A doctor on why late abortion should remain legal #reproductiverights


Amid signs that ministers are keen to reopen the debate, Frances Marks writes about the terrible consequences of illegal terminations that she saw in the 60s – and why the law must not be changed

'VERA DRAKE' FILM - 2004

The 2004 film Vera Drake starring Imelda Staunton was about an illegal abortionist working in the 1950s. Photograph: Fine Line/Everett/Rex Features

My most memorable experience as a medical student occurred in the 1960s, some time before the 1967 Abortion Act made terminations legal in the UK.

It was winter, 6am, and I was still asleep. The phone rang and a voice ordered me up to join the ambulance of the obstetric flying squad. We arrived at a cheap hotel in Finsbury Park, north London; our patient was a plump young girl with auburn hair and the creamy skin of a Rubens nude. She lay unconscious on a single bed, her bewildered parents to one side. The GP was a tired gaunt man, who told us that his examination indicated that she had had an illegal abortion some time in the last 48 hours. Her blood pressure was dangerously low.

We transferred her to the local hospital and my role was to take her blood pressure every 15 minutes. At 5pm her heart was still not pumping effectively and the doctors decided to to transfer her to St Thomas’s hospital in central London.

The ambulance journey was terrifying; her blood pressure fell with each passing minute and we crossed a junction of five roads with the siren blaring. The treatment was ineffective; each time she was placed in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber to help with the antibiotics, her heart stopped. We tried three times and then gave up. She never regained consciousness. I was not there when she died. Nor did I talk to her dazed elderly parents. I had already learned that they had come to London with their daughter for a Christmas shopping expedition and knew nothing of her pregnancy nor her abortion.

We were instructed to go to the post mortem, which was being carried out by the famous pathologist Sir Keith Simpson. The mortuary was a tiled Victorian room. He was wearing a gown with puffed sleeves, which looked feminine and incongruous on a bald-headed man.

The girl’s body was blotched with bruises. He dictated his findings to the stenographer who was sitting behind a plastic screen.

He was incandescent with fury. He said that he saw at least two young girls a week who died as a result of septic abortions. He was adamant that abortion should be legalised and told me I should never forget what I had seen. I never have and therefore, decades later, I have written this.

In 1968 the law was changed and abortion became legal in the United Kingdom, with the exception of Northern Ireland. When I worked as a child psychiatrist in London’s East End, I authorised a late abortion on a 14-year old girl. She was from an ethnic minority group and had been raped when her family lived in a hostel. She eventually confided her “symptoms” to her sister when she was 23 weeks pregnant. I was very relieved that a humane solution to her problem was available. The law should not be changed.

Dr Frances Marks worked as a child psychiatrist from 1975 to 1998. As a consultant at London hospital she advised on the impact of late abortions.

 

Faking Happiness- #Vedanta will adopt 92 rural schools in south Rajasthan


TagsVedanta,Vedanta Rajasthan,Vedanta schools

 
Dec 3. 2012
Udaipur: Vedanta’s group company, Hindustan Zinc has signed an MoU with the Rajasthan Government to adopt 92 Schools in phases in Chittorgarh and Bhilwara District of the state.
The aim is to adopt 92 schools, 72 Government schools in Bhilwara for 5 years and 20 schools in Chittorgarh for 3 years, a company official said.The company would spend about Rs 3.35 Crore on this project.The project would provide basic infrastructure facilities like construction of class rooms, boundary walls of the school, installation of hand pumps, ceiling fans, coolers, construction of toilets, playgrounds, furniture for the children etc, said Pavan Kaushik,Head Corporate Communication.It will also provide scholarships to meritorious students.The company also plans to encourage plantation drive to develop green belt in schools.

To monitor the success of the project, a committee of 5 members has been formed which would have 2 members from Vedanta Hindustan Zinc, 2 from school and 1 member nominated by District Magistrate.

Based on the need of the school authority and assigned budget, the project will be executed by Vedanta Hindustan Zinc.

This would also ensure optimum utilisation of funds.

Earlier Vedanta Hindustan Zinc had provided 1000 computers to 200 government schools in rural areas and e-subject software support to about 500 schools.

