Gujarat: Minors among 3 Dalits killed in police firing #Narendramodi


Sept 24, agencies

Three Dalits, including two minors, died in two separate incidents of police firing near the Than police station in Surendranagar district. The first incident took place on Saturday night and the second one on Sunday evening.

The tragedy followed a clash between Dalits and members of Bharwad community over auctioning of stalls at an annual fair organised by the Than municipality. A Dalit youth was allegedly beaten up by the Bharwads on Friday after which the Dalits filed a complaint against them with the Than police station.

The following night, the two groups clashed again near the police station, according to Superintendent of Police Raghvendra Vats.

He said that soon the police intervened, following which the Dalits allegedly clashed with them. During the clash, sub-inspector K P Jadeja allegedly opened fire, injuring 17-year-old Prakash Amarsinh. The youth died at the Rajkot Civil Hospital.

There were just four or five policemen present during this incident, Vats added.

The SP said the two groups clashed with each other again on Sunday afternoon and when the police reached the spot, they allegedly pelted stones at them. The policemen again opened fire at the mob, killing two Dalit youths — Mehul (16) and Prakash (24) — and injuring one. The condition of injured Chhana Mauji Vaniya is said to be critical.Witnesses said Prakash was shot thrice.

According to Valjibhai Patel, a local activist, the situation remained tense in the town till late on Sunday as the Dalits refused to take the bodies and demanded stern action against sub-inspector Jadeja.

Rajkot Range IG Praveen Sinha said that hundreds of community leaders had converged at the Rajkot Circuit House and police were trying to pacify the angry Dalits.

In-charge DGP Chittaranjan Singh said that CID (crime) DIG R V Jotangia has been asked to investigate the incident. “He will probe if there was any negligence on the part of police and if it is proved, action will be taken against them,” said Singh.

While state Social Justice Minister Fakirbhai Vaghela he would be visiting the town, an inquiry has been initiated by the social welfare department under its secretary Sanjay Prasad, said sources in the government.

The government is suspecting ‘overreaction’ on the part of police. District Congress spokesperson Naushad Solanki blamed the police for the incident. He said Than Municipality chief Vasram Chavda, a Dalit, had complained against SI Jadeja allegedly for being anti-Dalit and had even staged protest against him. Subsequently, Jadeja was transferred last week, but he was yet to be relieved.

District Collector Pradeep Shah, however, said it was not a case of atrocity “but rather a law and order problem”.

This comes on a day when Chief Minister Narendra Modi was touring the district as part of his Swami Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Yatra.

The incident also affected railway traffic between Rajkot and Ahmedabad, which passes through Than, for several hours.

