“Shanghai”: A scathing, un-Indian satire! #slumdemolitions


Preview: <i>Shanghai</i>

Shanghai is filled with delightful layers of satire, says Satyen K Bordoloi as he tries to peel off a few.

There couldn’t have been a better time for the release of Shanghai. Since two weeks, slum dwellers of Sion-Koliwada have been waging a pitched, non-violent battle against the police, backed by the government, and builders to try save their homes.

To have a film talking about corporate land grab in Mumbai and political corruption release at this time: priceless.

But that is the first satire of Shanghai. There will never be a ‘wrong’ time to release it because in Mumbai the corporate/rich/middle-class need for perennial ‘development’ and the reality of poor, working, struggling masses have always been at war. This war will continue till either Mumbai is ‘Shanghaied’ or its people are.

Though the cliche is that Indians lack a sense of humour, what we truly lack is a sense of satire. Dibakar Banerjee‘s Shanghai with its layers of satire, allegories and allusions is as un-Indian a film as it can get.

Brilliant opening

In one of the most brilliant opening shots in recent times, the camera fixed high above, frames a part of the city. Around 30-40 per cent of it seems occupied by what looks like white, well made ‘houses’. The rest 60-70% is obviously slums.

In this two-second shot Shanghai establishes the reality of both the film and the city in which it is based. Because 60-70 per cent people in the world’s most populated metropolis (if you also consider its satellites), Mumbai, live in slums with the threat of eviction constantly looming like Damocles‘ sword, despite a majority of them paying everything from property tax to electricity bills – like the residents of Sion-Koliwada.

Read full SIFY article here

Urgent Appeal : Condemn Continued Detention in Police Custody even after Granting Bail


English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Condemn Continued Detention in Police Custody even after Granting Bail of Residents of Sion Koliwada since 31st May

Write to Chief Minister Demand Immediate Release and Justice for the Fisherfolk and Original Dwellers of the Land

Mumbai, June 9th 2012: On May 31st, 25 (24 women and one man) residents of Sion Koliwada including activists Jameel Bhai and Madhuri Shivkar of Ghar Bachao and Ghar Banao Andolan were arrested while resisting the illegal demolition of their homes by the BMC in collusion with Builders. As we have reported in past these demolitions are illegal and fraught with fraud in the name of the redevelopment. The arrests and illegality have been reported widely in the mainstream dailies but even then the threat of demolitions continues and the Police has helped proactively and tried to break the morales of the movement. These dwellings are of the original inhabitants of Mumbai, Koliwada – fishing communities living in these houses for nearly seven decades now. See the story in the Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3506205.ece

Yesterday, those in jail were granted bail in the afternoon itself but then a senior advocate on behalf of th Builder in collusion with the police intervened and then demanded extsnion of their police custody. They interevened and delayed the proceeedings. Finally, the activists were granted bail after the dharna by the Basti Residents outside the court. However, by then police officials made sure that it is too late for the bail orders to reach to the jail. It is extremely unfortunate and condemnable. It further exposes and reconfirms the nexus between the BMC, Builder and the police.

It is shocking to note that the police has not yet registered cases filed by the people over the past few days as FIRs, ever since the eviction drive began. Moreover, despite the people pointing out specifically as to how certain police officials / personnel are siding with the builders and have demanded suspension of such officers, no action has been taken in this regard. The only ‘assurance’ that the police has given so far is to protect the municipal officials who may face any ‘harm’, during the demolition process. We express our deep disdain towards this approach of the State and seek to challenge the illegal arrests and detentions being made by the police for questioning the unlawful demolitions.

Please do condemn the atrocities against the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

Do Fax your letters ofprotest to the Chief Minister and Home Minister, demanding them to:

  • Immediately release arrested activists unconditionally and stop harassing the residents of the Si Koliwada

  • Halt demolitions in the basti of Sio Koliwada in the name of slum redevelopment.

  • Suspend the police officials, especially male police, who have used unjust force against the people and have abused the women and men in the name of ‘protesting the BMC officials’.

  • Lodge FIRs on the basis of complaints filed at various levels by Medha Patkar and others and initiate action against the erring officials and the builder lobby.

Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister

Fax: +91-22-22029214

E-mail: chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in

Shri R.R. Patil, Home Minister

Fax: 91 22 22027174 / 22 22029742

E-mail: Min_Home@maharashtra.gov.in

For details and update call: Madhuri Variyath 0982061917 / Madhuresh 9818905316

National Alliance of People’s Movements

 

National Office : 29-30, A Wing, First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014. Phone – 022 2415 0529 | 9969363065;

 

Delhi Office : 6/6 Jangpura B, New Delhi – 110 014 . Phone : 011 2437 4535 | 9818905316

email : napmindia@gmail.com | Web : www.napm-india.org

 

End of the road for mentally ill?


End of the road for mentally ill?

Arita Sarkar

Chennai, June 7, 2012, The Hindu

Patients who are not claimed by their families continue to live in the wards and are employed in the industry therapy unit

Two months ago, 26-year-old D. Sundar Raj, a patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), craved for his family’s attention to such an extent that the desperation drove him to climb up the terrace of the ward and escape the premises, only to get accidentally hit by a passing lorry. This unfortunate incident sends out a strong message about the lack of social support and growing negligence of the patients at IMH.