The company is also providing daily mid-day meal to over 80,000 students in 2000 government schools in Rajasthan to ensure nutrition support to students.

Most of these children are from poor family and need regular nutrition support.

PTI

EC directs government to defer implementation of Direct Cash Transfer Scheme in Gujarat & HP


Dec4. 2012, ET

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction with the government on the announcement timing of Direct Cash Transfer Scheme (DCT). EC directed the government to defer the implementation of the scheme in four districts of Gujarat and two of Himachal Pradesh till the state assembly elections are over.

In a stern message to the government, EC said that the timing of government’s DCT scheme was ‘avoidable’. “The government should have maintained letter and spirit of model code of conduct,” it said.

On its part, the government on Monday had told the EC that it did not violate the model code of conduct by announcing the direct cash transfer scheme. In its reply to a notice from the poll panel, the government had stressed that the scheme was among the proposals announced by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech in March. Also, the Prime Minister’s Office had issued a statement on September 28, in which it was said that the prime minister has set up the architecture for moving to electronic cash transfers leveraging Aadhaar.

The government, in its reply, said that both these announcements were made well before the model code of conduct came into force on October 3 for the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

BJP has been objecting over the announcement made last week at Congress headquarters by finance minister P Chidambaram and the rural development minister Jairam Ramesh. The ministers termed the scheme as a game-changer. BJP complained to the poll panel that the scheme was announced ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls, scheduled on December 13 and 17, and hence there was violation of the model code of conduct. BJP also added that four of the 51 districts selected to benefit initially from the scheme were in poll-bound Gujarat.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that his party was against abolition of the public distribution system, which he claimed had done well in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. “Is Congress serious about it (direct cash transfer scheme)? Have they done their homework well? Let Manish Tewari say why it has come a cropper after it was introduced with fanfare in Rajasthan,” Prasad asked.

 

Andhra Pradesh fails to allocate funds stipulated for Scheduled Castes and Tribes


The deprived lot

Author(s): M Suchitra, dOWN  TO eARTH
Date: Dec 15, 2012

Andhra Pradesh fails to allocate funds stipulated for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, says Cabinet panel

K R VinayanPhoto: K R Vinayan

Had the Andhra Pradesh government abided by the plans envisaged by the Planning Commission, it would have efficiently spent thousands of crores of rupees meant to uplift the country’s two most socially backward sections. A Cabinet sub-committee, set up by the state government, has found serious lapses in allocation and utilisation of funds meant for the Special Component Plan (SCP) for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) for Scheduled Tribes (STs).

The state government was forced to appoint the sub-committee in April this year after state-wide protests. The protests followed allegations of serious irregularities in allocation and utilisation of funds meant for SCP and TSP. The allegations were made by United Action Committee, created to get funds meant for the sub-plans released. The United Action Committee comprises activists and former government secretaries. On March 26, 30,000 people from dalit and adivasi organisations, civil society and human rights groups and political parties organised a rally that proceeded to the state assembly.

The allegations were not baseless, states the nine-member Cabinet sub-committee, headed by deputy chief minister Damodar Raja Narasimha. The sub-committee submitted its report to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy in August. “It does not require time-consuming research or analysis to conclude that SCP and TSP in Andhra Pradesh are a mere paper exercise to satisfy reporting requirements to the Planning Comm¬ission,” it notes. The state lacks proper vision, right perspective, plan of action and monitoring mechanism for SCP and TSP, states the report, which is yet to be placed before the legislative assembly.

Plan panel’s guidelines flouted

In 1976, the Planning Commission formed the sub-plans to bridge the development gap between the SC/ST communities and the socially advanced section of society. The first four Five-Year Plans, between 1951 and 1974, had miserably failed to uplift them.

According to the Planning Commission guidelines, funds for the sub-plans were to be channelised from the state’s total plan outlay in proportion to the SC/ST population. As per Census 2001, SCs constituted 16.2 per cent and STs 6.6 per cent of the state’s population. But in the last decade actual fund allocation for SCP did not go beyond 12 per cent of the state’s total budget estimate, the report states. There was shortage of Rs 4,097 crore in fund allocations. For TSP, there was shortage of Rs 568 crore in the past five years. In 2000-2001, elementary education received a negligible 0.020 per cent fund under SCP and 0.011 per cent under TSP.