The drugs don’t work: a modern medical scandal


The doctors prescribing the drugs don’t know they don’t do what they’re meant to. Nor do their patients. The manufacturers know full well, but they’re not telling.
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Drugs are tested by their manufacturers, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques that exaggerate the benefits. 
The Guardian, Fri 21 Sep 2012 23.00 BST
Reboxetine is a drug I have prescribed. Other drugs had done nothing for my patient, so we wanted to try something new. I’d read the trial data before I wrote the prescription, and found only well-designed, fair tests, with overwhelmingly positive results. Reboxetine was better than a placebo, and as good as any other antidepressant in head-to-head comparisons. It’s approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (the MHRA), which governs all drugs in the UK. Millions of doses are prescribed every year, around the world. Reboxetine was clearly a safe and effective treatment. The patient and I discussed the evidence briefly, and agreed it was the right treatment to try next. I signed a prescription.
But we had both been misled. In October 2010, a group of researchers was finally able to bring together all the data that had ever been collected on reboxetine, both from trials that were published and from those that had never appeared in academic papers. When all this trial data was put together, it produced a shocking picture. Seven trials had been conducted comparing reboxetine against a placebo. Only one, conducted in 254 patients, had a neat, positive result, and that one was published in an academic journal, for doctors and researchers to read. But six more trials were conducted, in almost 10 times as many patients. All of them showed that reboxetine was no better than a dummy sugar pill. None of these trials was published. I had no idea they existed.
It got worse. The trials comparing reboxetine against other drugs showed exactly the same picture: three small studies, 507 patients in total, showed that reboxetine was just as good as any other drug. They were all published. But 1,657 patients’ worth of data was left unpublished, and this unpublished data showed that patients on reboxetine did worse than those on other drugs. If all this wasn’t bad enough, there was also the side-effects data. The drug looked fine in the trials that appeared in the academic literature; but when we saw the unpublished studies, it turned out that patients were more likely to have side-effects, more likely to drop out of taking the drug and more likely to withdraw from the trial because of side-effects, if they were taking reboxetine rather than one of its competitors.
I did everything a doctor is supposed to do. I read all the papers, I critically appraised them, I understood them, I discussed them with the patient and we made a decision together, based on the evidence. In the published data, reboxetine was a safe and effective drug. In reality, it was no better than a sugar pill and, worse, it does more harm than good. As a doctor, I did something that, on the balance of all the evidence, harmed my patient, simply because unflattering data was left unpublished.
Nobody broke any law in that situation, reboxetine is still on the market and the system that allowed all this to happen is still in play, for all drugs, in all countries in the world. Negative data goes missing, for all treatments, in all areas of science. The regulators and professional bodies we would reasonably expect to stamp out such practices have failed us. These problems have been protected from public scrutiny because they’re too complex to capture in a soundbite. This is why they’ve gone unfixed by politicians, at least to some extent; but it’s also why it takes detail to explain. The people you should have been able to trust to fix these problems have failed you, and because you have to understand a problem properly in order to fix it, there are some things you need to know.
Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques that are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer. When trials throw up results that companies don’t like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients, so we only ever see a distorted picture of any drug’s true effects. Regulators see most of the trial data, but only from early on in a drug’s life, and even then they don’t give this data to doctors or patients, or even to other parts of government. This distorted evidence is then communicated and applied in a distorted fashion.
In their 40 years of practice after leaving medical school, doctors hear about what works ad hoc, from sales reps, colleagues and journals. But those colleagues can be in the pay of drug companies – often undisclosed – and the journals are, too. And so are the patient groups. And finally, academic papers, which everyone thinks of as objective, are often covertly planned and written by people who work directly for the companies, without disclosure. Sometimes whole academic journals are owned outright by one drug company. Aside from all this, for several of the most important and enduring problems in medicine, we have no idea what the best treatment is, because it’s not in anyone’s financial interest to conduct any trials at all.
Now, on to the details.
In 2010, researchers from Harvard and Toronto found all the trials looking at five major classes of drug – antidepressants, ulcer drugs and so on – then measured two key features: were they positive, and were they funded by industry? They found more than 500 trials in total: 85% of the industry-funded studies were positive, but only 50% of the government-funded trials were. In 2007, researchers looked at every published trial that set out to explore the benefits of a statin. These cholesterol-lowering drugs reduce your risk of having a heart attack and are prescribed in very large quantities. This study found 192 trials in total, either comparing one statin against another, or comparing a statin against a different kind of treatment. They found that industry-funded trials were 20 times more likely to give results favouring the test drug.
These are frightening results, but they come from individual studies. So let’s consider systematic reviews into this area. In 2003, two were published. They took all the studies ever published that looked at whether industry funding is associated with pro-industry results, and both found that industry-funded trials were, overall, about four times more likely to report positive results. A further review in 2007 looked at the new studies in the intervening four years: it found 20 more pieces of work, and all but two showed that industry-sponsored trials were more likely to report flattering results.
It turns out that this pattern persists even when you move away from published academic papers and look instead at trial reports from academic conferences. James Fries and Eswar Krishnan, at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, studied all the research abstracts presented at the 2001 American College of Rheumatology meetings which reported any kind of trial and acknowledged industry sponsorship, in order to find out what proportion had results that favoured the sponsor’s drug.
In general, the results section of an academic paper is extensive: the raw numbers are given for each outcome, and for each possible causal factor, but not just as raw figures. The “ranges” are given, subgroups are explored, statistical tests conducted, and each detail is described in table form, and in shorter narrative form in the text. This lengthy process is usually spread over several pages. In Fries and Krishnan (2004), this level of detail was unnecessary. The results section is a single, simple and – I like to imagine – fairly passive-aggressive sentence:
“The results from every randomised controlled trial (45 out of 45) favoured the drug of the sponsor.”
How does this happen? How do industry-sponsored trials almost always manage to get a positive result? Sometimes trials are flawed by design. You can compare your new drug with something you know to be rubbish – an existing drug at an inadequate dose, perhaps, or a placebo sugar pill that does almost nothing. You can choose your patients very carefully, so they are more likely to get better on your treatment. You can peek at the results halfway through, and stop your trial early if they look good. But after all these methodological quirks comes one very simple insult to the integrity of the data. Sometimes, drug companies conduct lots of trials, and when they see that the results are unflattering, they simply fail to publish them.
