference debate.

The results were published by the Lowy institute Poll after a nationally representative opinion survey of 1,005 Australian adults was done.

Key issues covered in the poll included uranium sale to India, relations with Fiji, the Bali bombings, climate change, the war in Afghanistan, migration, US Presidential elections, US military bases, and attitudes towards democracy and human rights.

The poll also included questions of migration, a perennially controversial topic.
It revealed that Australians recognised the need for short-term migration to address worker shortages with 62 per cent saying they were in favour of ‘the government allowing in extra workers from foreign countries’ when ‘there are shortages of workers in Australia and companies in Australia cannot find enough skilled workers’.

However, it was found that there was major oppositiion against large-scale foreign investment.
The poll also included several new questions about Australia’s image and engagement with the neighbourhood.

It was found that Australians believe it was important to be liked by neighbours, with 68 per cent saying it was ‘very important’ for ‘Australia to be seen in a positive light by people from countries in  region’, with another 26 per cent saying it is ‘somewhat important’.

They also supported government efforts to communicate with countries in the region.
Over 81 per cent said they were in favour of ‘the Australian government funding broadcast services or other programmes to communicate with people from countries in our region, with the aim of improving relations with those countries’, with 38 per cent saying they are ‘strongly in favour’.

In the context of Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, the poll presented Australians with six possible responses from the Australian government ‘as the Asian region grows and becomes more significant’.

There is strongest support for doing more to get ‘Australia included in Asian political forums’ with 37 per cent saying it was ‘very important’.

Only 24 per cent said the government should ‘increase the number of Australian diplomats sent to Asia, but there was less support for doing ‘more to attract Asian investment into Australia’ at 16 per cent or increasing ‘the number of migrants Australia accepts from Asia’ at 13 per cent.

In an open-ended question, on a query of which country ‘will be Australia’s most important security partner over the next 10 years’, 74 per cent of Australians picked the US.
Interestingly, 10 per cent said it will be China, the survey said.

The institute’s executive director, Michael Wesley, said the poll gives some indication of what Australians might think about the plan, and shows many people are worried about foreigners buying Australian assets.

“We found that 81 per cent of people we asked are against foreign companies buying Australian farmland,” Wesley said.

“Australians continue to be worried about the amount of Chinese investment the government is allowing in – 56 per cent think the government’s allowing too much Chinese investment into Australia.

“I think people are well aware that some of the big projects in Australian history like the Snowy Mountains scheme were built using skilled labour, because the labour wasn’t available from within the Australian population.

“So they’re aware that our prosperity and our progress as a nation does depend on allowing in people with the skills that we need.

“The survey has also found support for Australia’s alliance with the United States has reached its highest level since the poll began in 2005. But support for tough action on climate change has continued to fall, with 63 per cent of respondents opposed to the government’s carbon tax”.

The Hypocrisy and Farce in the name of ENVIORNMENT


 The truck with the tree… Spreading “greenery” in the city , WHAT ??? carbon emissions and saving enviornment WAH !!!
 by Rajdip  Ray

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Green State

At the very outset, let me clarify that I’m not an environmentalist. Neither am I affiliated to any political party, though I’m likely to get branded as a Maoist after writing this article. I’m just an average twenty year old who has grown up in Calcutta and learnt to love the city and the state. And my curiosity propels me to question the numerous anomalies that I notice all around me. At this point of time, I think it is also of significance to mention that I’ve been working with a Non Governmental Organization of considerable repute, which strives to provide a better life to underprivileged kids belonging to the lower strata of society. This organization works hand in hand with the Kolkata Police, since many of these kids are rescued from situations where they are being beaten and tortured at home, or are being rehabilitated after committing minor crimes or resorting to substance abuse.
5th June. World Environment Day. A concept which has never been too popular in India. However, times are changing. Ever since Mamata Banerjee took oath as Chief Minister of West Bengal, she has promised to make Calcutta the equivalent of London, and Darjeeling the equivalent of Switzerland. Apart from the minor differences in weather, she has taken the rest all upon herself to ensure this happens. Which means, just like the West, it is now imperative for the state to celebrate World Environment Day. Fair enough. As long as it is benefitting the environment and the people, I see no reason to complain.
I was told to report to the Gariahat Police Station at 7.30 in the morning to help the NGO with a rally in support of the environment. When I asked how it is related to child rights which is supposed to be my only concern as an intern for the NGO, I was told that the police supports all our work, and hence it is our duty to support them when they ask for it, regardless of whether it is related to child rights or  not. So I arrived at 7.30 only to be greeted by a cop sitting languidly with a bunch of street kids. Gradually, however, the kids were brought in to fill up a bus, and by the time it started moving it was 8.45.
The rally was supposed to start at Harish Mukherji Park. However, due to the incompetency of one of the policemen who was guiding the driver, we managed to reach the Maidan. After waiting for a quarter of an hour, somebody had the bright realization that they had reached the wrong destination. So, everyone packed inside the bus again, and it left for Harish Mukherji Park. By the time we reached Harish Mukherji Park, the rally had already left. The same bright policeman was now struck with the idea of making the bus somehow catch up with the rally. So, once again, the bus turned and started moving towards Rabindra Sadan. By the time we reached Rabindra Sadan, the rally had come to an end and the people had already dispersed.
Everyone was handed an ID card of sorts in support of the environment and given free t-shirts, blue and white, like the rest of the city with the government’s name, and “World Environment Day: In Support of a Green Economy” printed in green. They also received caps with similar colours and designs. At this point of time, I’d like to point out that the recipients of these t-shirts are mostly illiterate and had no clue as to why they were there in the first place. They had been promised free food, and they had obliged by showing up. As people were told to put on their t-shirts, they haphazardly removed the plastic covers and threw them on the floor. The organizers of the event and the police stood watching, but no-one said a thing, as the entire area got strewn with plastic packets. So much for the environment!
Everyone was lined up, and made to enter the auditorium where a few hundred, maybe thousand, people, mostly people from the lower strata of society and party workers, were seated awaiting a special programme organized by the state government for World Environment Day. In the background, Tagore was playing, as nothing in this state is complete without flaunting a bit of our culture, is it? Interestingly, the previous day, when I had shown one of the kids a picture of Tagore and asked him if he knew who it was, he had no idea whatsoever. This kid, and several others like him, was now seated as part of this elite audience.
The dignitaries involved included the Commissioner of Police, the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Mr. Partha Chatterjee, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Madan Mitra, and the likes. Due to Mr. Chatterjee getting delayed, the audience were made to wait endlessly. Meanwhile, the master of ceremonies ranted on about the environment. She exclaimed how her son in Switzerland had told her about the steps taken by the Swiss government to cut out noise pollution, and how she felt the same must be implemented here. The mere mention of “Switzerland” excited more than half the audience, most of who are financially incapable of travelling beyond the borders of the city.
In the midst of such high end drama, I couldn’t help but notice the huge flex in the background with the government’s proclamation of aid to the environment taking up half of it, while Mamata Banerjee’s face covered the rest. Splendid use of resources to commemorate the occasion. Also, on stage, were a group of colour co-ordinated (white, blue and green) women who were present to sing and entertain the audience. As if the recorded Rabindrasangeet hadn’t already quenched my thirst for music on a day which almost hit 40 degree Celsius and the humidity was more than 80 percent.
Read more at Rajdip’s Blog

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