A 206-year-old institution, IMH is the only government residential facility in the State for the mentally ill. The institute has about 1,300 patients, housed in eight wards designated for women and 12 wards for men including one for male criminal patients.

S. Ambika, a social welfare officer at IMH, said, “There are six units at IMH and on an average, every unit comprises 70-100 patients. In each unit, a maximum of ten patients get visitors on a regular basis.” In the third unit that she supervises, there are only two patients who have family members that visit occasionally.

“After the first few months, most people stop visiting their relatives admitted here. As a reminder, the families are sent postcards and letters at least once a month persuading them to visit the patients more often,” she said.

In some cases, the families give fake addresses making it difficult for the hospital officials to track them down. A 35-year-old patient, admitted at the IMH for five years, was in a similar situation recently. “After his treatment, when he was sent home with a male attendant, the address turned out to be a fake one. He was brought back here,” said Ambika.

Patients who are not claimed by their families continue to live in the wards and are employed in the industry therapy unit where they learn how to stitch uniforms and bind books.

According to the on-call psychiatrist and associate professor, V. Sabitha, “No matter what the illness may be, there is always an improvement in the condition of the patient within six to eight months. Most of them are then fit to be discharged.”

Though advised to come between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., the families will categorically visit after working hours so as to avoid meeting the medical officer since most of them have no intention of taking their discharged family member back home, she said.

Highlighting the importance of the presence of families in the treatment of patients and discouraging the prolonged stay of a patient after treatment, Dr. Sabitha said, “After being healed, if one continues to stay in the same environment, then eventually, their condition will deteriorate.”

VICTORY !!!-Agreement with Christy Friedgram cancelled #Goodnews


Bageshree S., Bangalore , The Hindu

Government Order  issued in the light of ‘several instances of lapses’

The Government Order says that the food supplied by the company did not have stipulated amount of protein and calories.— FILE PHOTO: M. Subash

The Government Order says that the food supplied by the company did not have stipulated amount of protein and calories.— FILE PHOTO: M. Subash

The controversial agreement between the Women and Child Welfare Department and Christy Friedgram Industry on supply of supplementary nutrition food to anganwadis has finally been cancelled in the light of “several instances of lapses”.

The Government Order (GO) of May 31 admits that there had been serious flaws in the execution of the agreement by the company, ranging from deviously retaining control over Mahila Supplementary Nutrition Production and Training Centres to flouting stipulated standards in maintaining quality of food supplied to anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Scheme.

While the department officials previously maintained that company was not hired as a contractor for food supply but only as a capacity builder, the Government Order makes it clear that it (the company) had indeed been indirectly working as contractor.

As per the April 2009 agreement, the company was to set up mahila training centres and train the staff to work completely independently before May 2012. These centres were to produce nutritional food, package and supply it to anganwadis for feeding children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

“Even after three years, the mahila training centres are not capable of working independently,” says the Government Order.

The members of these centres are neither technically nor administratively competent, according to the Government Order.

More importantly, it admits that the company continued to have control over the mahila training centres even though the company was only meant to hand-hold them.

It says that the project facilitators were employees “in the pay of the company” and the raw material too continued to be supplied by the company.

“Rather than procure material from the local market, items such as sambar powder, ragi malt and high protein mix were supplied from units set up by the company in Nelamangala, Davangere and Gulbarga,” the Government Order says and adds that the setting up of these units was not brought to the attention of the department.

Low quality

The Government Order says that the food supplied by the company did not have stipulated amount of protein and calories and used colours that were not permitted.

An earlier inspection had found that there was no hygiene maintained and food contained ‘coliform bacteria’. Contrary to the terms of the agreement, the food quality and infrastructure was not certified by a competent authority.

Several of the mahila training centres have been running under loss, which again is the responsibility of the capacity builder, and the government has been giving them loans of Rs. 10 lakh each at an interest rate of four per cent, in an attempt to help them revive.

Child rights and civil society organisations have for long been campaigning against the company being involved in the supply of food to anganwadis, pointing to several loopholes now admitted in the Government Order. Cases of child malnutrition in the State had further fuelled this controversy.

Three officials, the former Director of the Department Shamla Iqbal, Deputy Director Usha Patwari and Assistant Director Muniraju, are being investigated by the Lokayukta in connection with the scam.


  • The company was supplying supplementary nutrition food to anganwadis
  • Under the agreement, it was to have set up mahila training centres

 

Rights activist Seema Azad to appeal conviction at High Court


 

By Abu Zafar 6/9/12, Newzfirst

 

NEW DELHI — Rights activists Seema Azad and her husband, Vishwa Vijay, who were Friday sentenced by a court in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, to life imprisonment for alleged seditious activities, will appeal their conviction at the high court.

“My sister and her husband have been convicted on the basis false and fabricated evidence,” Azad’s sister, Suman, told Newzfirst hours after Sessions Judge Anil Kumar announced his ruling. “We are going to appeal against the ruling.”
Allahabad Police had arrested the husband-wife duo on February 8, 2010 and tried under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for alleged Maoist activities.
The prosecution cited as evidence a book the police allegedly found on the couple at the time of their arrest. The police claimed the book linked them to the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The couple has denied the charge. The court denied them bail.

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