Because researchers are free to bury any result they please, patients are exposed to harm on a staggering scale throughout the whole of medicine. Doctors can have no idea about the true effects of the treatments they give. Does this drug really work best, or have I simply been deprived of half the data? No one can tell. Is this expensive drug worth the money, or has the data simply been massaged? No one can tell. Will this drug kill patients? Is there any evidence that it’s dangerous? No one can tell. This is a bizarre situation to arise in medicine, a discipline in which everything is supposed to be based on evidence.
And this data is withheld from everyone in medicine, from top to bottom. Nice, for example, is the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, created by the British government to conduct careful, unbiased summaries of all the evidence on new treatments. It is unable either to identify or to access data on a drug’s effectiveness that’s been withheld by researchers or companies: Nice has no more legal right to that data than you or I do, even though it is making decisions about effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness, on behalf of the NHS, for millions of people.
In any sensible world, when researchers are conducting trials on a new tablet for a drug company, for example, we’d expect universal contracts, making it clear that all researchers are obliged to publish their results, and that industry sponsors – which have a huge interest in positive results – must have no control over the data. But, despite everything we know about industry-funded research being systematically biased, this does not happen. In fact, the opposite is true: it is entirely normal for researchers and academics conducting industry-funded trials to sign contracts subjecting them to gagging clauses that forbid them to publish, discuss or analyse data from their trials without the permission of the funder.
This is such a secretive and shameful situation that even trying to document it in public can be a fraught business. In 2006, a paper was published in theJournal of the American Medical Association (Jama), one of the biggest medical journals in the world, describing how common it was for researchers doing industry-funded trials to have these kinds of constraints placed on their right to publish the results. The study was conducted by the Nordic Cochrane Centreand it looked at all the trials given approval to go ahead in Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. (If you’re wondering why these two cities were chosen, it was simply a matter of practicality: the researchers applied elsewhere without success, and were specifically refused access to data in the UK.) These trials were overwhelmingly sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry (98%) and the rules governing the management of the results tell a story that walks the now familiar line between frightening and absurd.
For 16 of the 44 trials, the sponsoring company got to see the data as it accumulated, and in a further 16 it had the right to stop the trial at any time, for any reason. This means that a company can see if a trial is going against it, and can interfere as it progresses, distorting the results. Even if the study was allowed to finish, the data could still be suppressed: there were constraints on publication rights in 40 of the 44 trials, and in half of them the contracts specifically stated that the sponsor either owned the data outright (what about the patients, you might say?), or needed to approve the final publication, or both. None of these restrictions was mentioned in any of the published papers.
When the paper describing this situation was published in Jama, Lif, the Danish pharmaceutical industry association, responded by announcing, in the Journal of the Danish Medical Association, that it was “both shaken and enraged about the criticism, that could not be recognised”. It demanded an investigation of the scientists, though it failed to say by whom or of what. Lif then wrote to the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty, accusing the Cochrane researchers of scientific misconduct. We can’t see the letter, but the researchers say the allegations were extremely serious – they were accused of deliberately distorting the data – but vague, and without documents or evidence to back them up.
Nonetheless, the investigation went on for a year. Peter Gøtzsche, director of the Cochrane Centre, told the British Medical Journal that only Lif’s third letter, 10 months into this process, made specific allegations that could be investigated by the committee. Two months after that, the charges were dismissed. The Cochrane researchers had done nothing wrong. But before they were cleared, Lif copied the letters alleging scientific dishonesty to the hospital where four of them worked, and to the management organisation running that hospital, and sent similar letters to the Danish medical association, the ministry of health, the ministry of science and so on. Gøtzsche and his colleagues felt “intimidated and harassed” by Lif’s behaviour. Lif continued to insist that the researchers were guilty of misconduct even after the investigation was completed.
Paroxetine is a commonly used antidepressant, from the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. It’s also a good example of how companies have exploited our long-standing permissiveness about missing trials, and found loopholes in our inadequate regulations on trial disclosure.
To understand why, we first need to go through a quirk of the licensing process. Drugs do not simply come on to the market for use in all medical conditions: for any specific use of any drug, in any specific disease, you need a separate marketing authorisation. So a drug might be licensed to treat ovarian cancer, for example, but not breast cancer. That doesn’t mean the drug doesn’t work in breast cancer. There might well be some evidence that it’s great for treating that disease, too, but maybe the company hasn’t gone to the trouble and expense of getting a formal marketing authorisation for that specific use. Doctors can still go ahead and prescribe it for breast cancer, if they want, because the drug is available for prescription, it probably works, and there are boxes of it sitting in pharmacies waiting to go out. In this situation, the doctor will be prescribing the drug legally, but “off-label”.
Now, it turns out that the use of a drug in children is treated as a separate marketing authorisation from its use in adults. This makes sense in many cases, because children can respond to drugs in very different ways and so research needs to be done in children separately. But getting a licence for a specific use is an arduous business, requiring lots of paperwork and some specific studies. Often, this will be so expensive that companies will not bother to get a licence specifically to market a drug for use in children, because that market is usually much smaller.
So it is not unusual for a drug to be licensed for use in adults but then prescribed for children. Regulators have recognised that this is a problem, so recently they have started to offer incentives for companies to conduct more research and formally seek these licences.
When GlaxoSmithKline applied for a marketing authorisation in children for paroxetine, an extraordinary situation came to light, triggering the longest investigation in the history of UK drugs regulation. Between 1994 and 2002, GSK conducted nine trials of paroxetine in children. The first two failed to show any benefit, but the company made no attempt to inform anyone of this by changing the “drug label” that is sent to all doctors and patients. In fact, after these trials were completed, an internal company management document stated: “It would be commercially unacceptable to include a statement that efficacy had not been demonstrated, as this would undermine the profile of paroxetine.” In the year after this secret internal memo, 32,000 prescriptions were issued to children for paroxetine in the UK alone: so, while the company knew the drug didn’t work in children, it was in no hurry to tell doctors that, despite knowing that large numbers of children were taking it. More trials were conducted over the coming years – nine in total – and none showed that the drug was effective at treating depression in children.