“In the overall budget, it would appear the state is meticulously allocating 16.2 per cent under SCP and 6.6 per cent under TSP in the last three years. But a deeper examination of the schem¬es and allocations speaks volumes of the deceit and dishonesty associated with the SCP/TSP policy,” the report observes.

image

Schemes which do not contribute to the development of the SC/ST communities get included in the sub-plans. A strong indicator is the state’s budget plan for 2012-13. The sub-committee found as many as 157 schemes which do not qualify to exist under the sub-plans. The schemes include construction of godowns for safe custody of electronic voting machines, construction of buildings for the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Excise Department buildings, commercial tax department buildings and registration and stamps department buildings. The budget outlay for the 157 schemes is Rs 1,206.81 crore under SCP and Rs 486.52 crore under TSP.

Expenditure for the two communities has been minimal in the past few years. In 2007-08, for instance, of the state’s total plan outlay only 0.9 per cent was spent for rural development under TSP. A nominal 0.2 per cent was spent for water supply and sanitation in urban areas and 0.5 per cent on environment under TSP. Energy and transport got nothing under TSP that year. Total expenditure under social and economic services under TSP that year was 2.9 per cent.

The state government has not even issued clear guidelines for implementation of schemes under the sub-plans. “There was no serious effort to either identify the impediments in implement¬ation or to evolve strategies to overcome the impediments,” the report states.

For better implementation

The United Action Committee had demanded setting up a nodal agency to deal with the sub-plan funds and implement the plans effectively, and an Act to ensure that the funds are not misused. The Cabinet sub-committee also suggests an institutional mechanism for the sub-plans’ implementation.

It recommends that the Social Welfare Department and the Tribal Welfare Department, the nodal agencies at present, will continue to be so. However, two separate principal secretaries will deal with SCP and TSP. A group of ministers will monitor the implementation and a council headed by the chief minister will approve the plans and advise the government on SCP and TSP.

The committee suggests the proposed Act should ensure that the secretary of the Planning Department informs all the departments about the expenditures for the sub-plan each financial year.

“Why should the secretary of the Planning Department suggest sectors that need to be accorded priority?” asks K R Venu¬gopal, who has served as secretary to three prime ministers and was special rapporteur to the National Human Rights Comm¬ission. The secretary can help in effective planning, but the recommendation can be used to violate the special status and autonomy accorded to the nodal agencies, he says.

A whole new concept to give autonomy to the departments dealing with the SCs and STs is being developed to change attitude of disinterest and neglect towards them, he says. The institutional mechanism suggested by the sub-committee may adversely affect the much-fought-for autonomy of the nodal agencies. He also suggests that the sub-plans should be taken as five-year plans and the plan outlays should be made for five years.

Interestingly, despite observing four decades of gross injustice done to SC/ST communities, the sub-committee does not suggest that the state government should make up for the loss to SCP and TSP. “In the last 20 years, SCP was short of Rs 20,000 crore and TSP was short of Rs 4,000 crore. These are not small amounts,” says Venugopal. “If in a single state such a huge amount can be diverted, what must be the magnitude of funds diverted in the entire country? Should the Andhra Pradesh government not make up for the betrayal?”

 

#India- Communal Harmony Awareness Kit


pic – courtesy yogesh baweja 

Dear Friends,

We are living in times where the communal biases are becoming stronger. These biases are founded upon misconception of history, and present politics. The politics which has its origin in the attempt to gain hegemony at economic, social and political level is presented under the garb of religion. The global politics for control over oil resources has also been presented in the cloak of religion.

The misconceptions about ‘other’, which form the basis of communal violence, also approve the theories of ‘clash of civilizations’ or ‘war against terror’. These need to be countered at the level of thought and ideas. The correct and positive perceptions of society have to be promoted far and wide. The awareness about truth behind the communal politics and terrorist politics needs to be taken to broad layers of our society.