It gets much worse than that. These children weren’t simply receiving a drug that the company knew to be ineffective for them; they were also being exposed to side-effects. This should be self-evident, since any effective treatment will have some side-effects, and doctors factor this in, alongside the benefits (which in this case were nonexistent). But nobody knew how bad these side-effects were, because the company didn’t tell doctors, or patients, or even the regulator about the worrying safety data from its trials. This was because of a loophole: you have to tell the regulator only about side-effects reported in studies looking at the specific uses for which the drug has a marketing authorisation. Because the use of paroxetine in children was “off-label”, GSK had no legal obligation to tell anyone about what it had found.
People had worried for a long time that paroxetine might increase the risk of suicide, though that is quite a difficult side-effect to detect in an antidepressant. In February 2003, GSK spontaneously sent the MHRA a package of information on the risk of suicide on paroxetine, containing some analyses done in 2002 from adverse-event data in trials the company had held, going back a decade. This analysis showed that there was no increased risk of suicide. But it was misleading: although it was unclear at the time, data from trials in children had been mixed in with data from trials in adults, which had vastly greater numbers of participants. As a result, any sign of increased suicide risk among children on paroxetine had been completely diluted away.
Later in 2003, GSK had a meeting with the MHRA to discuss another issue involving paroxetine. At the end of this meeting, the GSK representatives gave out a briefing document, explaining that the company was planning to apply later that year for a specific marketing authorisation to use paroxetine in children. They mentioned, while handing out the document, that the MHRA might wish to bear in mind a safety concern the company had noted: an increased risk of suicide among children with depression who received paroxetine, compared with those on dummy placebo pills.
This was vitally important side-effect data, being presented, after an astonishing delay, casually, through an entirely inappropriate and unofficial channel. Although the data was given to completely the wrong team, the MHRA staff present at this meeting had the wit to spot that this was an important new problem. A flurry of activity followed: analyses were done, and within one month a letter was sent to all doctors advising them not to prescribe paroxetine to patients under the age of 18.
How is it possible that our systems for getting data from companies are so poor, they can simply withhold vitally important information showing that a drug is not only ineffective, but actively dangerous? Because the regulations contain ridiculous loopholes, and it’s dismal to see how GSK cheerfully exploited them: when the investigation was published in 2008, it concluded that what the company had done – withholding important data about safety and effectiveness that doctors and patients clearly needed to see – was plainly unethical, and put children around the world at risk; but our laws are so weak that GSK could not be charged with any crime.
After this episode, the MHRA and EU changed some of their regulations, though not adequately. They created an obligation for companies to hand over safety data for uses of a drug outside its marketing authorisation; but ridiculously, for example, trials conducted outside the EU were still exempt. Some of the trials GSK conducted were published in part, but that is obviously not enough: we already know that if we see only a biased sample of the data, we are misled. But we also need all the data for the more simple reason that we need lots of data: safety signals are often weak, subtle and difficult to detect. In the case of paroxetine, the dangers became apparent only when the adverse events from all of the trials were pooled and analysed together.
That leads us to the second obvious flaw in the current system: the results of these trials are given in secret to the regulator, which then sits and quietly makes a decision. This is the opposite of science, which is reliable only because everyone shows their working, explains how they know that something is effective or safe, shares their methods and results, and allows others to decide if they agree with the way in which the data was processed and analysed. Yet for the safety and efficacy of drugs, we allow it to happen behind closed doors, because drug companies have decided that they want to share their trial results discretely with the regulators. So the most important job in evidence-based medicine is carried out alone and in secret. And regulators are not infallible, as we shall see.
Rosiglitazone was first marketed in 1999. In that first year, Dr John Buse from the University of North Carolina discussed an increased risk of heart problems at a pair of academic meetings. The drug’s manufacturer, GSK, made direct contact in an attempt to silence him, then moved on to his head of department. Buse felt pressured to sign various legal documents. To cut a long story short, after wading through documents for several months, in 2007 the US Senate committee on finance released a report describing the treatment of Buse as “intimidation”.
But we are more concerned with the safety and efficacy data. In 2003 theUppsala drug monitoring group of the World Health Organisation contacted GSK about an unusually large number of spontaneous reports associating rosiglitazone with heart problems. GSK conducted two internal meta-analyses of its own data on this, in 2005 and 2006. These showed that the risk was real, but although both GSK and the FDA had these results, neither made any public statement about them, and they were not published until 2008.
During this delay, vast numbers of patients were exposed to the drug, but doctors and patients learned about this serious problem only in 2007, when cardiologist Professor Steve Nissen and colleagues published a landmark meta-analysis. This showed a 43% increase in the risk of heart problems in patients on rosiglitazone. Since people with diabetes are already at increased risk of heart problems, and the whole point of treating diabetes is to reduce this risk, that finding was big potatoes. Nissen’s findings were confirmed in later work, and in 2010 the drug was either taken off the market or restricted, all around the world.
Now, my argument is not that this drug should have been banned sooner because, as perverse as it sounds, doctors do often need inferior drugs for use as a last resort. For example, a patient may develop idiosyncratic side-effects on the most effective pills and be unable to take them any longer. Once this has happened, it may be worth trying a less effective drug if it is at least better than nothing.
The concern is that these discussions happened with the data locked behind closed doors, visible only to regulators. In fact, Nissen’s analysis could only be done at all because of a very unusual court judgment. In 2004, when GSK was caught out withholding data showing evidence of serious side-effects from paroxetine in children, their bad behaviour resulted in a US court case over allegations of fraud, the settlement of which, alongside a significant payout, required GSK to commit to posting clinical trial results on a public website.
Nissen used the rosiglitazone data, when it became available, and found worrying signs of harm, which they then published to doctors – something the regulators had never done, despite having the information years earlier. If this information had all been freely available from the start, regulators might have felt a little more anxious about their decisions but, crucially, doctors and patients could have disagreed with them and made informed choices. This is why we need wider access to all trial reports, for all medicines.
Missing data poisons the well for everybody. If proper trials are never done, if trials with negative results are withheld, then we simply cannot know the true effects of the treatments we use. Evidence in medicine is not an abstract academic preoccupation. When we are fed bad data, we make the wrong decisions, inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering, and death, on people just like us.
• This is an edited extract from Bad Pharma, by Ben Goldacre, published next week by Fourth Estate at £13.99. To order a copy for £11.19, including UK mainland p&p, call 0330 333 6846, or go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop.