Some of us have been striving to do this from last several years. There is a need that more of us, activists, teachers and concerned individuals have to join hands to strengthen this work. To help promote this crucial work we have brought “Communal Harmony Awareness Kit. This kit, after due understanding of its contents, can be used at social level for this work.

This Kit has, in sequence of use during the day, the following material

Contents of the Kit

1.      Film Ekta Sandesh ( by Waqar Khan)

This film is based on the clippings of Hindi films, which give the message of harmony: Duration 50 minutes.

2, A card, Solar message, for communal harmony: Through the experiment of letting sun light pass through symbols of different religions, it shows the oneness of humanity.

3.  Flip Chart: Sadbhavna SafarA total presentation of major theme with the help of visuals

This flip chart is based on the book ‘Communalism: What’s False: What’s True’ and covers the themes: Communal violence, temple destructions, Syncretic culture, Battle between kings, Values of freedom movement, Kashmir imbroglio, politics behind terrorism.

.

4.      Lecture DVD: Raah Aman ki: Nine DVD lectures: Each Lecture is of the duration of 25-30 minutes. Comunalism, Myths about minorities, Conversions, Politics of terror, Values of Freedom movement, Partition tragedy and Kashmir Imbroglio, Communal Organization’s Agenda (Couple of these lectures to be shown and discussed)

Using the kit

The presenter shows the film EKTA Sandesh followed by discussion. Then through the flip chart the myths and other themes are presented sequentially. Whatever questions come up during the flip chart presentation are deepened by showing Video Lectures from Raah Aman Ki. The group discussion and display of the pocket books Aman katha, Gandhi Katha and Ambedkar Katha follows the discussion.

Many of the components of the kit were released earlier. This is the attempt to put them together in a sequence.

The Kit is bilingual (Hindi+ English), please mention which language you will like to have.

Contribution: Rs 500+ Courier Rs 100

Availability

EKTA

c/o Ram Puniyani

1102/5 MHADA Deluxe Rambaug Powai Mumbai 400076

Email: ram.puniyani@gmail.com

__._,_.___

Press Release: Blind Workers Union Rally On Occasion of World Disabled Day


December 3, 2012

Blind Workers Union
(A Unit of All India Federation of Blind Workers)

T-44, Panjabi Basti, Near Gopal Dairy, Baljeet Nagar, New Delhi-110008

On the occasion of the World Disabled Day Blind Workers took out a huge rally at the Parliament Street against violation of labour rights by NGOs and Government connivance.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment warned of intensified agitation and struggle if it does not provides employment at the earliest.

On the occasion of World Disability Day, blind workers under the banner of the Blind Workers’ Union took out a huge rally of blind workers regarding the entrenched problems faced by the disabled in the labour market, and towards the unfulfilled promises of the Social Justice Ministry to provide alternative employment to the disabled (in particular, the retrenched workers of National Federation of the Blind) in government undertakings. It is to be noted that since November of 2011, the blind workers have been protesting the retrenchment of several blind workers by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). This NGO retrenched the workers because they were speaking out against denial of minimum wages and other basic labour rights in the Training and Rehabilitation Centres (TRCs) run by the NGO. The blind workers have highlighted again and again how the Federation has been violating all statutory labour laws at its different production units. In fact, rather than minimum wages, the workers employed across NFB production units were being forced to work on the basis of a production-wage structure, which provides them barely Rs. 2600/- per month. This was way below the rate of minimum wages. The protest also raised the need for the Government to provide
alternative employment for the disabled. A delegation of blind workers also submitted a memorandum of demands to the Ministry of Social Justice.