Fact Finding Report-Encounter killing of ‘MAOIST’ yellapa@dinakaran


CO-0RDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS
( CDRO)

Mangalore,
Dt. 15-09-2012

FACT FINDING REPORT ON THE INCIDENT OF ENCOUNTER KILLING OF ‘MAOIST’ YELLAPPA @ DINAKARAN

A Fact finding committee was constituted  to go into the details of the encounter  killing of ‘Maoist’ Yellappa @ Dinakaran within the limits of Kadaba P.S., of South Canara District. Initially, versions of encounter were released stating that a person was injured and later died of bullet injuries. To locate the  identity of the deceased Maoist, it took more than 5 days. In this context it was felt that  a Fact Finding Committee would go into the details of the occurrence of the incident of the encounter to arrive at true facts.

A fact finding committee is constituted consisting of members of  different Civil rights organizations from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Andra Pradesh. Mr. C.Sriram PDF( Peoples Democratic  Forum), Adv. P.A. Pouran, PUCL, Kerala, Adv. R. Murugesan and S.Gopal of CPCL (Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties) Tamilnadu, Adv. Kranthi Chaitanya, APCLC(Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee) participated in the team. The team was co-ordinated by Mr.  P.B. D’Sa of PUCL, Mangalore.

The Fact Finding Team went to the village Kulkunta, Palligadde, Bisle Forest Area, Police stations at Kukke Subramanya and Kadaba and met the villagers and police officials and ASP Mr. Anucheth of Kallur. The team also met the S.P. of Mangalore  Mr. Goyel.

Following is the police version:
The police i.e., the ANF( Anti Naxalite Force)  started combing operations since last week of August in the forest areas of Kukke subramanya. There were 5 teams consisting of  15 to 20 personnel.  On 2nd September, one of  the ANF team came across the Naxalites  near Kulkuntha Area and there was an exchange  of fire between them, but no one was injured and the naxalites escaped  into the  deep Forest. An FIR  to this effect has been  registered at  Subramnaya P.S., but the people of that area  did not hear any sign or sound of exchange of the fire or movement of the police on the said day.

As per the version of the FIR in Crime No. 84 /2012 of Kadaba P.S., in continuation of the combing operations,  the ANF led by its Dy. Commandant Mr. A.H.Shankaran with a team of 28 members came across the Naxalites/Maoists camping in the “Cheru” forest area 15 kms’ from the road near Bilinella Village,   at around 7-45 p.m. The police personnel saw the naxalites in the tents under the light, then the  Naxalites started firing on the police and in return the police fired at naxalites  and there was an exchange of fire for  10 minutes. There after, the fire was stopped from the naxalites side. Then the police stayed there till the next morning and in the early hours  around 5 a.m.,  they proceeded further and found one unidentified naxalite  dead and recovered 2 country Made guns . Then the same was informed to the police and a crime was registered by the Kadaba Police. Later, the higher police officials including the A.S.P. and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kalluru went to the spot on the same day and inquest was conducted there at the Scene  of offence and shifted the body to the Wen-lock Hospital, Mangalore and there post-mortem was conducted, as per the guidelines of NHRC.  Later, after 5 days, they got the body identified with his relatives and in their presence,   the body was buried at Mangalore itself.

As per the police version, the exchange of fire took place with in a short distance of 25 to 30 meters, and the ANF was armed with Sophisticated high Powered firing ammunitions like SLRs’ and A.K. 47.   There are 15 to 20 bullet injuries on the body, but no bullet was found inside the body. Nobody is  injured on the ANF side. And thoroughly, they believe it is a real encounter.  The combing operation is still continuing.

Though we earnestly tried to contact the Medical Officers including the Forensic Team, to elicit their version, we could not reach them. So also the Sub-Divisional magistrate of kallur who conducted the Inquest promised to interact, but subsequently, retracted.

The  Fact finding team concludes that  in the alleged encounter,  the ANF are the aggressive party who intentionally killed the Maoist.  There was no attempt from the police personnel to nab them alive. The combing operations are being conducted  by the police with an intention to eliminate the naxalites/Maoists. This  act on the part of the police  is against law.  The law  of the Land clearly says  that the police should not use more power then what is necessary to apprehend a person/persons.

Here,  in this incident, the police personnel are armed with highly sophisticated weapons while the other party i.e., the so called Maoists/Naxalites are armed with local weapons. Further, admittedly it was 7-45 p.m. and it was a dark night. The naxalites are found under light in the tents while the police party was hiding behind the bushes in the dark. This makes it apparently evident that the first shot could have been fired from the police side on  seeing the naxalites under light. There was no possibility of the naxalites firing at someone hiding in dark.  This leaves the police version of exchange of fire from both sides a blatant lie.

Further, 15 to 20 bullet injuries on the deceased clearly speak of the intention to kill and indiscriminate firing on the side of the police.  Further, though there are 15 to 20 bullet injuries on  the body, no single bullet was found in the dead body  that means, all the bullets fired on the deceased, were exited from the body. It clinches  the issue that the firing was a close range  firing more particularly on point blank range.

At the outset,  we conclude that the ANF personnel  are going on a killing spree in the name of combing operations and not  intending to nab or take  into custody  the naxalites alive and the story of  killing Maoist Yellappa @ Dinakar in an encounter  is a cold blooded murder.

Demands:
1.    A  murder  case u/s. 302 of I.P.C. Shall be registered against the  ANF team led by Dy. Commandant A.H.shankaran.
2.    Order a Judicial Enquiry into the encounter killing of Yellappa, by a sitting judge of the High Court.
3.    The ANF team should be kept under suspension, with immediate effect.
4.    Stop forthwith the combing operation which is used as camouflage to kill and not to  nab the naxalites.

1.    Mr. C. Sriram
(PDF, Karnataka)

2. Mr. P.A.Pouran
(PUCL, Kerala)

3. K.Kranthi Chaitanya            4.Mr. R.Murugesan
( APCLC, Andhra Pradesh )

& Mr.S.Gopal
(CPCL, Tamil Nadu)

A Verdict in Gujarat, Silence over Delhi


Mainstream, VOL L, No 39, September 15, 2012

Kuldip Nayar

Every time there is a conviction in the Gujarat riots case, I begin to hope that the day is not far when the real culprit, State Chief Minister Narendra Modi, will be brought to book. The 28-year-long sentence awarded to Maya Kodnani, who organised the massacre at Naroda-Patiya in Ahmedabad, makes me confident that justice can be delayed—the riots took place in 2002—but not denied. Modi lauded her role on the riots so much that he made her a Minister. But the Supreme Court’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) caught up with her crime even after the exoneration by the police which did its best to see that Kodnani’s “involvement does not come on the books”.
The question which nags me all the time is how to punish a Chief Minister who plans and executes the killing of his own people because they belong to a different religion. Some 2000 Muslims were killed, 95 at Naroda-Patiya alone. A similar point confronted me when after the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1984, more than 3000 Sikhs were killed in the national Capital, New Delhi. The then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was responsible for blessing all that was plotted to kill the innocent. His infamous remark still haunts me: ‘When a big tree falls, the earth is bound to shake.’
Both in Gujarat and Delhi, the pattern of killing and looting was the same: the public was instigated, the police was instructed to look the other way and the Army’s induction was intentionally delayed. Had there been the institution of Lokpal (ombudsman) in position, it would have probably stepped in to name the culprits, including Modi and Rajiv Gandhi. In the absence of any such remedy what do people, especially the victims, do to get justice? When the protector turns into a killer, there is no remedy for the protected.
In fact, both Gujarat and Delhi have raised a general question about the independence of the law and order machinery. The police is at the beck and call of the rulers and it does not function independently. The police reforms, recommended by the Dharma Vira Committee as far back as 1980, could have retrieved the situation to some extent. It would have meant transferring control of the police to a committee, including the Opposition Leader. But no State has been willing to implement the recommendations. In reality, there is a case for a federal police on the lines of America to pursue cases which transcend the States’ borders or those which fall under the category of segregation, discrimination and such other crimes. There is the famous case of Mississippi in America where the federal police broke the alliance between the local administration and politicians to bring the guilty to justice.
Since the States zealously guard their sway over the law and order machinery, it is difficult to imagine that they would agree to any federal force when New Delhi itself has got politicised. Coming to the minorities, the experience of Muslims in Gujarat and of Sikhs in Delhi bring out the truth that the rulers go to any extent to save their party members. They have different names but in real terms they are the party’s rough necks who have over the years become an instrument of tyranny in the hands of the political masters.

The real disturbing aspect is that more and more Hindus are getting contaminated by the RSS and its parivar. It is heartening to find that one member of the Bajrang Dal, the militant wing of the RSS, has been given life sentence in the Naroda-Patiya case. Still the bigger tragedy is that the majority community looks like turning its back on secularism which, it should realise, can undo India.
The BJP, which expects to win the 2014 elections, does not feel its responsibility in keeping the country safe from parochialism. True, the other national party, the Congress, has become a carbon copy of the BJP, but it still supports the secular ethos. The party’s stand is mostly opportunistic but it draws inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, not Guru Golwalkar. This may be the reason why the Congress, at times, takes a secular stand and confronts the forces which spew communalism.
I was, however, disappointed when the Congress Government neither acted against the Shiv Sena, particularly Raj Thackeray when he instigated the crowd at Mumbai in the name of national chauvinism. Nor did the government move against the Muslim fundamentalists who indulged in violence at Azad Maidan and killed two persons. I am told that the person who goaded the mob at the Maidan is a local Muslim Congress leader. Regretfully, both the Congress and BJP have come to believe that they would get more votes if they talked in terms of caste and community.
Had the Supreme Court not selected the nine cases of fake encounters out of many, no Maya Kodnani would have been punished. But there was no Supreme Court to intervene in the case of the Sikhs’ killings because the Rajiv Gandhi administration had cleaned the stains from the plate. No proof was left behind and the records were fudged. The entire massacre was orchestrated by the ruling Congress and executed according to a pre-prepared plan.
Thanks to young lawyer H.S. Phoolka who made a formidable case from the affidavits of victims. Even then his experience and those of the others who have tried to get justice is that even now the Congress Government is creating impediments at every step to block any persecution further. The conviction in Gujarat is an exception. At least there were still some records which helped the SIT to rebuild the case. But in Delhi, the Congress Government has effaced all evidence lest the guilty of the 1984 massacre could be traced.
There is yet another case of the government’s suppression. I am referring to the killing of 22 Muslim boys at Hashimpura in UP in 1987. The case has not moved from the lower court. The rioting in Assam too has been anti-Muslim. The lesson to be learnt from all these happenings is that the rule of law by itself does not mean anything unless the government is willing to follow it without fear or favour.
The author is a veteran journalist renowned not only in this country but also in our neighbouring states of Pakistan and Bangladesh where his columns are widely read. His website is www.kuldipnayar.com
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I Have Repeatedly Received Death Threats – Frederica Jansz, former editor-in-chief of the Sunday Leader


By Nilantha Ilangamuwa

22 September, 2012
Srilankaguardian.org

Founder hacked to death in daylight his successor sacked the future of the “Sunday Leader” questioned 

(September 21, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Here is an exclusive interview with the former editor-in-chief of the Sunday Leader , Frederica Jansz just moments after she was forced to resign by the new ownership of the paper, due to her refusing to accepted new editorial policy.

NI. Frederica, welcome to the Sri Lanka Guardian. Your services as the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Leader have been terminated as you refused to change editorial policy to support the government. What did they (owners) ask you to do? What are the basic points that you cannot stand with?

FJ. The new owner Asanga Seneviratne insisted that the articles carried in The Sunday Leader are “malicious and rubbish.” He ordered me to stop being critical of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family. He also asked me stop carrying cartoons of the President. He then added to a police complaint made by Sajin Vass Gunewardena, which claimed that a nutshell carried in The Sunday Leader of September 16 would incite violence against the President.

Despite my maintaining that the type of journalism practised at The Sunday Leader was independent and unbiased he could not understand or accept this position. As for me, I cannot work for someone who does not understand or respect freedom of expression or journalistic independence and credibility.