In the memorandum we raised the concerns of the blind workers and how they have been forced to become beggars in the absence of any employment. Also it is deeply disturbing that despite making several representations to the ministry these blind workers still await justice. For example, the Ministry has yet to take stern action against the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), which has retrenched large number of blind workers from its various Training and Rehabilitation Centres (TRCs) in October 2011. Neither has the concerned Ministry fulfilled its assurances of providing alternative employment to all the blind workers retrenched by the National Federation of the Blind at the government sponsored NGO, Arunim. Furthermore, discussion on and clauses in the pending Bill on the Rights of Persons with Disability (2011) continues to lack any serious engagement on the question of protecting the labour and economic rights of disabled persons employed in the private sector (i.e. by NGOs and private businesses). For us, such failure of intervention by the Government amounts to reducing World Disability Day to a day of pomp and show with no actual commitment towards upliftment of disabled workers through protection of their basic labour and economic rights like the right to gainful employment, right to equal remuneration, right to daily minimum wage, right to the eight hour work day, etc.

We also pointed out during the rally that our struggle is not just against the NFB, but against the overall exploitation of blind workers across the country by private companies and NGOs. It is an undeniable fact that in the interest of availing of certain benefits like tax exemption for employing persons with disability, the private sector is known to employ yet brutally exploit disabled persons. The arbitrary hiring and firing practices, unregulated working hours, etc. prevalent in the private sector, amount to a serious breach of social justice, which is why the blind workers have been approaching the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. More importantly, the workers realize that the failure of successive governments to provide adequate employment to the blind community is the main reason why blind workers are dependent on the highly exploitative private sector. Hence, our struggle is based on the fundamental right to a livelihood—a right the Government is to protect and uphold. The specific demands that the blind workers put forth in the memorandum include the following:

(i) Inclusion of a special section in the long pending Bill on the Rights of Persons With Disability (2011), which would safeguard the economic rights of blind workers employed in the private sector. For example, the Bill should include provisions to the effect that bodies violating basic labour rights will be penalized to the effect that NGOs indulging in such violation will face the cancellation of
their registration;

(ii) That the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment tables a concrete plan of greater job creation for blind persons in the public sector. It is only with the provision of more government jobs that the dependence of blind workers on exploitative private companies and corrupt NGOs can be overcome;

(iii) That the central government stops funding NGOs who fail to comply with the country’s statutory labour laws while employing people;

(iv)That the central government ensures that blind workers are given parity at workplaces and are paid minimum wages;

(v) That the central government ensures all statutory labour laws are implemented in production units run by “social service” organizations like the NFB, as well as in workplaces run by other employers;

(vi) That the central government takes over the production units run by NGOs like NFB, in consequence of such NGOs repetitively failing to provide proper employment and conducive work conditions for physically handicapped workers;

(vii) That the retrenched workers of NFB be provided immediate employment either in Arunim or any
other government-funded institution/workshop.

The blind workers have warned that the ministry must take immediate steps to provide employment. The inaction of the ministry will compel us to intensify our agitation and movement to expose the Government’s lack of commitment towards protecting disabled workers’ statutory rights.

We hope that your esteemed newspaper will cover the story of exploitation of blind workers and the spirit of social justice would prevail.

Thanking you,
Alok Kumar
(On Behalf of Blind Workers Union)

Ramnath
(On Behalf of Blind Workers Union)

 

Demand for SIT probe into Centre’s child nutrition scheme


Down to Earth
Author(s): Richard Mahapatra
Date: Dec 4, 2012

Supreme Court commissioners report multi-crore scam involving private contractors and bureaucrats in food distribution under Integrated Child Development Scheme

imageRichard Mahapatra

Two commissioners of the Supreme Court in the right to food case have recommended setting up an independent Special Investigation Team, similar to the one for the 2G spectrum scam, to investigate corruption and quality in food procurement for the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Following a comprehensive investigation of the scheme in four states, the commissioners have reported a deep-rooted nexus among bureaucrats, politicians and private food contractors to siphon off funds meant for poor children and women.

In October 2004, the apex court prohibited involvement of private contractors in procurement of food for children and women under ICDS. It ordered that ICDS funds be spent on village communities and self-help groups (SHGs) for buying grains and preparing meals. On an average, this would have pumped in around Rs. 6,000 crore to local communities.

But states have been violating this order blatantly or have tweaked the tender systems for the past eight years to favour private contractors. What’s more, food supplied by contractors was found to be much below the prescribed nutrition level.