NI. You are the editor who took sole responsibility of the Sunday Leader just after the assassination of the late Lasantha. What are the challenges you faced in the last couple of years?

FJ. The challenges have been huge. Apart from having to revive a newspaper that had suffered a staggering blow following Lasantha’s assassination, I have had to deal with continuous harassment and threats including court cases and finally being insulted and maligned in a manner most degrading by the Defence Secretary, the President’s brother.

NI. Do you and your family feel safe to stay in the country?

FJ. No. I have repeatedly received death threats and even been followed home.

NI. I don’t want to reiterate words that the country’s secretary defence used in a recent interview published by the Leader. You had bitter experiences many times when you were directly dealing with those key players in the country. Can you brief us on the present political system in the country?

FJ. In terms of media freedom, the current political system will continue to stifle free of expression and the right to information. If compared to a thriving democracy, Sri Lanka continues to lag far far behind.

NI. At some point we talked about “Sri Lankan Journalism”. Do you have anything special to share with the people in this crucial time?

FJ. It is sad that journalists in Sri Lanka have chosen to be cowed into submission. Next to winning the war, this in fact is this government’s second biggest success. The stifling of the local press.

NI. This is a worse stage of social control in the country by the regime. So now the Government has taken over most of print, electronic and other media, while giving the public a clear cut picture on censorship. What would be the future if this scenario continues?

FJ. An autocratic regime. With a stifled press accountability and transparency are non-existent.

NI. Do you think the opposition and the civil society can intervene to solve this stalemate?

FJ. The opposition is dead.

NI. Is there any role to be played by the international community?

FJ. I frankly do not think this government really gives a toss about the international community or what they may think or say. Other than China – and we all know their track record as far as freedom of expression is concerned.

NI. Most people welcomed the draft resolution by the US on Sri Lanka, which urges the implementation of recommendations given by the LLRC. The people of Sri Lanka expect that the government will be encouraged in the Universal Periodic Review to take gradual action, not only at the legislative level, but beyond that to implement basic principles of rule of law. Do you have any suggestions to the UPR which is going to have on next month?

FJ. Amongst the voluntary commitments undertaken by Sri Lanka, one is to “strengthen its national mechanisms and procedures to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens through the adoption and implementation of the proposed National Plan of Action”. Despite the government promising to implement the targets set out in the plan by 2009, it was only in 2012 that the initial stages of implementation were underway.

NI. This is my final question. You were a remarkable and fearless editor who worked in a tremendously stressful social situation. What is your plan for the future?

FJ. Change is a part of life. So for me, this is just another opportunity for a new beginning.

Stop Kudankulam fuelling, lives are at stake! #mustshare


A.Gopalakrishnan in DNA –

The government, through its Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Nuclear Power Corporation Limited (NPCIL), and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is racing to bring the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, Unit-1 (KNPP-1) to full-power operation at the earliest. The questions predominantly troubling the conscientious public today are simply these: Is the Kudankulam Unit-1 ready for introduction of nuclear fuel assemblies into its core (‘fuelling’), having fully completed all the safety modifications and additions recommended by AERB’s Post-Fukushima Committee to Review Safety of Indian Nuclear Power Plants? What other mandatory, pre-fuelling safety-related tasks such as conducting proper emergency drills in villages within a 30 km-radius of the reactors remain? What are the serious implications to public safety if NPCIL and AERB move forward with fuelling activity and bring this reactor to its full power of 1000 MWe in the current state of inadequate and incomplete safety status?

On some of the glaring defaults of the current actions of the DAE, NPCIL and the AERB vis-à-vis KNPP-1, there are three Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) currently before the Supreme Court of India. The next hearing of one SLP that seriously pleads for stopping fuelling activity is set for September 27. As early as on March 26, 2012 , a writ petition (no. 8262) was filed in the Madras High Court for a direction against the DAE, NPCIL, AERB and others to implement all the recommendations of the AERB’s Post-Fukushima Report before fuel-loading is started. In response, the AERB counsel informed the court , “— that before initial fuel loading is done, the compliance of all the requirements under Annexure-8 (of the AERB report) will be ensured by the AERB and it is only after its satisfaction any direction (for loading fuel) will be given—” . Subsequently , the High Court decided to reserve its orders on August 2, 2012 , pending detailed judgement to fol low.

In the interim, since the court had not imposed any stay on actions by NPCIL and AERB, chairman, AERB, used this opportunity to issue a clearance for initial fuel loading of KNPP-1 on August 10 after reviews by their internal committees. The original petitioner then filed yet another writ petition (no. 22253) in the Madras HC on August 13, challenging the fuel-loading clearance given by AERB, even while 11 out of the 17 safety recommendations of the AERB’s Post-Fukushima Report still remained to be implemented. AERB, in reply to this writ petition, submitted two affidavits, first one on August 18 and another on August 22.

The post-Fukushima evaluations by an independent AERB committee, headed by a past chairman of the AERB had recommended 17 safety upgrades in Annexure-8 of its report. The committee, however, did not sort these on the basis of relative importance, urgency or priority. The sense you get from this report is that all 17 corrective steps are equally important and AERB must insist on all of them being fully implemented and tested before fuel-loading is permitted. This is consistent with the affidavit earlier submitted to the Madras HC by Mr R. Suresh Kumar, counsel for AERB, “ — that before initial fuel loading is done, the compliance of all the requirements under Annexure-8 will be ensured by the AERB and it is only after its satisfaction that any direction will be given—–” .

However, in their affidavits to the same court on August 18 and 22, AERB reversed its stand by stating, “—recommendations in Annexure-8 of the Post-Fukushima Report were considered (by the internal AERB committees) during review of the application for fuel loading submitted by NPCIL. The review indicated that KNPP-1 has adequate safety measures against external events — In order to further enhance safety , as an abundant measure , some additional safety enhancements proposed by NPCIL were reviewed in depth and accepted for implementation in a phased manner.”

“Based on the review and resolution of NPCIL submissions, AERB agreed for short-term (less than six months) and long-term ( less than two years) implementation of the Post-Fukushima recommendations from the date of the fuel-loading clearance”.

Ultimately, the Madras HC did not agree with the plea of the protesters for full implementation of Annexure-8 safety steps before fuel loading is initiated and the matter is now being heard by the Supreme Court. Even as the Supreme Court hearings are going on, the NPCIL and the AERB are already loading the nuclear fuel into KNPP-1.

What the AERB has done is a total volte face of its earlier stated positions in the Madras HC, and contrary to the spirit and recommendations of the AERB Post-Fukushima Safety Evaluation Committee.

This has happened because the DAE, NPCIL and AERB appear to be under the direct control of the PMO on the Kudankulam issue, and none of them dares to take any decisions on their own.

The PM, is for months accused in the national and international press for India’s policy paralysis, the dwindling performance of the power sector, and for substantial slippage in the execution schedules of many major projects. During his last two visits to Russia, the PM promised expeditious completion of KNPP-1&2. The local protests at site have put a monkey wrench into his promises and timetable. PM and his PMO consider their face-saving to be more important than the possibility of imperiling the lives of people living near KNPP-1, and appear to have clearly instructed the DAE-AERB combine to rush through with commissioning the plant. The subservient DAE and AERB seem to be complying with his directions.

In this hurried approach to starting the KNPP-1 project, what essential safety precautions are the NPCIL and AERB tossing by the wayside? As per current plans, the reactor will be operated at least for the first two years or more at the full power level of 1000 MWe, without its primary containment being assessed for its ultimate load-bearing capacity; without the availability of a portable diesel-powered unit with sensors and instrumentation to monitor essential safety parameters in case of a total blackout; in the absence of a set of mobile self-powered pumping set for emergency area use; without rectifying the serious inadequacies in instrumentation for independent monitoring of plant status during major accidents; and without the addition of mobile back-up power units like air-cooled diesel sets. Why each of these actions should take as long as 24 months to complete is unimaginable, but these actions have to be indeed  expedited, since they are all essential for miti gating the consequences of a major accident.

The AERB committee has also strongly recommended the urgent installation of an additional seismically-qualified 8,000 cubic-meter capacity back-up water storage tank as an alternate source for use under emergency situations where such actions as injection of borated water into the core and into the spent-fuel pool, charging water into the steam generator secondary side, etc will require excessive amounts of water. The already provided emergency water-storage facility has not been seismically-qualified and may not withstand moderate earthquakes. This anomaly has to be urgently rectified through analysis and repair. This existing storage was also found to be inadequate in holding capacity , for removing decay heat for a period of a minimum one week . This too is to be rectified. In case of a beyond design basis accident (BDBA), the emergency operating procedures to be used are still to be formulated and documented, to help impart training on BDBA to the operating staff.

It is more than 16 months since the Fukushima accident occurred and NPCIL has not even started planning for these procedures. Each of the above tasks is put in for “short-term” completion, namely, within the next six months. I doubt whether a satisfactory completion of many of these tasks can be achieved in six months, each may take more like one year at least.

As it stands, the important point to note is that NPCIL and AERB are NOT going to carry out any of the short or long-term tasks mentioned above, before the reactor is fuelled and brought to 1000 MWe power level. This approach is totally unacceptable from the safety point of view. Whether these 17 safety corrections are implemented or not, the probability of a major accident will remain more or less the same. But, ALL these safety corrections are necessary to ensure that the mitigation of the consequences will be far more acceptable with the corrections implemented than without, and these safety corrections will provide a distinctly safer environment for populations around the KNPP-1. Therefore, ALL the above-mentioned long-term and short-term safety corrections recommended by the AERB committee must be completed before the reactor is fuelled. Whatever fuel so far loaded into the core can be taken out safely and stored for future use.

The author is a past chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board

Dalit girl gang-rape: Father kills self; one held


 

Hisar:, sept 24 : Claiming a breakthrough in the alleged gang-rape of a teenage Dalit girl in Hisar, which prompted her father to commit suicide, police said they have arrested one accused who revealed there were 11 others involved in the crime.

Hisar police chief B Satheesh Balan said the accused, arrested on Saturday, has revealed names of the other 11 accused and they will be arrested soon.

The incident had sparked furore as irate residents of Dabra village staged protest demanding immediate arrest of people accused in the crime.

It was only after assurances by Deputy Commissioner Amit Kumar Aggarwal and Superintendent of Police Balan that the protesters allowed the body of victim’s father Krishan, who had committed suicide after the incident, to be taken for post-mortem.

His body was later cremated at his native village on Sunday.

“We will support the family in whatever way we can, also will take into account that such crimes are not committed and the people found guilty are punished,” said Geeta Bhukkal, the Haryana education minister.

Meanwhile, opposition INLD‘s leader Ajay Singh Chautala has also demanded immediate arrest of all the remaining accused.

The teenage Dalit girl was allegedly raped by a group of men who had also threatened to make public her objectionable pictures, following which her shocked father committed suicide on September 18.

“At times the victims due to shock become hostile. For seven days the girl also didn’t speak and after she spoke, the inquiry started. Those boys who made her MMS must be punished,” said Nina Nayak, member, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

A case was registered by the police under Sections 376 for rape and 306 for abetment to suicide.

PTI

 

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