Under ICDS, anganwadis (centres for providing healthcare and nutrition to small children and mothers in rural areas) provide morning snacks and hot lunch to children between three and six years. Besides, nutrition mix is given to children between six months and three years, and to pregnant and lactating women. It covers 80 million children in the country under the age of six, and 18 million pregnant and breastfeeding mothers through 1.7 million anganwadis.

The commissioners have submitted a 100-odd pages report to the apex court on November 29 2012. This comes after thorough investigation by the commissioners in four states: Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat.

“It is now (time) for an independent Special Investigation Team to thoroughly probe this nexus and bring to book those who are responsible for stealing food for children of the poorest and most marginalised communities in the country,” recommends the report to the apex court. The report has mentioned how government officials and private contractors have entered into nexus to continue with the old system. The apex court is expected to give its verdict on the recommendations in the near future.

In the past eight years, the apex court gave at least 12 directions to states on violation of its 2004 order. In many cases the court has specifically ordered states like Gujarat to hand over the food contracts to local communities and SHGs.

But as the report finds, states have either outrightly defied this order to tweak the system in such a way that private contractors get to do the same in the guise of SHGs or local community groups. The Central government spends close to Rs 10,000 crore every year on food supply under ICDS.

Ponty finger in this pie

In UP, the state government continues to outsource food supply to private companies, including the one headed by the Gurdeep Singh (Ponty) Chadha, who was killed recently in his Delhi farmhouse along with his brother in a suspected incident of fratricide. His company was severely indicted by the National Human Rights Commission last year for serious malpractices in food supply (Read the report here). On September 24, the government floated a new tender for supply of food under the ICDS. The tender notice does mention SHGs as the preferred agency but has put the condition of Rs 25 crore/year turnover. No local community group can meet this condition, thus making way for entry of private companies. “There has been dissatisfaction about this eligibility criterion for prospective bidders, alleging exclusion of mahila mandals (women cooperatives), SHGs and village committees by setting the financial requirements too high,” says the report.

In Maharashtra, too, the commissioners found that the government obeyed the court order on decentralising the procurement. But it put tough conditions and terms that only private companies could meet. In Gujarat, the state government never took any initiative to implement the court order.

In another interesting finding, the commissioners have found private contractors coming together to monopolise contracts under ICDS, at least in the four states they studied. “Some private contractors have been successful in establishing a monopoly through several states for supply of take home rations for supplementary nutrition provision under the ICDS either through direct contract with the state government or under another cloak,” finds the report.

A massive expenditure of Rs 1,83,778 crore in the 12th Plan to effectively implement ICDS in “Mission Mode”. Would it end as another opportunity for private contractors to amass a fortune at the cost of poor children and mothers needing nutritional care?

 

#Gujarat-Dalit families allege that Jamnagar SP offered them bribe to hush up Surendranagar firing case


“IPS officer offered us money to omit his name during investigation”

Dalit families allege that Jamnagar SP Harikrishna Patel offered them bribe to hush up Surendranagar firing case

Prakhar Jain , Tehelka
New Delhi

Valji Rathod, father of Mehul RathodPhoto: Ankit Agrawal

In a shocking disclosure, the families of Dalit youngsters killed in a police firing in Surendranagar district of Gujarat have alleged that a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer had asked them to omit his name when their statements are recorded during investigations that are now underway. The families have alleged that the senior police officer tried to influence them with offers of money and jobs.

The firings which took place at Thangadh city of Surendranagar district in Gujarat led to the death of a Dalit boy on 22 September and two Dalit men on 23 September. The incidents caused a furore as the first firing was allegedly by a sub-inspector against people had earlier complained for being “anti-Dalit”. The second firing happened under the charge of SP Harikrishna Patel, whose commando had allegedly fired with an AK-47 on a group of Dalits, who were marching towards the Thangadh police station to lodge a complaint about the first incident.

The families say that Harikrishna Patel tried to influence them by sending an emissary to negotiate on his behalf. They say that Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) VD Kharadi, approached them twice and offered “whatever money” they wanted and a “job with a private company.”

Valji Rathod, father of 16-year-old Mehul Rathod who was killed in firing, said, “We were told to accept the offer or be ready to get killed in an accident or another firing. We refused because we wanted justice.” He said that they did not disclose this information earlier because they feared for the lives of their family members.

When contacted by TEHELKA, Harikrishna Patel denied approaching the families and refused to comment further stating that the case was under investigation by CID.

During the last day of the annual Tarnetar fair on 22 September, a skirmish broke out between the Dalit and the Bharwad (shepherd) community over a minor incident. The matter was later resolved by both the communities. However, that night, another skirmish broke out in which Pankaj Sumara (16), who was returning home from the fair, got shot at allegedly by sub-inspector KP Jadeja. Sumara was fatally injured in the neck.

The next day, on 23 September, a group of Dalit families marched toward the police station to report Sumara’s death, but were stopped near the Thangadh railway crossing by the police. The Dalit group alleges that the police then started firing indiscriminately at them without warning. Police, however, maintains that they fired only when the mob started pelting stones and tried to snatch their rifles. In the firing, Prakash Parmar (26) and Mehul Rathod (16) died after being hit by bullets on the chest. A Dalit boy, Chana Vaniya, and a couple of policemen were also seriously injured.

After a public outcry three cases were registered against sub-inspector KP Jadeja and three other policemen on 26 September for murder, rioting, unlawful assembly and conspiracy and a CID inquiry was ordered by the government. Anil Pratham, IGP, CID (crime), who is investigating the case, said, “There is a warrant against Jadeja and others and we are coordinating with district SPs to arrest them.”

However, human rights activists and the victims’ families are now demanding that action against Harikrishna Patel be also initiated. “The role of Harikrishna Patel has been established by the fact that his commando fired using an AK-47. He is equally responsible for the deaths, but his name hasn’t been mentioned in any FIR. He should be made an accused along with the Rajkot DIG,” demanded Kirit Rathod, a Dalit rights activist who works with an Ahmedabad based NGO Navsarjan and has been helping the Dalit families in the case.

Prakhar Jain is a Correspon

 

#India-First commutation of death sentence by President Pranab Mukherji #goodnews


English: Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherjee ...

English: Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherjee in the Plenary Session Post-Crisis Economic Order: How Can Free Market and control be Balanced? Participants captured during the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit 2009 held in New Delhi, 8-10 November 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

NEW DELHI, December 3, 2012

 

V. Venkatesan

 

 

 Atbir, lodged in Tihar Jail, New Delhi, is the first death-row convict whose sentence has been commuted by President Pranab Mukherjee. Mr. Mukherjee passed the order on November 15. Atbir is one of the 16 death-row convicts whose mercy petition, Pratibha Patil, Mr. Mukherjee’s predecessor, left undecided while completing her tenure.

Atbir was convicted and sentenced to death by a sessions court in 2004 for the murder of his step mother, step sister and step brother in 1996 over a property dispute. The High Court confirmed the sentence in 2006 and the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal against the sentence in 2010. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recommended commutation as the crime had a socio-economic basis.

According to the Rashtrapati Bhavan website, Mr. Mukherjee now has only one pending mercy petition to be decided by him.

The remaining petitions appear to have been sent back to the MHA to facilitate fresh submission of recommendations.

 

 

Minor gang-raped, nine held in Chhattisgarh #Vaw


rape

 

Press Trust of India | Updated: December 03, 2012 19:50 IST

RaipurA 15-year-old tribal girl was allegedly gang-raped in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh and nine persons, including two minor boys, were arrested in this case, police said on Monday.

The incident had taken place on Saturday night when the girl was going to village Baturakchhar with her family members and relatives. Ten persons suddenly stopped them and asked her relatives to leave the place and later raped the girl, police said.

The victim’s family lodged a complaint with the police and the girl was later found in nearby Tildapara village.

The arrested have been identified as Jitendra Lakra (19), Pradeep Lakra (19), Suneel Lakra (19), Vijay Khakha (22), Nand Kishore Tirki (24), Sarwan Kerketta (22),Naveen Kerketta (25).

The two minor boys are 16-years old.

Hunt is on to nab one more accused in this connection that took place under the limits of Dhramajaygadh police station, a police official said, adding, further probe was on.

 

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